Poland Jewish Records

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Historians estimate that during the 19th century more than 85 percent of the world’s Jews lived in Europe.

Most of these lived in Poland and Russia. Many books have been written about Jews in Poland. You can often find these in a public or university library.

The Family History Library has microfilmed many Jewish records in Poland and is continually adding to the collection. There are extensive records from the former Russian and German areas of Poland, but fewer for the Austrian areas of Poland. For those areas not yet microfilmed, you may write to the local civil registration office.

At first Jews were included in Catholic civil registers. The earliest civil registration of Polish Jews was in the former Austrian territory of Galicia in 1787, but it was not enforced until the mid-19th century. The Duchy of Warsaw, which later constituted the Russian territory of Poland, began civil registration in 1808. In areas of Prussian rule, Jews were required to prepare transcripts of vital records beginning in the early 1800s. Microfilmed civil records are usually available to 1875. You may obtain information regarding records not filmed that are still in Poland by writing to the headquarters of the Polish State Archives (see Poland Archives and Libraries). Here is a fast link to all Jewish records found in Polish State Archives.

For further information about Jewish research see the Internet site:

www.JewishGen.org

Also see Jewish Genealogy Research.

For information regarding locations of Polish Jewish records, see:

Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Poland, Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories. New York, New York: Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 1997. (FHL book 943.8 F2wm.)

Contents

Jewish Vital Records in Russian Poland (Congress Poland, Kingdom of Poland)

1808-1825

Catholic Civil Transcripts were written in the Polish language.

1826-1942

Separate Jewish Registers were written in the Polish language except for the 1868 -1917 time period in which they were written in Russian.

Records older than 100 years are kept in regional branches of the Polish State Archives [Archiwum Państwowe]. Many of these records, usually up to around 1865 or later for some towns, have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Records less than 100 years are kept in the town's civil registration office [Urząd Stanu Cywilnego].

Record Sets and Indexes

JewishGen Complete List of Databases

Poland's historic borders extend into Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine and also into parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire known as Silesia. For this reason, use the database specified on your community page to find indexed records. Search for your community page here. Nonetheless, persons may show up elsewhere due to migration or deportation internal to Eastern Europe.

JRI - Poland

Jewish Records Indexing - Poland is the largest fully searchable database of Jewish vital records accessible online. 4 million records from more than 500 Polish towns are now indexed. More are being added every few months.

  • On finding an indexed record of interest, there will usually be three options for obtaining the original record:
    • a link to the digital image (or one nearby)
    • a Family History Library microfilm number
    • the contact information for the archive (follow the links at the page bottom)
      Order these records directly from the Regional Archive where the records are maintained. Instructions and further information are found here. Use the Order Form for your inquiry.

Indexing is incomplete! Sometimes only part of the available record set is indexed (e.g., births and not deaths). Carefully watch the place names, record types and date ranges listed in the search results.

Lost Shoebox Overview of Online Records for Poland

A map view of available scans and indexes arranged by Voivodeships (administrative districts). The numbers on the map refer to the items listed below.

Szukaj w Archiwach (Search the Polish Archives)

Contains information about Polish national archive resources kept at state archives in Lublin and Poznań and their branches. Digital copies of some of archive materials from these and other archives are also available in the service. Additional scans will become available as the website develops.

Its primary purpose is to provide online descriptions of archival material from state archives and other cultural institutions. Selected archival descriptions are presented in parallel with the scans, the number of which is steadily growing. Using the service is free and does not require a log in.

  • The Polish word used on this site to identify Jewish records is "mojżeszowe." For example, use that term to search all cataloged records at the site by clicking here. At the time this Wiki entry was created, this search resulted in 3,422 catalog entries.
  • Each catalog entry includes the collection name. For vital records and civil registers, the catalog entry includes the locality (e.g., town) where the record was made.
    • The Polish identifier for birth records is "urodzenia."
    • The Polish identifier for marriage records is "małżeństwa."
    • The Polish identifier for death records is "zgony."
    • The Polish identifier for marriage banns records is "alegata."
  • Search Example: To find Jewish marriages in the city of Radom, enter "mojżeszowe małżeństwa radom" in the search field at Szukaj w Archiwach. To perform this search, click here. Note that best matches come first.
  • If scans of the records have been made, then the "Digital Copies" number will be greater than zero. After opening the catalog entry by clicking on it, look for "Digital Copies" to the right of the very red arrow towards the top, and click there. At that time, you will see the online viewer options.
  • If scans are not available then contact the archive that holds the records.
  • Begin searching at Szukaj w Archiwach by clicking here and closing the pop-up.
    • Switch to English as necessary (unfortunately, not everything will be translated).
    • Choose to search "Everything," "Files," or "Vital Records and Civil Registers."
    • Enter desired search terms.

The PRADZIAD Database

PRADZIAD stands for "Database Registration Program Vital Records and Civil Status." It is a catalog of record sets found in Polish archives. Search by name of town, denomination “mojżeszowe,” etc. Here is a fast link to all Jewish records found in the PRAZIAD database (over 3000 record sets). However Jews will also be found in other historical and civil record sets not designated as "Jewish" record sets. You may wish to search through all the record sets for your towns.

Regional Archives

Archiwum Narodowe w Krakowie (National Archive in Krakow)

Includes online scans of census records, civil registers etc. For civil registers, search “Akta stanu cywilnego Izraelickiego”.

Archiwum Państwowe w Olsztynie (State Archive in Olsztyn)

Includes images of civil registries (“Urząd Stanu Cywilnego”).

Archiwum Państwowe w Poznaniu (State Archive in Poznan/Posen)

Includes indexed census records from 1870-1931 with link to image.

Archiwum Państwowe w Szczecinie (State Archive in Szczecin)

Includes civil registry records by community, designated “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego” and linked from the left-hand sidebar. Browse images.

Genealogia w Archiwach (Genealogy in the Archives of Torun and Bydgoszcz}

A joint genealogical project of the state archives in Torun and Bydgoszcz containing images of civil records starting in 1874 for Pomorski and Kujawsko-pomorski. Browse by community and date. An English tutorial for using Genealogia w Archiwach is found here.

Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych (AGAD) (Central Archive of Historical Records in Warsaw, records of Galicia)

Online images of the registry books of Jewish communities in the area of the Bug River from 1789-1943. The Bug River ran through Galicia and presently forms part of the border between Ukraine and Poland. Some, but not all, of these records are indexed at JewishGen.

The records of 137 Jewish communities are to be found at AGAD. Those with digital images (most of them) are identified by a “galeria ze skanami” (gallery of scans) link. Contact the archive about those without scans. The access page begins with general information, lists all 137 communities, and then re-iterates record set by record set with record type and dates covered.

Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu (State Archive in Wrocław)

Search for scans of civil registers using “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego.”

Metryki Genealodzy (Genealogical Records Indexing Project)

Click on the current Administrative Division for your community, then the county (info from your community page). Look for “Denomination: mojżeszowe” and/or “Urząd Stanu Cywilnego” meaning “Civil Registry Office,” and then follow the links to browse the online images.

Geneteka

Search indexed records by name, place, event, and date.

The Knowles Collection: Jews of Europe

Genealogies of many Jews who appear in the records of the countries of Europe. The great advantage of the Knowles Collection is that it links together into family groups, thousands of individual Jews (over 380,000 for this database as of Jan 2015). Use the above link to search the collection. To view a description of the collection, click here.

Familiendatenbank Juden im Deutschen Reich (Jewish Families in the German Empire)

Index only, almost 70,000 persons, compiled by Ingo Paul. The site is in German.

  • Includes (bold type designates parts of present-day Poland):
    • Berlin
    • Brandenburg with communities located east of the Oder River
    • Bremen
    • Hamburg
    • Mecklenburg
    • Niedersachsen
    • Ostpreußen
    • Pommern
    • Posen
    • Sachsen with areas east of the Neiße River
    • Sachsen-Anhalt
    • Schlesien
    • Schleswig-Holstein with Nordschleswig
    • Thüringen
    • Westpreußen

Pomeranian Genealogical Association German: Pommern, Polish: Pomorski

Look for civil registry records with a “USC” (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego) designation.

Poznan Project German: Posen

Includes “civil registry” records.

National BaSIA Database (Wielkopolska Genealogical Society)

Covers Greater Poland and Kuyavian-Pomerania. Includes civil registry records. Click on map to see what is indexed. Search by name.

The Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation

Data regarding locations of Polish Jewish records originally published in books by Miriam Weiner is now on this website with periodic updates.

Yad Vashem Shoah Database

The YadVashem.org Central Database of Shoah (Holocaust) Victims’ Names is searchable by name and by community with “synonym” or “Soundex” options.

Kielce-Radom SIG Journal

A link to a list of indexed towns from the Kielce-Radom area. For many years, the Kielce-Radom Special Interest Group has been indexed Jewish vital records from that area of Poland, publishing the data in their printed Journal. These indexes have been now merged into the JRI Poland database.

The International Tracing Service

International Tracing Service was established at the end of World War I to help people in Europe to find family and friends who had been lost as a result of the war. The archives of the ITS were opened to the public in November 2007. The collections of the ITS are written in German. Two of the collections of the ITS have information of particular value for researching Jewish families. These records are the T/D files, and the Central Name Index.

T/D Files

The T/D (Tracing Document) files contain inquiries made by individuals after the war seeking to know the fate of their friends or relatives. The writer often provides valuable information such as family relationships ages, birthplaces, and locations where the family lived. Any documents or future correspondence related to the initial inquiry are included in the file. Even if the missing person was never found, the inquiry and associated documents may provide valuable information and lead the researcher to other relatives.

Central Name Index

This file indexes the over 17 million names found in the collections of the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen. Most of the documents in the ITS are World War II era documents such as arrest papers and concentration camp lists. Names from these lists, along with the those in the T/D, are contained in the Central Name Index. Genealogists with a rare surname may even want to do a general search in the Central Name Index, as this may provide a more complete picture of the family.

Overlaps and Differences between ITS and Yad Vashem Databases

Read The International Tracing Service (ITS) and Yad Vashem to fully understand the relationships between the two. Most of ITS holdings may be found at Yad Vashem.

ITS Contact Information

The Address for the International Tracing Service is as follows:
International Tracing Service
Grosse Allee 5-9
34454 Bad Arolsen
Germany

E-mail: email@its-arolsen.org

The German Red Cross Tracing Service

The GRC Tracing Service supports people who have become separated from their family due to armed conflicts, natural disasters, escape, displacement or migration. It helps to trace family members, to put them back in contact and to reunite families.

Select region and branch office to find contact information.

Miscellaneous Resources

JewishGen Given Names Data Bases (GNDB)

Explains Primary-Subsidiary double given names (e.g., Aleksander Ziskind or Yehuda Leyb) and legal double (Primary-Subsidiary) given names which were composed of a classical Hebrew name plus an "Old" and/or "NEW" name, as the rabbis called them. Includes a database for searching Jewish given names.

Web Sites

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

"YIVO is dedicated to fostering knowledge of the ongoing story of Jewish life, with a focus on the history and culture of East European Jewry." Includes a significant collection of records from Vilna, Lithuania, which was a part of Poland for a time.

Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

The foundation's primary mission is to protect and commemorate the surviving sites and monuments of Jewish cultural heritage in Poland.

Shabbat goy

A new website Shabbat Goy that provides information about more than 200 concentration camps, Jewish synagogues and cemeteries in Poland. The site is in French, but the home page provides a link to Google Translate so that it can be read in any language. To read the locality list in your native language, invoke the language conversion feature on the home page and then click the words “All Sites” on the black bar near the top of the page. The list of localities is not in alphabetical order, so an alphabetical list appears below:

  • Annopol, Auschwitz, Bedzin, Belzyce, Biala, Biala Podlaska, Biala, Bialystok, Bielsk Podlaski, Blechhammer, Bochnia, Bojanowo, Buk, Byczyna-Biskupice, Chelm, Chelmno, Chrzanow, Czeladz, Czerniejewo, Czestochowa, Dabrowa Tarnowska, Debica, Drawsko Pomorskie, Elk, Gdansk, Gliwice, Glogowek, Glubczyce, Gogolin, Goleniow, Gryfice, Jarocin, Jaworzno, Jedwabne, Karczew, Katowice, Kazimierz Dolny, Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Kepno, Klimontow, Konin, Kornik, Koscian, Koszalin, Kozmin, Krakow, Krapkowice, KraSnik, Krasnystaw, Krotoszyn, Kuznica, Lancut, Leczna, LeSnica, Leszno, Lodz, Lomza, Lublin, Majdanek, Miedzyrzec Podlaski, Mikolajki, Milowka, Miroslawiec, Mosina, Mszczonow, Niezdrowice, Nisko, Nowy Dwor, Nowy Sacz, Opatow, Opole Lubelskie, Orla, Ostrow Wielkopolski, Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, Oswiecim, Otwock, Ozarow, Piaski, Piotrkow Trybunalski, Plaszow, Pobiedziska, Pogorzela, Polczyn Zdroj, Poznan, Prudnik, Przeworsk, Przysucha, Pszczyna, Pyskowice, Radymno, Radzyn Podlaski, Ropczyce, Rozwadow, Rymanow, Rzeszow, Sandomierz, Sanok, Sawin, Sedziszow Malopolski, Sejny, Skoczow, Slomniki, Slupca, Smigiel, Sobibor, Sokolow Malopolski, Sosnowiec, Stary Sacz, Strzegom, Strzegom, Strzelce Opolskie, Stutthof, Sulawki (sic), Swarzedz, Swidnica, Swidwin, Szczebrzeszyn, Szczucin, Szczuczyn, Szydlow, Tarnobrzeg, Tarnow, Tarnowskie Gory, Toszek, Toszek, Treblinka, Trzebinia, Tuczno, Tyczyn, Tykocin, Ujazd, Ulanow, Uzarzewo, Warszawa, Wieliczka, Wlodawa, Zabrze, Zamosc, Zary, Zator, Ziebice, Zyrardow.