Poland Jewish Research

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Poland Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
Record Types
Poland Background
Local Research Resources
The FamilySearch moderator for Poland is Pysnaks and Sonja

Jewish Genealogy Research Wiki Topics
Israel coat of arms.png
Beginning Research
Original Records
Compiled Sources
Background Information
Finding Aids

Please contact the Support Team if you would like to be the moderator for Jewish Genealogy Research.

Go to Jewish Genealogy Research Main Page
Go to Poland Main Page

Maps of Poland

  • To view present-day Poland at Google Maps, click here.
  • For a Jewish population density map of Europe in 1900, click here.
  • For a map showing the percentage of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and Congress Poland, c. 1905, click here.
  • To view an additional historical map showing the historical percentage of Jews in governments, click here.
    Definition of "Pale of Settlement" from Wikipedia.org:
    "The Pale of Settlement (Russian: Черта́ осе́длости, chertá osédlosti, Yiddish: דער תּחום-המושבֿ, der tkhum-ha-moyshəv, Hebrew: תְּחוּם הַמּוֹשָב, tḥùm ha-mosháv‎) was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited. It extended from the eastern pale, or demarcation line, to the western Russian border with the Kingdom of Prussia (later the German Empire) and with Austria-Hungary. The English term 'pale' is derived from the Latin word 'palus,' a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary."
  • To view historical maps of Poland, click here.
  • For a map showing Poland's current voivodeships (provinces), click here.

Gazetteers of Poland

History of the Jews in Poland

  • To read the Wikipedia.org article History of the Jews in Poland, click here.
  • Take the Poland Virtual Jewish History Tour.
    "Before the outbreak of World War II, more than 3.3 million Jews lived in Poland, the largest Jewish population of Europe and second largest Jewish community in the world. Poland served as the center for Jewish culture and a diverse population of Jews from all over Europe sought refuge there, contributing to a wide variety of religious and cultural groups. Barely 11% of Poland's Jews - 369,000 people -survived the war. Today, approximately 3,200 Jews remain in Poland."
  • To visit the Galicia Jewish Museum online click here. The Galicia Jewish Museum exists to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia, presenting Jewish history from a new perspective.
  • Explore The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe by clicking here.

JewishGen.org Family Finder

Find others, possibly cousins, searching for your family name in the same countries, cities, and villages. Search the JewishGen Family Finder by clicking here. Free registration required.

Ashkenazi Amsterdam in the Eighteenth Century "Research of the family origins and heritage of Dutch Jewry (A.R.)"

Poland Jewish Records

  • Read a FamilySearch Wiki article describing available Jewish records by clicking here. Includes great links!

The JewishGen Poland Database

  • More than five million records for Poland, from a variety of sources, including: vital records, business directories, voter lists, passenger manifests, Yizkor books and other Holocaust sources. A joint project of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland and JewishGen. Requires free registration. To search, click here.

Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation

  • For A Genealogical and Family History guide to Jewish and civil records in Eastern Europe, click here and hover over Poland.
  • See also the book, Jewish roots in Poland by Miriam Weiner
    FamilySearch Catalog Number 943.8 F2wm

Help with Poland Jewish Research

  • The following JewishGen Special Interest Groups (SIGs) includes links, helps, and other resources to help with Jewish Research in Poland:
    • Białystok Region SIG
      The city of Białystok and nearby towns and villages, currently in Poland, formerly in the Russian Empire's Grodno Gubernia.
    • Danzig/Gdańsk SIG
      Danzig/Gdańsk, and its precursor communities of Alt Schottland, Langfuhr, Mattenbuden, Weinberg, and Danzig in der Breitgasse, and Tiegenhof (Nowy Dwór Gdański).
    • Gesher Galicia SIG
      Austrian Poland, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1772 until 1917, now in southern Poland and western Ukraine.
    • German-Jewish SIG
      Germany and German-speaking areas of Alsace, Lorraine, Switzerland, and Poland.
    • Łódź area SIG
      The city of Łódź, Poland, and localities within a 40-mile radius – in Congress Poland's gubernias of Piotrków, Płock, Warszawa, or Kalisz.
    • Suwalk-Łomza SIG
      Publisher of Landsmen, covering these two northeastern gubernias of Russian Poland, now in northeast Poland and southwest Lithuania.
    • Warszawa SIG
      The capital city of Poland, Warszawa (Warsaw).
  • Get ideas and help with the Facebook Polish Genealogy Research Community here.

Jewish Records [Akta żydowskie]

Research Use: Primary source.

Record Type: Records of vital events pertaining to the Jewish community. Chiefly these consist of transcript records created in accordance with the laws of each of the governments that controlled Poland after the partitioning. Prior to the introduction of civil transcript laws (and occasionally after), Jews were sometimes included in Christian church books. By the 1820s and 1830s many Jewish congregations were keeping their own distinct civil transcript records. In the former Russian territory, rabbis were designated as official registrars of Jewish civil transcripts after 1826. Austrian laws allowed Jews to maintain registers under Catholic supervision from 1789, but most Jewish registers date from the 1830s or later. Jewish records were not given the status of official legal documents in Austria until 1868. Other types of Jewish records include circumcision records, marriage contracts, as well as holocaust memorial records, There was little consistency to the keeping of birth, marriage, and death records which was by the whim of the local religious Jewish leaders until the introduction of civil transcript laws.

Time Period: 1600s to 1945. There is no clear date for the beginning of Jewish books.

Contents: Civil transcripts and/or civil registration [ksigi metrykalne wyznania mojeszowego]: record contents are similar to Christian civil transcripts described in the previous 3 sections: 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5. Circumcision records (mohalim books): given Hebrew male names of children, circumcision date (Hebrew calendar), father’s given Hebrew name, sometimes surname. Marriage contracts (Ketubbot): marriage date, names of groom and bride, contractual agreements. Death memorial records: names of deceased individuals and death date in Hebrew calendar with month and day but sometimes not year. Kahal records: Records of the Jewish governing bodies, including lists of those who voted for the head rabbi, lists of community inhabitants, etc.

Location: Most Jewish records are in Polish state archives; some are in various archives and libraries, city archives, museums and libraries. Many Jewish congregational records have been destroyed in the course of Jewish persecutions. Some may also be in Jewish libraries and archives in the United States and Israel.

Population Coverage: No statistics are available for Jews because of the sporadic nature of their record keeping.

Reliability: Very good.[1]


  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Poland,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1987-1999.