Poland Jewish Records

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Poland and Galicia Jewish Research: A Template for East European Research - Research tutorial at FamilySearch

Contents

Maps of Poland

  • To view present-day Poland at Google Maps, click here.
  • For a Jewish population density map of Europe in 1900, click here.
  • For a map showing the percentage of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and Congress Poland, c. 1905, click here.
  • To view an additional historical map showing the historical percentage of Jews in governments, click here.
    Definition of "Pale of Settlement" from Wikipedia.org:
    "The Pale of Settlement (Russian: Черта́ осе́длости, chertá osédlosti, Yiddish: דער תּחום-המושבֿ, der tkhum-ha-moyshəv, Hebrew: תְּחוּם הַמּוֹשָב, tḥùm ha-mosháv‎) was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary. The English term 'pale' is derived from the Latin word 'palus,' a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary."
  • To view historical maps of Poland, click here.
  • For a map showing Poland's current voivodeships (provinces), click here.

Gazetteers of Poland

History of the Jews in Poland

  • To read the Wikipedia.org article History of the Jews in Poland, click here.
  • Take the Poland Virtual Jewish History Tour.
    "Before the outbreak of World War II, more than 3.3 million Jews lived in Poland, the largest Jewish population of Europe and second largest Jewish community in the world. Poland served as the center for Jewish culture and a diverse population of Jews from all over Europe sought refuge there, contributing to a wide variety of religious and cultural groups. Barely 11% of Poland's Jews - 369,000 people -survived the war. Today, approximately 3,200 Jews remain in Poland."
  • To visit the Galicia Jewish Museum online click here. The Galicia Jewish Museum exists to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia, presenting Jewish history from a new perspective.
  • Explore The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe by clicking here.


JewishGen.org Family Finder

Find others, possibly cousins, searching for your family name in the same countries, cities, and villages. Search the JewishGen Family Finder by clicking here. Free registration required.


Ashkenazi Amsterdam in the Eighteenth Century "Research of the family origins and heritage of Dutch Jewry (A.R.)"

Poland Jewish Records

  • Read a FamilySearch Wiki article describing available Jewish records by clicking here. Includes great links!

The JewishGen Poland Database

  • More than five million records for Poland, from a variety of sources, including: vital records, business directories, voter lists, passenger manifests, Yizkor books and other Holocaust sources. A joint project of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland and JewishGen. Requires free registration. To search, click here.

Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation

  • For A Genealogical and Family History guide to Jewish and civil records in Eastern Europe, click here and hover over Poland.
  • See also the book, Jewish roots in Poland by Miriam Weiner
    FamilySearch Catalog Number 943.8 F2wm

Help with Poland Jewish Research

  • The following JewishGen Special Interest Groups (SIGs) includes links, helps, and other resources to help with Jewish Research in Poland:
    • Białystok Region SIG
      The city of Białystok and nearby towns and villages, currently in Poland, formerly in the Russian Empire's Grodno Gubernia.
    • Danzig/Gdańsk SIG
      Danzig/Gdańsk, and its precursor communities of Alt Schottland, Langfuhr, Mattenbuden, Weinberg, and Danzig in der Breitgasse, and Tiegenhof (Nowy Dwór Gdański).
    • Gesher Galicia SIG
      Austrian Poland, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1772 until 1917, now in southern Poland and western Ukraine.
    • German-Jewish SIG
      Germany and German-speaking areas of Alsace, Lorraine, Switzerland, and Poland.
    • Łódź area SIG
      The city of Łódź, Poland, and localities within a 40-mile radius – in Congress Poland's gubernias of Piotrków, Płock, Warszawa, or Kalisz.
    • Suwalk-Łomza SIG
      Publisher of Landsmen, covering these two northeastern gubernias of Russian Poland, now in northeast Poland and southwest Lithuania.
    • Warszawa SIG
      The capital city of Poland, Warszawa (Warsaw).
  • Get ideas and help with the Facebook Polish Genealogy Research Community here.

Jewish Records [Akta żydowskie]

Research Use: Primary source.

Record Type: Records of vital events pertaining to the Jewish community. Chiefly these consist of transcript records created in accordance with the laws of each of the governments that controlled Poland after the partitioning. Prior to the introduction of civil transcript laws (and occasionally after), Jews were sometimes included in Christian church books. By the 1820s and 1830s many Jewish congregations were keeping their own distinct civil transcript records. In the former Russian territory, rabbis were designated as official registrars of Jewish civil transcripts after 1826. Austrian laws allowed Jews to maintain registers under Catholic supervision from 1789, but most Jewish registers date from the 1830s or later. Jewish records were not given the status of official legal documents in Austria until 1868. Other types of Jewish records include circumcision records, marriage contracts, as well as holocaust memorial records, There was little consistency to the keeping of birth, marriage, and death records which was by the whim of the local religious Jewish leaders until the introduction of civil transcript laws.

Time Period: 1600s to 1945. There is no clear date for the beginning of Jewish books.

Contents: Civil transcripts and/or civil registration [ksigi metrykalne wyznania mojeszowego]: record contents are similar to Christian civil transcripts described in the previous 3 sections: 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5. Circumcision records (mohalim books): given Hebrew male names of children, circumcision date (Hebrew calendar), father’s given Hebrew name, sometimes surname. Marriage contracts (Ketubbot): marriage date, names of groom and bride, contractual agreements. Death memorial records: names of deceased individuals and death date in Hebrew calendar with month and day but sometimes not year. Kahal records: Records of the Jewish governing bodies, including lists of those who voted for the head rabbi, lists of community inhabitants, etc.

Location: Most Jewish records are in Polish state archives; some are in various archives and libraries, city archives, museums and libraries. Many Jewish congregational records have been destroyed in the course of Jewish persecutions. Some may also be in Jewish libraries and archives in the United States and Israel.

Population Coverage: No statistics are available for Jews because of the sporadic nature of their record keeping.

Reliability: Very good.[1]

Rozan town square.jpg

Historians estimate that during the 19th century more than 85 percent of the world’s Jews lived in Europe.

Most of these lived in Poland and Russia. Many books have been written about Jews in Poland. You can often find these in a public or university library.

The Family History Library has microfilmed many Jewish records in Poland and is continually adding to the collection. There are extensive records from the former Russian and German areas of Poland, but fewer for the Austrian areas of Poland. For those areas not yet microfilmed, you may write to the local civil registration office.

At first Jews were included in Catholic civil registers. The earliest civil registration of Polish Jews was in the former Austrian territory of Galicia in 1787, but it was not enforced until the mid-19th century. The Duchy of Warsaw, which later constituted the Russian territory of Poland, began civil registration in 1808. In areas of Prussian rule, Jews were required to prepare transcripts of vital records beginning in the early 1800s. Microfilmed civil records are usually available to 1875. You may obtain information regarding records not filmed that are still in Poland by writing to the headquarters of the Polish State Archives (see Poland Archives and Libraries). Here is a fast link to all Jewish records found in Polish State Archives.

For further information about Jewish research see the Internet site:

www.JewishGen.org

Also see Jewish Genealogy Research.

For information regarding locations of Polish Jewish records, see:

Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Poland, Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories. New York, New York: Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 1997. (FHL book 943.8 F2wm.)

Jewish Vital Records in Russian Poland (Congress Poland, Kingdom of Poland)

1808-1825

Catholic Civil Transcripts were written in the Polish language.

1826-1942

Separate Jewish Registers were written in the Polish language except for the 1868 -1917 time period in which they were written in Russian.

Records older than 100 years are kept in regional branches of the Polish State Archives [Archiwum Państwowe]. Many of these records, usually up to around 1865 or later for some towns, have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Records less than 100 years are kept in the town's civil registration office [Urząd Stanu Cywilnego].

Record Sets and Indexes

JewishGen Complete List of Databases

Poland's historic borders extend into Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine and also into parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire known as Silesia. For this reason, use the database specified on your community page to find indexed records. Search for your community page here. Nonetheless, persons may show up elsewhere due to migration or deportation internal to Eastern Europe.

The 1939 German "Minority Census" Database

Provided by Tracing the Past. Includes some parts of Poland that were under German administration in 1939. Microfilm of the actual census might be found in the Family History Library catalog and copies ordered to local family history centers.

JRI - Poland

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland is the largest fully searchable database of Jewish vital records accessible online. 4 million records from more than 500 Polish towns are now indexed. More are being added every few months.

  • On finding an indexed record of interest, there will usually be three options for obtaining the original record:
    • a link to the digital image (or one nearby)
    • a Family History Library microfilm number
    • the contact information for the archive (follow the links at the page bottom)
      Order these records directly from the Regional Archive where the records are maintained. Instructions and further information are found here. Use the Order Form for your inquiry.

Indexing is incomplete! Sometimes only part of the available record set is indexed (e.g., births and not deaths). Carefully watch the place names, record types and date ranges listed in the search results.

Lost Shoebox Overview of Online Records for Poland

A map view of available scans and indexes arranged by Voivodeships (administrative districts). The numbers on the map refer to the items listed below.

Szukaj w Archiwach (Search the Polish Archives)

Contains information about Polish national archive resources kept at state archives in Lublin and Poznań and their branches. Digital copies of some of archive materials from these and other archives are also available in the service. Additional scans will become available as the website develops.

Its primary purpose is to provide online descriptions of archival material from state archives and other cultural institutions. Selected archival descriptions are presented in parallel with the scans, the number of which is steadily growing. Using the service is free and does not require a log in.

  • The Polish word used on this site to identify Jewish records is "mojżeszowe." For example, use that term to search all cataloged records at the site by clicking here. At the time this Wiki entry was created, this search resulted in 3,422 catalog entries.
  • Each catalog entry includes the collection name. For vital records and civil registers, the catalog entry includes the locality (e.g., town) where the record was made.
    • The Polish identifier for birth records is "urodzenia."
    • The Polish identifier for marriage records is "małżeństwa."
    • The Polish identifier for death records is "zgony."
    • The Polish identifier for marriage banns records is "alegata."
  • Search Example: To find Jewish marriages in the city of Radom, enter "mojżeszowe małżeństwa radom" in the search field at Szukaj w Archiwach. To perform this search, click here. Note that best matches come first.
  • If scans of the records have been made, then the "Digital Copies" number will be greater than zero. After opening the catalog entry by clicking on it, look for "Digital Copies" to the right of the very red arrow towards the top, and click there. At that time, you will see the online viewer options.
  • If scans are not available then contact the archive that holds the records.
  • Begin searching at Szukaj w Archiwach by clicking here and closing the pop-up.
    • Switch to English as necessary (unfortunately, not everything will be translated).
    • Choose to search "Everything," "Files," or "Vital Records and Civil Registers."
    • Enter desired search terms.

The PRADZIAD Database

PRADZIAD stands for "Database Registration Program Vital Records and Civil Status." It is a catalog of record sets found in Polish archives. Search by name of town, denomination “mojżeszowe,” etc. Here is a fast link to all Jewish records found in the PRAZIAD database (over 3000 record sets). However Jews will also be found in other historical and civil record sets not designated as "Jewish" record sets. You may wish to search through all the record sets for your towns.

Regional Archives

Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Archive in Krakow)

Includes online scans of census records, civil registers etc. For civil registers, search “Akta stanu cywilnego Izraelickiego”.

Archiwum Państwowe w Olsztynie (State Archive in Olsztyn)

Includes images of civil registries (“Urząd Stanu Cywilnego”).

Akta Miasta Poznania - Kartoteka ewidencji ludności /1870-1931/
(Archiwum Państwowe w Poznaniu - State Archive in Poznan/Posen)

Includes indexed census records from 1870-1931 with link to image.

Archiwum Państwowe w Szczecinie (State Archive in Szczecin)

Includes civil registry records by community, designated “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego” and linked from the left-hand sidebar. Browse images.

Genealogia w Archiwach (Genealogy in the Archives of Torun and Bydgoszcz}

A joint genealogical project of the state archives in Torun and Bydgoszcz containing images of civil records starting in 1874 for Pomorski and Kujawsko-pomorski. Browse by community and date. An English tutorial for using Genealogia w Archiwach is found here.

Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych (AGAD) (Central Archive of Historical Records in Warsaw, records of Galicia)

Online images of the registry books of Jewish communities in the area of the Bug River from 1789-1943. The Bug River ran through Galicia and presently forms part of the border between Ukraine and Poland. Some, but not all, of these records are indexed at JewishGen.

The records of 137 Jewish communities are to be found at AGAD. Those with digital images (most of them) are identified by a “galeria ze skanami” (gallery of scans) link. Contact the archive about those without scans. The access page begins with general information, lists all 137 communities, and then re-iterates record set by record set with record type and dates covered.

Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu (State Archive in Wrocław)

Search for scans of civil registers using “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.”

Metryki Genealodzy (Genealogical Records Indexing Project)

Click on the current Administrative Division for your community, then the county (info from your community page). Look for “Denomination: mojżeszowe” and/or “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego” meaning “Civil Registry Office,” and then follow the links to browse the online images.

Geneteka

Search indexed records by name, place, event, and date.

The Knowles Collection: Jews of Europe

Genealogies of many Jews who appear in the records of the countries of Europe. The great advantage of the Knowles Collection is that it links together into family groups, thousands of individual Jews (over 380,000 for this database as of Jan 2015). Use the above link to search the collection. To view a description of the collection, click here.

Familiendatenbank Juden im Deutschen Reich (Jewish Families in the German Empire)

Index only, almost 70,000 persons, compiled by Ingo Paul. The site is in German.

  • Includes (bold type designates parts of present-day Poland):
    • Berlin
    • Brandenburg with communities located east of the Oder River
    • Bremen
    • Hamburg
    • Mecklenburg
    • Niedersachsen
    • Ostpreußen
    • Pommern
    • Posen
    • Sachsen with areas east of the Neiße River
    • Sachsen-Anhalt
    • Schlesien
    • Schleswig-Holstein with Nordschleswig
    • Thüringen
    • Westpreußen

Pomeranian Genealogical Association German: Pommern, Polish: Pomorski

Look for civil registry records with a “USC” (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) designation.

Poznan Project German: Posen

Includes “civil registry” records.

National BaSIA Database (Wielkopolska Genealogical Society)

Covers Greater Poland and Kuyavian-Pomerania. Includes civil registry records. Click on map to see what is indexed. Search by name.

The Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation

Data regarding locations of Polish Jewish records originally published in books by Miriam Weiner is now on this website with periodic updates.

Yad Vashem Shoah Database

The YadVashem.org Central Database of Shoah (Holocaust) Victims’ Names is searchable by name and by community with “synonym” or “Soundex” options.

Kielce-Radom SIG Journal

A link to a list of indexed towns from the Kielce-Radom area. For many years, the Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group has been indexed Jewish vital records from that area of Poland, publishing the data in their printed Journal. These indexes have been now merged into the JRI Poland database.

The International Tracing Service

International Tracing Service was established at the end of World War I to help people in Europe to find family and friends who had been lost as a result of the war. The archives of the ITS were opened to the public in November 2007. The collections of the ITS are written in German. Two of the collections of the ITS have information of particular value for researching Jewish families. These records are the T/D files, and the Central Name Index.

T/D Files

The T/D (Tracing Document) files contain inquiries made by individuals after the war seeking to know the fate of their friends or relatives. The writer often provides valuable information such as family relationships ages, birthplaces, and locations where the family lived. Any documents or future correspondence related to the initial inquiry are included in the file. Even if the missing person was never found, the inquiry and associated documents may provide valuable information and lead the researcher to other relatives.

Central Name Index

This file indexes the over 17 million names found in the collections of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen. Most of the documents in the ITS are World War II era documents such as arrest papers and concentration camp lists. Names from these lists, along with the those in the T/D, are contained in the Central Name Index. Genealogists with a rare surname may even want to do a general search in the Central Name Index, as this may provide a more complete picture of the family.

Overlaps and Differences between ITS and Yad Vashem Databases

Read The International Tracing Service (ITS) and Yad Vashem to fully understand the relationships between the two. Most of ITS holdings may be found at Yad Vashem.

ITS Contact Information

The Address for the International Tracing Service is as follows:
International Tracing Service
Grosse Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen
Germany

E-mail: email@its-arolsen.org

The German Red Cross Tracing Service

The GRC Tracing Service supports people who have become separated from their family due to armed conflicts, natural disasters, escape, displacement or migration. It helps to trace family members, to put them back in contact and to reunite families.

Select region and branch office to find contact information.

Miscellaneous Resources

JewishGen Given Names Data Bases (GNDB)

Explains Primary-Subsidiary double given names (e.g., Aleksander Ziskind or Yehuda Leyb) and legal double (Primary-Subsidiary) given names which were composed of a classical Hebrew name plus an "Old" and/or "NEW" name, as the rabbis called them. Includes a database for searching Jewish given names.

Websites

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

"YIVO is dedicated to fostering knowledge of the ongoing story of Jewish life, with a focus on the history and culture of East European Jewry." Includes a significant collection of records from Vilna, Lithuania, which was a part of Poland for a time.

Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

The foundation's primary mission is to protect and commemorate the surviving sites and monuments of Jewish cultural heritage in Poland.

Shabbat goy

A new website Shabbat Goy that provides information about more than 200 concentration camps, Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Poland. The site is in French, but the home page provides a link to Google Translate so that it can be read in any language. To read the locality list in your native language, invoke the language conversion feature on the home page and then click the words “All Sites” on the black bar near the top of the page. The list of localities is not in alphabetical order, so an alphabetical list appears below:

  • Annopol, Auschwitz, Bedzin, Belzyce, Biala, Biala Podlaska, Biala, Bialystok, Bielsk Podlaski, Blechhammer, Bochnia, Bojanowo, Buk, Byczyna-Biskupice, Chelm, Chelmno, Chrzanow, Czeladz, Czerniejewo, Czestochowa, Dabrowa Tarnowska, Debica, Drawsko Pomorskie, Elk, Gdansk, Gliwice, Glogowek, Glubczyce, Gogolin, Goleniow, Gryfice, Jarocin, Jaworzno, Jedwabne, Karczew, Katowice, Kazimierz Dolny, Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Kepno, Klimontow, Konin, Kornik, Koscian, Koszalin, Kozmin, Krakow, Krapkowice, KraSnik, Krasnystaw, Krotoszyn, Kuznica, Lancut, Leczna, LeSnica, Leszno, Lodz, Lomza, Lublin, Majdanek, Miedzyrzec Podlaski, Mikolajki, Milowka, Miroslawiec, Mosina, Mszczonow, Niezdrowice, Nisko, Nowy Dwor, Nowy Sacz, Opatow, Opole Lubelskie, Orla, Ostrow Wielkopolski, Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Oswiecim, Otwock, Ozarow, Piaski, Piotrkow Trybunalski, Plaszow, Pobiedziska, Pogorzela, Polczyn Zdroj, Poznan, Prudnik, Przeworsk, Przysucha, Pszczyna, Pyskowice, Radymno, Radzyn Podlaski, Ropczyce, Rozwadow, Rymanow, Rzeszow, Sandomierz, Sanok, Sawin, Sedziszow Malopolski, Sejny, Skoczow, Slomniki, Slupca, Smigiel, Sobibor, Sokolow Malopolski, Sosnowiec, Stary Sacz, Strzegom, Strzegom, Strzelce Opolskie, Stutthof, Sulawki (sic), Swarzedz, Swidnica, Swidwin, Szczebrzeszyn, Szczucin, Szczuczyn, Szydlow, Tarnobrzeg, Tarnow, Tarnowskie Gory, Toszek, Toszek, Treblinka, Trzebinia, Tuczno, Tyczyn, Tykocin, Ujazd, Ulanow, Uzarzewo, Warszawa, Wieliczka, Wlodawa, Zabrze, Zamosc, Zary, Zator, Ziebice, Zyrardow.

References

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Poland,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1999.