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Getting started with Austrian Poland research

  • Time period: 1782-1918.
  • The parish-priests were given the title of civil registrars.
  • Since 1784 the vital documents gained a legal status; each of the religions had a separate set of records for births, marriages, and deaths; records were written in Latin; the entries were separate for each of the villages included in a parish; copies of the records were given to the civil authorities at the end of each year. The Lutherans had their right to keep their own records, usually in German.
  • Since 1787 when there was a marriage of mixed religions, the entry had to be made in both of the involved parishes.
  • Since 1789 there were established Jewish communities, before that time the records would be maintained by the catholic priests.
  • In 1891 was the final division of the Jewish communities, entries were made in German and Polish, headings appeared in Hebrew or Yiddish.
  • In 1907 the main change to the form of the tabular records was the addition of the last column called "remarks".
  • Where can we find the records today: At the places where the records were originally kept; at the appropriate Civil Registrar’s Offices (usually not older records than 100 years in Poland and usually 80 years in the former Soviet Republics) then at the State Archives; at the Church Archives; at the "Beyond the Bug River Archives"–the Main Archive of Ancient Documents (Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych) in Warsaw, the Civil Registrar’s Office (Warszawa-Srodmiescie).


Research Tools

Helpful information for researching Germans in Galicia can be found at Galizien German Descendants website. Click Researching our Galizien Germans link on the left to learn about research. Then click Records and Archives dealing with Galizien Germans link for information about available records including Family History Library microfilm numbers.

To learn more about the Galician catholic records see the article Catholic Vital Records of Galicia/Halychynaby Matthew R. Bielawa.

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Did you know?

The Austrian Crownland of Galizien (Galicia) is called Halychyna in Ukrainian and Halicz in Polish. The area of Galicia refers to the region that came to Poland during the first partition in 1772. Two years later, Empress Maria Theresa issued a settlement patent to encourage immigration to the sparsely settled region. Her successor Emperor Joseph II issued a second patent in 1781 and added a Toleranzpatent promising religious toleration for Protestants. Germans from the Palatinate (Pfalz), Wurttemberg, and Bohemia responded, as did Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and others. Galicia was annexed to Poland in 1918. In 1939, it was divided between the Provisional Government of Warsaw and Ukraine, a division drawn with the modern geographical boundaries of Poland and Ukraine.

Galicia reaches north from the Carpathian Mountains across the Sarmatian Plain. It stretches from the Biala River, a tributary of the Weichsel, in the west to the Zbrucz, a tributary of the Dniester, in the east.

This area had a large Ukrainian population in the eastern section and a Polish population on the western side which was often refered to as Little Poland. Some of the localities in Austrian Poland are Tarnow, Rzezow and Nowy Sącz.

German Colonies in Galicia

  • Evangelical Pfälzer
  • Evangelicals from Wüttemberg
  • Mennonite Pfälzer
  • Bohemian Catholics

Subsequent Migrations

  • within Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • to Russia and Romania
  • to the Western Hemisphere
  • war dislocations

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