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Gazetteers are dictionaries of place-names. They describe towns, villages, counties, provinces, and population sizes; parishes; and rivers, mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only places that existed at the time of publication.
The place-names are generally listed in alphabetical order.
Gazetteers may also provide the following information about towns:
- Local religious denominations and parishes
- Postal facilities and other communication facilities (telephone, telegraph, and so on)
- Local commerce, agriculture, manufacturing works, canals, docks, and railroad stations
- Schools, colleges, and universities
You can use gazetteers to locate places where your family lived and determine the civil and church jurisdictions over those places. For example, Sarnów in Gliwice County is a small village that belongs to the Catholic parish of Toszek.
Because many places in Poland have the same or similar names, you will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town your ancestor lived in, the civil district it was in, and the jurisdictions where records about your ancestor were kept.
Gazetteers can also help you determine the county jurisdictions used in the Family History Library Catalog.
Skorowidz miejscowości Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
Index of locallities of the Polish Republic printed in 1930s. This gazetteer is arranged alphabetically in Polish. Jurisdictional information is given in columns. The parishes are listed in the last column.
Most interesting columns are:
1 - name of place
2 - branch
3 - county
4 - woivodeship
last column - parishes
e - Evangelical
g - Greek Catholic
p - Orthodox
r - Roman Catholic
loco - in the locality
Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich
Geographical dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic lands
15 vols. Warsaw: Sulimierski i Walewski, 1880–1902.
FHL book 943.8 E5c; film 920957–72
Vol. 1 Aa-Dereneczna
Vol. 2 Derenek-Gzack
Vol. 3 Haag-Kepy
Vol. 4 Kes-Kutno
Vol. 5 Kutowa-Malczyce
Vol. 6 Malczyce-Netreba
Vol. 7 Netrebka-Perepiat
Vol. 8 Perepiatycha-Pozajscie
Vol. 9 Pozajscie-Ruksze
Vol. 10 Rukszenice-Sochaczew
Vol. 11 Sochaczew-Szlurbowska
Vol. 12 Szlurpkiszki-Warlynka
Vol. 13 Warmbrunn-Worowo
Vol. 14 Worowo-Zyzyn
Vol. 15 Ababi-Janus addendum
Vol. 15 II Januszpol-Wola addendum
Śląsk /Silesia / Schesien
Wielkopolska / Great Poland
Księga adresowa wszystkich miejscowości w Wielkim Księstwie Poznańskiem - 1902, all places from Great Poland sorted alphabetically in counties. Numbers in columns relates to folowing:
(5) - civil registry office
(7) - catholic parish
(8) - evangelical parish
Description of each number is to be found on the begining of each chapter.
Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preussen... Provinz Posen - 1908, sortet alfabeticallby by counties.
Most interesting columns:
25 - evangelical parish
26 - catholic parish
27 - civil registry office
Family History Library Catalog
The Family History Library Catalog lists place-names under county (województwo) jurisdictions used in the 1960s and 70s. Names are also listed under the German-Prussian province (Provinz) as of 1871–1914 or the Austrian province (Provinz) as of 1850–1915.
Each town is listed in the catalog with its district (powiat or Kreis) jurisdiction to distinquish it from other places of the same name.
Because of the many changes in place-names, the Family History Library uses one gazetteer as the standard guide for listing places in the Family History Library Catalog.
Uning maps online to locate a place
Maps are great tools, that can be used for locating places.
Mapa.szukacz.pl - online map with search tool. Provide name of place in field "Miejscowości" and then click "Pokaż" button. There is no need to use Polish diactric letters. In result you will get a map of Poland with all searched places marked with pink circles.
MIlitary maps from ca. 1910 - if you don't know exact spelling of Polish place, but you know only area where your ancestors lived, you can use this map to find correct name.
Other usefull online tools
Kartenmeister only covers those parts of Poland formerly ruled by Prussia. It is especially useful because it is based on the Germanic place names that existed in that era. It does not have a soundex system but will allow searches with starting letters, or combinations of middle and ending letters. It provides current equivalent Polish place names where known.
ShtetlSeeker is a major search resource for place names throughout eastern Europe. The biggest advantage of this search is that it uses a specialized soundex system to find places. This can be very helpful if your spelling is not quite accurate. Keep in mind that not all the results will be of value. A soundex result is not intended to provide sounds-like results. You have to be judicious in selecting the correct place from the display page.
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