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The Szlachta or Polish Nobility

  • Was established in the Middle Ages and persisted at some level until abolished by the March Constitution in 1921
  • Probably originated as Slavic warriors and protectors of the state
  • Noble status could be granted for special services to the state
  • Noble status was hereditary, but was inherited only by those born in wedlock to

parents who were both members of the nobility

  • Only members of the nobility could own land
  • At one point, 6.6-8.0% of the total population of Poland and 16% or more of all

ethnic Poles were members of the nobility

  • Unlike other European nobility, Polish nobles sharing ancestry also shared a coat of arms

Polish Court Records

  • Include registers of the local tribunals for nobles (from the 15th-18th century).
  • Books are not indexed and must be searched page by page.
  • Most records are written in latin, but some are written in Polish. Frequently, there

will be mixture of latin and Polish in the same record.


 

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