Difference between revisions of "Poland Letter Writing Guide"

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| Moj adres:<br><br>John Doe<br>674 "Q" Street<br>Salt Lake City, UT 84103<br>USA
| Mój adres:<br><br>John Doe<br>674 "Q" Street<br>Salt Lake City, UT 84103<br>USA

Revision as of 19:10, 30 July 2013


This guide is for researchers who do not speak Polish but must write to Poland for genealogical records. It includes some useful information and a list of sentences you would use in requesting genealogical records and Polish translations of these sentences.

The best sources of genealogical information in Poland are records of births, marriages, and deaths records kept by churches and civil registration offices. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of these records for many, but not all localities. Use the Family History Library Catalog to determine what records are available through the Library and the Family History Centers. If records are available from the Library, it is usually faster and more productive to search these records first. If the records you want are not available through the library, you can use this guide to help you write to Poland for information.

Before You Write

Before You write to Poland for family history records, you should do following things:

  • Determine exactly where your ancestor was born, was married, lived, or died.
    Because most genealogical sources were recorded locally, you will need to know the specific locality where your ancestor was born, married, lived or died.
  • Determine your ancestor's religion.
    Because most early records were kept by churches or synagogues rather than civil registraiton offices, you may need to write to the church your ancestor attended in his or her hometown. If you are not sure what your ancestor's religion was in Poland, determine what religion he or she practiced after immigrating. People usually did not change religions when they moved frm Europe to their new home. Remember that main religion in Poland was and still is Roman Catholic. There were also following minority religions: Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Protestant (Lutheran) and Jewish.
  • Determine where records from your ancestor's home parish are stored today.
    When you have a locality name, use a gazetteer to determine which parish or civil jurisdiction served your ancestor's locality.
  • Check if records are available on-line.
    Great amount of records is available online. You can find those reconds on following pages:
    FamilySearch - Catholic records from 4 dioceses (Radom, Częstochowa, Lublin and Gliwice)
    Szukaj w Archiwach - instructions here

Archives, offices and parishes

State Archives

The best and the quickest way to contact State Archives in Poland is e-mail. It shouldn’t be a problem when you write letter in English. Probably there is at least one archive worker who knows English good enough to understand your inquiry. Of course all answers you will get in Polish. You should receive an answer in a month but sometimes it takes up to 2 months to get results of research. There is also a possibility to sent regular letter but it will significantly increase the time to get information.

Here you can find a list of all archives in Poland (with e-mails).

If writting regular letter do not include any money in an envelope. The only acceptable form of payment is bank transfer. If research looks for time consuming one, you can be asked to pay an advance. If not, you will receive an invoice for archive services and after it is paid you will receive results of research.

Each archive has own fees for services. In most cases prices are following:
copy A4: 2-3 zl (1 USD)
copy A3: 4-6 zl (2 USD)
research: 40-90 zl (13-30 USD)/hour

Civil registration offices

In civil registration offices are kept documents younger than 100 years (with some exceptions). Older records should be transferred to an archive. If you would like to know if records are already in archive, you can check it in Pradziad database.

A letter to civil registration office should be written in Polish. You should include as much information as you know concerning record you are interested in: eg. full name, exact or estimated date of event and denomination. Civil registration officer is not obligated to perform research if you can’t specify what are you looking for.

To receive a record you need to be straight descendant of person you are interested in. For example: you will get death certificate of your great grandfather but it can be a problem to get record of your grandmothers sister second husband. You can apply for that, but the result is determined of officer goodwill.

Here you can find an universal form that you can use to apply for full or shortened transcript of civil registratin record.


Since 2007 the only form of payment is bank transfer. Payment should be done before sending request. Otherwise you will get a response to complete your application within 14 days. If you have a friend or family member in Poland you can ask him to make bank transfer for you (which is cheaper and quicker) and send confirmation of payment. Prices are following:

Copy of cetrificate (without legal validity) - 5 zl (ca 1,5 USD)
Shortended transcript of certificate - 22 zl (ca 7 USD)
Full transcript of certificate - 33 zl (ca 10 USD)

There is also an option that records can be send to the nearest Polish consulate in your country and you will be notified to make payment in your local currency, but this way is more expensive.


The results of writing to parishes can vary greatly. You may get a great deal of information, or you may get no answer at all. Some clergy are willing and able to provide considerable information, while others are not.
You can include some small note (eg. 10-20 USD) in the envelope. It can increase a chance to get response, but remember - no warranty.

Here you can find address of Roman-catholic parish.  (Note: you need to use Polish letters to get results).

Remember that in some cities is more that one parish. Usually you need to determine the oldest one, where interesting records are probably kept.

Church archives

First of all: great part of records kept in cathilic church archives in Poland is microfilmed and records can be ordered to your nearest Family History Center. Before you write to church archive please try to define if records are kept in other places.

Each church archive has its own rules:

  • Some provides research and some not.
  • In some dioceses records are kept in parishes and archive possess only microfilms.
  • Some church archives do not use computers and e-mails.

Please don't include any money in the envelope, especially if you are not sure if archive provide research services.

How To Address the Envelope

For a Roman Catholic Parish
Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

For a Protestant Parish
Parafia Ewangelicka
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

In Poland exist ca 134 protestant parishes. Some records formerly found in such parishes may be housed in local Catholic parishes. For a list of the Protestant parishes in Poland and their addresses you can visit the following website www.luteranie.pl for a listing of Lutheran parishes which are in existence today.

For an Orthodox Parish
Parafia Prawoslawna
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

For a Civil Registration Office
Urząd Stanu Cywilnego
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)
Civil Registration address finder

For State Archive
Urząd Stanu Cywilnego
(street name and number)
(postal code) (name of locality)

How To Write a Letter in Polish

  • If you need help with composing letter in Polish you can ask for help on Genealodzy.pl forum. First category on this forum is General discusion and you can use English there. 
  • You can also ask some proffesional genealogist from Poland. You can ask how much this person would charge for translating a letter. Most of such persons use PayPal which is the easiest way to make ony 
  • Of course you can prepare your letter by yourself using following tips, but befre sending it is advisable to make review by someone who knows Polish.

Your letter should include:

  • The date (at the top)
  • The name and address of the addressee
  • A greeting
  • A brief introduction
  • Biographical information about your ancestor
  • A short, specific genealogical request
  • Referral request(s)
  • A comment about payment
  • Closing remarks
  • Your signature
  • Your return address (including your country)
  • Be brief and to the point. Do not ask for too much at one time.

The English-to-Polish translations found below will help you compose your letter. Read the sentences in English and choose those that best express what you want to say. Be sure to arrange your sentences logically. You may want to use the following English sentences to write your letter and then replace the sentences with their Polish translations.

Do not use this guide as the letter itself! That might insult the recipient and lessen the chance of a reply.

Writing Dates

Write dates in the European style: day-month-year. Write the full name of the month. Write the year in full (1845, not '45). You can also use numbers (01-12) to specify months.
For example, April 7, 1890 should be written as 7 kwietnia 1890 or 07.04.1890.

The following names of the months are shown in their possessive form, which is used in writing dates:

January stycznia
February lutego
March marca
April kwietnia
May maja
June czerwca
July lipca
August sierpnia
September września
October października
November listopada
December grudnia


Depending on whom your letter is addressed to, you will choose one of the following greetings. This will also affect some of your later sentences. The following sentences were written in the format of the first greeting. When addressing a priest or pastor, use the appropriate word indicated in parentheses.

English Polish
1. Dear Sirs (Ccivil officer) 1.Szanowni Państwo,
2. Dear priest
(Catholic or Orthodox)
2. Drogi Księże,
3. Dear Pastor
3. Drogi Pastorze,


4. I live in the United States, but my ancestry is from Poland, and I would like to know more about my Polish ancestors. 

4. Mieszkam w Stanach Zjednoczonych, ale 
moi przodkowie są polskiego pochodzenia. Chcę dowiedzieć się więcej o moich przodkach.
5. I am preparing a history of my ancestors in Poland and need information from your vital records. 5. Przygotowuję historię moich przodków z Polski i poszukuję pewnych danych z ksiąg metrykalnych.
6. My ancestors come from Poland. I would like to know more about them.

6. Moi przodkowie pochodzą z Polski. Poszukuję o nich informacji.
7. The following person is my ancestor who was born in Poland. I will give you all the vital data I have for this person.

7. Następująca osoba jest moim przodkiem, który urodził się w Polsce. Podaję wszystkie dane jakie mam o niej.

8. The following persons are my ancestors who were born in Poland. I will give all the vital data about them that I have. 8. Następujące osoby są moimi przodkami, którzy urodzili się w Polsce. Podaję wszystkie dane jakie mam o nich.

Biographical Information

Give as much pertinent information as possible. Use only those items below for which you can give accurate information that is relevant to your request. Do not give information about events that occurred after the ancestor left Poland.

9. a. Given name and surname: 9. a. Imię i nazwisko:

b. Date of birth (approximate): b. Data urodzenia (w przybliżeniu):
c. Place of birth: c. Miejsce urodzenia:
d. Date of christening: d. Data chrztu:
e. Place of christening: e. Miejsce chrztu:
f.  Father's given name and surname: f.  Imię i nazwisko ojca:

g. Mother's given name and maiden name: g. Imię nazwisko panieńskie matki:
h. Husband's given name and surname: h. Imię i nazwisko męża:

i.  Wife's given name and maiden name: i.  Imię i nazwisko panieńskie żony:
j.  Date of marriage: j.  Data  ślubu:
k. Place of marriage: k. Miejsce ślubu:
l.  Date of death: l.  Data zgonu:
m. Place of death: m. Miejsce zgonu:
n. Date of emigration: n. Data emigracji:

o. Religion:

          Roman Catholic
          Greek Catholic

o. Wyznanie:


Genealogical Requests

10. Could you please check your birth registers from (year) to (year) for the birth of this person?   

10. Chcę prosić o znalezienie świadectwa urodzenia tej osoby
w przedziale od (year) do (year)?

11. Please send a complete extract or copy of the birth or christening record of (1) this person. (2) these persons. 11. Proszę o przesłanie mi pełnego odpisu lub kserokopii 
świadectwa urodzenia albo chrztu (1) tej osoby.
(2) tych osób.

12. Please send me a complete extract of the marriage record of
(1) this person.
(2) this person's parents.
12. Proszę o przesłnani mi pełnego odpisu świadectwa ślubu
(1) tej osoby.
(2) rodziców tej osoby. 

13. I believe that (name) died in your locality about (year). I would like a complete extract or copy of the death record.

13. Przypuszczam, że (name) zmarł (zmarła, ifthe deceased ancestor is a female) w tej miejscowości około roku (year). Proszę o przesłanie mi pełnego odpisu lub kserokopii świadectwa zgonu tej osoby.

14. I would like to know more about the family of this person. I would be grateful if you would provide the names and birth dates of the brothers and sisters and a copy of the marriage record of the parents.

14. Chiciałbym (Chiciałabym, if you are a female) dowiedzieć się więcej o rodzinie tej osoby. Byłbym wdzięczny (Byłabym wdzięczna, if you are a female) za podanie nazwisk i dat urodzenia braci i sióstr oraz kopię świadectwa ślubu rodziców.

15. I would like to locate any relatives who may be living in your area. my ancestor was (name). He (she) left for the United States in the year (year). He (she) resided in (town) before his (her) departure. If you know of any persons of this name or relatives of the family, I would be grateful if you would give this letter to them so that they can contact me.

15. Chiciałbym (Chiciałabym,if you are a female) znaleźć członka mojej rodziny, który (która, if the ancestor is a female) prawdopodobnie żyje w Pana (księdza,if addressing a priest; Pastora, if addressing a pastor) okolicy. Nazwisko mojego przodka to (name). Wyjechał on (Wyjechała ona, if the ancestor is a female) do Stanów Zjednoczonych w roku (year). Przed wyjazdem mieszkał on (mieszkała ona,if the ancestor is a female) w miejscowości o nazwie (town). Gdyby Pan (Ksiądz,if addressing a priest; Pastor,if addressing a pastor) znał kogoś o tym nazwisku albo krewnych jego (jej,if the ancestor is a female) rodziny, byłbym wdzięczny (byłabym wdzięczna,if you are a female) za przekazanie im tego listu, aby mogli oni skontaktować się ze mną.

16. I have searched the records for your parish covering the time period from (date) to (date). However, I need records for the years (year) to (year). Could you please inform me as to where these records can be found?
16. Prowadziłem poszukiwania (Prowadziłam,if you are a
zapisów dokonywanych w tej parafii w okresie od (date) do (date). Chiałbym (Chiałabym, if you are a female) teraz otrzymać dane z przedziału lat od (year do (year). Czy mógłby mnie Pan (Ksiądz, if addressing a priest; Pastor,if addressing a pastor) poinformować, gdzie mogę znaleźć te zapisy?
17. My relative worked as a (occupation) in (city). Do you have any information about this person?

17. Mój krewny pracował (pracowała, if the ancestor
is a female
) jako (occupation) w miejscowości o
nazwie (city). Czy ma Pan (Ksiądz, if addressing a
; Pastor, if addressing a pastor) jakiekolwiek
informacje o nim (niej, if the ancestor is a female)?

18. I need information from the parish registers of the Protestant parish in (town); in German, (town). I will be most grateful if you would inform me where the records of this Protestant parish are presently found.

18. Poszukuję danych z ksiąg parafialnych Kościoła Ewangelickiego z miejscowości (town); której niemiecka nazwa brzmiała (town). Byłbym bardzo wdzięczny (Byłabym bardzo wdzięczna, if you are a female) za informacje, gdzie są teraz te zapisy.

19. My ancestor was a Greek-Catholic. He (she) resided in (town). I would like to locate the christening and marriage records of the Greek-Catholic parish. Are these records available in your (1) parish office? (2) archive? If you do not have the records, could you provide the address where they may be found?

19. Mój przodek był Greko-Katolikiem (Greko-Katoliczką,if the ancestor is a female). Mieszkał on (Mieszkała ona, if the ancestor is a female) w miejscowości (town). Chicałbym (Chicałabym, if you are a female) znaleźć jego (jej, if the ancestor is a female) świadectwo urodzenia i ślubu. Czy są one dostępne w Pana (Księdza,if addressing a priest; Pastora,if addressing a pastor) (1) biurze? (2) archiwum? Jeśli Pan (Ksiądz, if addressing a priest; Pastor, if addressing a pastor) ich nie ma, czy mógłbym (mógłabym, if you are a female) dowiedzieć się, gdzie one są?
20. For my family research I need information from the Jewish records of births, marriages, and deaths from your community. Do you know where such records are presently located? 20. Do badań historii mojej rodziny, potrzebne są mi dane z  żydowskich świadectw urodzin, ślubów oraz śmierci z Pana (Księdza, if addressing a priest; Pastora, if addressing a pastor) okolicy. Czy Pan wie, gdzie są obecnie takie zapisy?

Referral Requests

21. If you do not have the  
necessary records, I request  that you provide the address of the place where such records can be found.                 
21. Jeśli Pan (Ksiądz,if addressing a priest;
Pastor, if addressing a pastor) nie dysponuje informacjami, których potrzebuję, chicałbym (chicałabym, if you are a female) dowiedzieć się
gdzie mogę je znaleźć.

22. If you are unable to do this research for me, could you please recommend a local researcher that I could hire
for this purpose -someone who speaks some english, if possible.
22. Jeśli otrzymanie powyższych informacji jest niemoźliwe, czy mógłby Pan (Ksiądz, if addressing a priest; Pastor, if addressing a pastor) podać mi adres kogoś z tamtej okolicy, kto - za wynagrodzeniem - zechiałby mi pomóc i jeśli to możliwe, zna trochę język angielski.


23. Would you please     
inform me if it is possible         
to obtain photocopies
from your records and the
cost of such copies.                          
23. Czy można otrzymać kserokopie dokumentów i za jaką opłatą?

24. Please let me know
how I can make an
offering to your parish in
gratitude for your help.
24. Proszę o informację w jaki sposób mogę w ramach wdzięczności za okazaną pomoc złożyć ofiarę na kościół?

25. I have enclosed $
(amount) as a donation
for your parish.
25. Załączam kwote (amount) dolarów jako ofiarę na

26. Thank you very much
for your help. I have
enclosed $ (amount).
26. Dziękuję bardzo za pomoc. Załączam kwotę (amount) dolarów.

27. Please let me know
the cost of your help and
how I can pay.
27. Proszę o informację ile się należy za pomoc i w jaki sposób mogę za nią zapłacić.

Closing Remarks and Return Address

28. I thank you in advance      
for your assistance.
28. Z góry dziękuję za pomoc.

29. Respectfully,
      With regards,
29. Z szacunkiem,

30. Sincerely, 30. Z poważaniem,
31. My address is:
31. Mój adres: (address)


Use these sentences in follow-up letters as needed.

32. Thank you for the
information you have sent.    
It has helped me very much.
32. Dziękuję za nadesłane
informacje. Bardzo mi 
one pomogły.
33. I need further
information about one of
the individuals you
mentioned in your letter.
This is (name).

33. Poszukuję dalszych
informacji o (name)
wspomnianym (wspomnianej,
if the ancestor is a female) w
Pana (Księdza, if addressing
a Priest
; Pastora,if
addressing a pastor
) liście.
34. I have already
received from you the
following information
about this person:

34. Dotychczas otrzymałem 
(otrzymałam, if you are a
) od Pana (Księdza,
if addressing a priest;
Pastora, if addressing a
) następujące
informacje o tej osobie:

35. I am enclosing a
letter I sent you on (date).
Please write and tell me
if you can do this

35. Załączam kopię listu,
który wysłałem ci na
(fill in date).
Proszę mi napisać i powiedz mi,
czy można zrobić to badanie.

Example Letter: Polish

28 sierpnia 2006 

Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
32-720 Nowy Wiśnicz
Drogi Księże, 


Mieszkam Stanach Zjednoczonych, ale moi
przodkowie są polskiego pochodzenia.
Chiciałbym dowiedzieć się więcej o
moich polskich przodkach. 

Następująca osoba jest moim
przodkiem urodzonym w Polsce. Podaję
wszystkie dane, jakie mam o niej.

Imię i nazwisko: Joannes KRUPA
Data urodzenia: 15 maja 1877
Miejsce urodzenia: Połom Duży

Proszę o przeslanie mi pełnego odpisu
świadectwa urodzenia albo chrztu tej

Jeśli Ksiądz nie dysponuje informacjami,
których portrzebuję, chciałbym
dowiedzieć się, gdzie mogę je znaleźć.

Załączam kwote 10 dolarów jako
ofiarę na kościół.

Z góry dziękuję za pomoc.

Z poważaniem.


Mój adres:

John Doe
674 "Q" Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Other Forms and French Translation

Other letter writing forms that may meet your needs are available from the Polish Genealogical Society of America website. For the French translation of the Polish Letter Writing Guide click here.