Polish Genealogy: Useful Websites #2 … Digital Archives, Libraries, Church Archives

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Yesterday I wrote about Poland’s great website resources that we in the English speaking world should be using. I was thinking of the State Archives (national/regional), Libraries, and Ecclesiastical Archives. Now these are not the civil registration offices (USC) nor are these the parish church books. These are the duplicate records in the archives.

Furthermore, I was emphasizing the resources that have online resources, like a catalog (in the case of the PRADZIAD database) or even better digital images of documents or historical items. Yesterday’s article was already running long. So today, I am including a sampling of these resources (while I test/cleanup the others). With these you should be able to find the others yourself. I also apologize that these are heavily influenced by where I have ancestors.

A word of note to my cautious readers. The digital libraries all use a product called Dj Vu ( a browser plug-in) from LizardTech. I strongly urge you to utilize this software! I have used it for years with no worries. It works in both MS Windows and in MAC OS. I have used with many types of browsers and can usually get it to work as an add-in/plug-in to the browser or as a local applet that runs on the PC.

As for the websites, I have some advice there as well. First off, if you are comfortable working in Polish (język polski) then you should use this language. The reason is some sites offer more content only in Polish. If you are language challenged, then your next best option is to look for a little flag. The flag looks like the UK’s Union Jack or the USA’s Old Glory or sometimes a hybrid of the two. Clicking on that icon usually translates a page’s content into “mostly” English. Some button or menus or other user interface features may still be in Polish. For the most part, the websites do not force you to use the accented letters (diacriticals). You should test to verify you get the same results in your searches by doing it both ways. Some websites offer a little keyboard to help Americans enter the diacriticals when they are necessary. The GenealogIndexer website actually had a nice keyboard (see image above) that included the Cyrillic characters (in case you are searching in Russian/Ukrainian/BeloRussian/etc.), Hebrew characters and other Euro/Slavic characters.

Stanczyk wishes to thank Poland and its many archives and museums for providing these resources. I promise to come visit as a tourist and a RESEARCHER because you so kindly made it possible for me to extend my vacation/holiday to do some historical/genealogical research by providing these resources ahead of time while I am still at home and can prepare. Final word of advice, to those planning a research trip to Poland; Try these websites out to help you on locating the resources and their locations and even the details (i.e. FONDS, etc.). Make yourself familiar with access rules or have your guide do the leg-work so you can walk right in and begin your research without delay. Do not forget or ignore the parishes or the USC offices (civil records authority, like county-clerk in USA) or cemeteries; make time for parishes and archives both to ensure you see as much as you possibly can in one trip.

Now my sample resources are in the table below:

Digital Content from Poland’s Archives / Museums / Churches English Translation Websites
Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych The Head Office of State Archives http://archiwa.gov.pl/en/data-bases.html
MaloPolska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Malopolska (LittlePoland) http://mbc.malopolska.pl/dlibra
WielkoPolska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Greater Poland in Poznan http://www.wbc.poznan.pl/dlibra
Slaska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Silesia http://www.sbc.org.pl/dlibra
Podlaska Biblioteka Cyfrowa Digital Library of Podlaska http://pbc.biaman.pl/dlibra
Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych AGAD – Central Archives of Historical Records http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl/
Archiwum Państwowe w Kielcach State Archive in Kielce http://www.kielce.ap.gov.pl/
Archiwum Państwowe w Rzeszowie State Archive in Rzeszów http://www.rzeszow.ap.gov.pl
Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe (NAC) National Digital Archives http://nac.gov.pl/en/node/58
NAC – Search Archives link Search the Archives (Lublin, Poznan, Warsaw, Hoover Inst.) http://szukajwarchiwach.pl/
Archiwum Diecezjalne – Kielce Kielce Diocessan Archives http://www.kielce.opoka.org.pl/?mod=contents&g=kuria&id=archiwum
Archiwum Diecezjalne – Tarnów Tarnów Diocessan Archives http://www.archiwum.diecezja.tarnow.pl
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