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Poland, Roman Catholic Church Books - FamilySearch Historical Records

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This article contains information about records in multiple collections. See the section FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for a list of published collections.
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Flag of Poland
PL Locator Map Poland.png
Map of Poland
Record Description
Record Type Church Books
Language: Polish
Title in the Language: Polska, Księgi metrykalne
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?[edit | edit source]

Parish register volumes come in various sizes but are normally large bound books. Information is given in a narrative format containing a mixture of standard phrasing and the names and dates of those involved. 

The earliest Catholic Church records in Poland date from 1537, but very few records exist from the 1500s; many date from the 1600s and 1700s to the present. Starting dates vary depending upon the region. This collection includes records from about 1600 to 1946. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Collection Contents[edit | edit source]

These baptismal records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Given name of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents' names and occupation of father
  • Legitimacy of child and parents
  • Names of godparents

These birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Name of declarant/father
  • Declarant's age, occupation and residence
  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of birth
  • Parents' names including maiden name of mother
  • Names of witnesses or godparents, their age, occupation and residence

These marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's age, marital status, occupation and residence
  • Names of groom's parents, including maiden name of mother
  • Bride's age, marital status, occupation and residence
  • Names of bride's parents, including maiden name of mother
  • Sometimes, birthplaces of bride and groom are given
  • Dates of the marriage banns
  • Witnesses' names, their age and occupation

These death/burial records usually contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Name and age of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Father of deceased and his occupation
  • Sometimes, date and birthplace of deceased
  • Marital status of deceased
  • If married, the name of the spouse

How Do I Search the Collection?[edit | edit source]

To search the collection image by image you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Province (Województwo)" category
⇒ Select the "Place (Miejsce)" category
⇒ Select the "Event/Years (Wydarzenie/Lata)" category which takes you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Entries are normally made separately for baptisms, marriages and burials, in chronological order. In later years, separate volumes were created for each sacrament type. If there isn't a separate index volume, page through the entries chronologically.

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to baptisms, marriages, and death or burials make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The name and surname of the person
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The name of the parents or spouse

Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • The name of the celebrant is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant and the diligence of the recorder.

  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames, particularly phonetic variants.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.

FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.