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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.