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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
- Mainly documented the lives of the nobility-predated existing vital 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.
Locating Polish Court Records at AGAD
AGAD or the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw
Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych w Warszawie
ul. DJuga 7
- AGAD Division 1: Records prior to 1795
- AGAD Division 2: Records from 1795-1918
- AGAD Division 3: Genealogy Archives and Private Collections
- AGAD Division 4: Map Collections
- AGAD Division 5: Information, Records, and Public Resources
- Search the SEZAM, one of the databases for the Polish Archives:
http://baza.archiwa.gov.pllsezamlsezam.php?l=en. Searches need not use Polish characters, but a search should either include all Polish characters or no Polish characters.
- Search for locality names
- Search for księgi ziemskie or księgi grodzkie
- Marek Minakowski's website at: http://www.przodkowie.comlagad/ includes a
searchable database of many court records from the Ciechanów, Maków, and Przasnysz areas north of Warsaw.
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