Poland Archives and Libraries
Helpful guides to addresses of Polish repositories are:
- Archives collect and preserve original documents of organizations such as governments or churches.
- Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for Poland. When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this outline, return to this section to obtain the address.
If you plan to visit a repository in Poland, contact the organization and ask for information about its collection, hours, services, and fees.
Although the original records you need may be in an archive or library in Poland, the Family History Library may have a microfilm copy of them. The library has copies of many records from Polish archives.
The Polish government collects records relating to Polish history, culture, and people. These include records of genealogical value such as:
- Transcripts of church records
- Jewish records
- Church records no longer in the possession of the church including many Protestant church records
- Civil registration turned in by local civil registration offices
- Census returns
- Court records
- Military records
- Emigration lists
- Land records
Poland has two major types of genealogical repositories: government-run archives and offices and church-run archives. Government-run archives include the state and provincial archives as well as the civil registry offices.
Archiwa w Polsce: Informator adresowy(Archives in Poland: Informant of Addresses). Warszawa: Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Panstwowych, 1996. (FHL book 943.8 J54ap.) This guide describes the services of the archives and libraries in Poland as well as some limited information for major archives and libraries in other areas of the world.
Lewanski, Richard C. Guide to Polish Libraries and Archives. New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1974. (FHL book 943.8 J54l.)
There are several regional state archives. These collect civil records and civil transcripts (copies) of church records. Recent records, generally those less than 100 years old, are kept at local civil registration offices (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego).
The State Archives of Poland are not open to the public. Limited access is offered only to scholars who have first acquired permission from the state archive where they plan to visit. Some of the materials you need may be found in local church and civil offices.
Microfilm copies of many records at the Polish State Archives are available at the Family History Library, but the State Archives have several records that have not yet been filmed. If the records you need are not in the Family History Library collection, you may request information from, or photocopies of, the records you need by writing to the Directorate of the Polish State Archives (Naczelna Dyrekcja). They will forward your request to the appropriate state archive.
- Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Panstwowych
ul. Dluga 6
00-950 Warszawa skr.poczt. 1005
Fax: 48 22 831-75-63
- To do a search on their holdings go to the following site: http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/sezam.php?l=en
- Naczelna Dyrekcja has published two books about the holdings of all the national archives in Poland:
Biernata, Andrzeja and Anny Laszuk. Archiwa panstwowe w Polsce, Przewodnik po zasobach (State Archives in Poland, Guide to Resources). Warszawa: "DiG," 1998. (FHL book 943.8J54a 1998.)
Laszuk, Anna. Ksi.gi metrykalne i stanu cywilnego w archiwach panstwowych w Polsce, Informator(Parish and Civil Registration Records at State Archives in Poland, Directory).'Warszawa: Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Panstwowych, 1998. (FHL book 943.8 J53k.)
Branches of State Archives of Poland
Regional branches of the State Archives, located in major cities, collect records of the area they serve.
Addresses of these archives are available on several Internet sites:
For a listing of Polish archives with connections to the Internet see:
http://www.archiwa.gov.pl/ Polish State Archives in Warsaw.
http://www.katowice.ap.gov.pl/ State archives of Katowice
http://www.ap.wroc.pl/index_de.html State archives in Wrocław
http://www.gca.ch/Genealogie/Oels/staatsarchiv_breslau.htm Information about the State Archives in Breslau and information about Kreis Oels.
State Archives in Torun and Woclawek
Naukowy Portal Archiwalny - http://www.archiwa.net
Archiwa Państwowe na portalu www.polska.pl - http://www.polska.pl
Poznań w Dokumentach http://www.poznan.ap.gov.pl
Biblioteka Kórnicka - http://www.bkpan.poznan.pl
Provincial or County Archives
In Poland many provinces have their own repositories for records pertaining to their area that are separate from those of the national government.
Many records of genealogical value are kept by these archives, including:
- Birth, marriage, and death records
- Census records (when available)
- Land records
- Some church records
The provincial archives of Poland are not open to the public. Limited access is offered only to scholars and those who have received specific permission in writing from the Polish Directorate of the Polish State Archives in Warszawa.
Local Civil Offices
In Poland, records created by the local government less than 100 years ago—including birth, death, and marriage records—are kept in local offices. These records are not available to the public. For more information about these offices (which are comparable to county courthouses and town halls in the U.S.) and their records, see "Civil Registration" in this outline.
You can get information about records kept at local civil offices by writing to them. See Poland Letter Writing Guide.
Church archives collect records generated by the church, such as parish registers. Each diocese has its own policies regarding gathering records into the archive of the diocese. Generally, older records are found in the diocesan archives; more recent records are found at the local parish.
Some Catholic dioceses have gathered older records into a diocesan archive. You can write to these archives and request brief searches of their records. See "Church Records" in this outline.
Protestant church records can be difficult to locate in Poland. Many have been lost due to wars and boundary changes, especially so in former Pomerania regions. Many other records have been filmed and are listed in the Family History Library Catalog. In a few cases, records still exist in the local church but have not been microfilmed (e.g. Lublin Lutheran). For a complete listing of Protestant Church archives and repositories, see references in the "Church Directories" section of this outline. Some Lutheran records for former Prussian regions are held in Lutheran Church Archives in Berlin. Protestants should not hesitate to look into Catholic records for their information. If no Lutheran or other Protestant church existed in a particular area, the residents would have been civilly obligated to register their b/m/d at the nearest Catholic Church.
Many church records are kept by local parishes, which may also have earlier records. You can write to local parishes and church archives for information. See the "Church Records" section in this outline.
Genealogical Societies with focus on specific regions of Poland can often help to find records that may be particularly elusive.
Some useful sources, such as local histories, city directories, maps, newspapers, and genealogies, are available in major libraries in Poland and the United States. Contact these libraries and ask about their collection, hours, services, and fees.
Historical and Genealogical Societies
Very few historical and genealogical societies exist in Poland. Such societies may maintain libraries that collect genealogical records. Some North American societies are also working at indexing and/or extracting data from Polish records of various types. For more information, including addresses of some societies, see the "Societies" section in this outline.
Inventories, Registers, and Catalogs
Many archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you visit an archive so that you can use your time more effectively.
The Family History Library has copies of several published inventories, catalogs, directories, and guides of other libraries. These records are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under:
POLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
POLAND, (COUNTY) - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES