Archive for ‘Pacanow’

July 19, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Biechow Church Records an Inventory

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk is trying to digest Debbie G’s (from TX and Yahoo Group Polish Geniuses) insight and observations. I will need to analyze her feedback in relationship to the data I have seen (which is just about everything extant). So first, I would like to speak about the LDS microfilm, then I want to speak about Pradziad (Poland’s State Archives which contains civil and ecclesiastical data), and finally the  Ecclesiastical Archive for the parish of Biechow. I have in my possession a complete list of all microfilm — that would leave only actual physical books in the parish and possibly the civil and ecclesiastical archives. This discussion is just to convince  myself (and others) of what exists and to compare the sources available to me and draw up an action plan of what I have yet to view.  A further article will compare Debbie’s House Number experiences (which I know include many trips to Poland and its parishes and archives — sadly none in my area) with my data from Biechow. Today’s posting is a long one, but if you stick with it, you should learn where to find sources of data for your ancestral parish.

LDS Microfilm – Family History Library (Salt Lake City)

URL: Biechow microfilm       Family History Library Catalog:

First off, I need to admit, I still use the original web user interface, so if you do a place name search from their Library Catalog in their new beta-web interface it will look different, but the data will be the same — I have verified that.

The second line is a single microfilm (LDS Mf# 936665) which says it is a microfilm of the original church records from 1674-1847 inclusive, but many gaps exist. The records are all in Latin. Before 1797, the records are what I call Latin Paragraph Form (the earliest are more like Latin sentence or two, than paragraph). From 1797-1847 the data is in the Latin Box Form with standard columns that seem to vary little across all of Poland. Prior to the Latin Box Form, which includes, the column, ‘Numerus Domus’ (or in some areas an abbreviation of those words), I can state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded. If these really are the actual church records and not a copy then house numbers were not recorded in the Latin paragraph form. After the introduction of the Latin Box Form, the house numbers are used (although not always in the years where they are collected). After reading Debbie G’s comments I will go back to the Latin Box Form and confirm the years they have recorded house numbers. I do know that house numbers are also present in the Polish Long Paragraph Form for the early years of Polish records. I will confirm these dates too. I can also state unequivocally, there are NO house numbers recorded in the Russian Long Paragraph Forms.

The top line resolves in the microfilm notes into 8 separate microfilm: 936660-936664 (five film),  and 1257788, 1807660, 1807661. These last three are for the years 1875-1884 and as such are in Russian (using the Cyrillic character-set). The first five microfilm are written in Latin until 1797, then in Polish for the years 1797-1847. There are no microfilm for years 1848-1868 which would be in Polish, nor are there any for 1869-1874 which would be in Russian. These eight microfilm are supposed to be copies of the original church records. 1868 is usually a cross-over year, part Polish records and part in Russian.

You can view these nine total microfilm at the Family History Library for free or rent copies and have them sent to your local Family History Center to view. I have done both for all nine microfilm. If you have followed my blog, I have taken pictures of these microfilm records and used them in my family tree and in this blog to good effect. I have analyzed these records and inventoried and built indexes of the details of what is present on each microfilm. So I am more than conversant about these nine microfilm. I can say unabashedly, that I have an expert level knowledge of these nine microfilm and derived my own data in summaries or studies I have undertaken from the detailed records. So it should be understood that I have acquired the ability to read Latin, Polish and Russian. I am self-taught and did so in order to trace my genealogy in the Russian-Poland partition (although, as I have said these villages went from Poland to Austria to France to Russia back to Poland autonomy).

Urząd Stanu Cywilnego (USC) – Civil Registration Office

A real secular civil registry did not exist in Poland until after World War II (1945/1946). Before that vital records were maintained by religious adminstrators. In Catholic churches from the 16th century by Papal edict, but it took many decades and future edicts before Church record keeping became reliable and consistent. Since Poland became partitioned in the late 18th century, there arose three ways of civil registration. So I believe the local USC will only have from 1945-forward. I will refer the reader to a couple of Wikipedia pages that offer the details:

Suffice it to say that the religions (protestant churches / synagogues) did not gain individual official recognition as civil registrations until:

In the Austrian partition in 1782, in Prussian partition since 1794, and in the Russian partition in 1825. Napoleon by his civil code established a standard for civil registration and in lieu of any civil office, had the Catholic priest serve in this capacity (1808-1815), such that from 1808-1825 officially in Russian partition, although 1828-1830 may have been when Protestant and Jewish religions were able to finally get control of their own civil registrations and not be recorded in the Catholic Church registers. In my Biechow records, I think I see Jewish records recorded from 1810-1828 in the Catholic register. However, the fact it went past the official 1825 date, is probably more indicative of the rural nature of the region and the scarcity of Jews in some areas. Keep in mind that Napoleon (and his Codex Napoleon) and Russian Czars dictated the civil registration rules in Biechow for most of its records [1808-1918]. During the few years when Biechow was in the Austrian partition (1772-1807) there was probably no change in church registrations, since this era was largely Latin to start and the Austrians maintained the Latin record keeping.

PRADZIAD – Poland’s State Archives

URL:  [ link to my Biechow]     PRADZIAD Database:

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         alegata              1875-1886, 1888-1893, 1895, 1897-1898, 1901, 1904-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         małżeństwa       1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         urodzenia          1875-1905

Biechów           rzymskokatolickie         zgony                1875-1905

The above table shows my Biechow village. The second column is the Polish word for Roman Catholic. The Third word is record type.

małżeństwa = Marriages ;  urodzenia = Births (usually also has baptisms) ; zgony = Deaths   [your basic vital records]

alegata   =  addendum [often used to show that someone can be married in the church or has converted religions]

Well pretty much it is just 1875-1905, which is good for my grandparents and their siblings (births and marriages maybe). It also means reading Russian since 1868-1918 the records are kept in Russian. So if I view these in the regional Archive in Kielce, then I could add info to the microfilm I have already viewed,  for just the years 1885-1905 inclsuive. That is helpful, because I need my grandmother (Busia) Walerya Leszczynska’s birth record from about 1st-November-1886 in Biechow? I also want to search all of the alegata for: Elijasz, Leszczynski, Kedzierski, and Wlecialowski.

Kielce – Ecclesiastical Archive


The Church too has copies of the parish books/records that it keeps. Biechow is in the Kielce Diocessan Archive in the city of Kielce itself. I once found this image on the Internet on a Polish genealogy forum (now long since gone). Goes to show, you should keep the static web pages you find on your local hard drive.

Most of these are in the LDS microfilm: 936660, 936661, 936662, 936663, 936664, and 936665. Following the record groups are little notes, that I believe represent the fonds within the Church Archive that  hold those records. There are a few that are NOT in the LDS microfilm. Likewise there are a few in the LDS microfilm that are not in the Church Archive. SO I will need to look at these microfilm in the Church Archive in Kielce.

I have a similar image for Ksiaznice and Zborowek. My heart is heavy because I have never been able to find a similar document (text or image) for Pacanow. PLEASE can someone in Poland help me? It requires a visit to the Church Archive in Kielce to get this info (possibly a phone will get it). At any rate, if can get Pacanow, please can you email Stanczyk at

So once you find your ancestral parishes, this is what you should do. Build an inventory (a to do list) and a plan to get access to these resources for your family genealogy. Finding your ancestral parish is a process. I need to document my ideas, but that is another posting or two.

Lastly, plan to visit the parish office and the local priest. Be nice (obnoxious Americans please skip this step) and bring a gift of thanks for the priest and his office. When you leave, perhaps you can make a religious offering to the priest for a having a mass for your ancestors. What better way to honor your family and the local parish (or synagogue)! Please make the path easier for the next genealogist by being kind and respectful and generous. There may also be monuments and/or cemeteries in the area or at the church. Do not forget those too.

July 18, 2011

#Polish, #Jewish, #Genealogical Research – Church Census

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Perhaps you sneaked a peak at some new pages I recently created. My blog stats indicate that is so. So you may have witnessed the data for this story. But lets take a step back  for a moment.

In Poland, most Gminas or Powiats or large cities (ex. Warsaw) have a website, much like our cities or counties in the USA. These are the basic administrative units: Gminas make up Powiats which make up Voivodeships . Comparable to Townships(Boroughs) -> Counties -> States in the USA. So an understanding of these units of administration and their historical changes is fundamental to tracing your genealogy. Like us, they also have a history and their history is long, VERY LONNNNG in duration. In Poland, the Church is also an organizing presence and like here, they have parishes, deaconates, and dioceses. These too have very long histories. Understanding these units of administration, both civil and ecclesiastical can aid you in finding records to research. So this long preamble leads to my next useful website, which is quite specific to the locale of my ancestral villages  and what you need to do is to find the one that corresponds to your ancestral village and do likewise. Mine is:

So grab your Google Translator and follow along, please. Pacanow Gmina is the organizing unit for most of my ancestral villages (and the neighboring gminas cover the remainder). The above link (on a  line by itself) is an older web page that I have kept for years and it is now becoming buried in the official government page that is useful to residents. This page is useful to historians and family history researchers. It covers the history and tradition of both the civil and the ecclesiastical (i.e. parish) histories. Why do I or you care about these fine histories that a local historical society has produced — well if you have been a genealogist for a while you know that Historical Societies are the genealogist’s best friends. They have collected and preserved much of value that will further aid in our family history research. And so it is here. Pacanow is both a parish/deaconate (thus the ecclesiatical) and the civil gmina so they have both histories. From their pages, I have culled Church Censuses for this area covering circa 1340 through 1787 (not continuous, but snaphots at various times) that their local historians researched from church records. So on my Parish Census page is my resulting spreadsheet from a couple of their mages. These are statistical summaries, not individual records. So to be clear I am not talking about a Spis Ludnosci which contains a family and its names for generations in a parish. May we all be so lucky to find such in our individual researches.

Years – 1340, 1618, 1664, 1699, 1747/48, 1782/82, 1787

These are early years. In Biechow, one the parishes these censuses mention, my actual church records that LDS have microfilmed only go back to 1674-1675, then nothing until some deaths from 1697-1743. I have looked at these microfilm and the records are sparse (and in Latin). That being said, these censuses now allow me to evaluate what I have “detailed” records for. From the 1747/48 census I can see how Biechow has many more females than males. That explains why I can see men have many second wives (no doubt after their 1st wives die in child-birth or from the rigors of life with many children) to often much younger wives who can bear the man still more children. I have to wonder at the sizes of the homes. Even with the astonishing infant/child mortality rates of this era, families are large. Deaths are overwhelmingly people under 18 with the usual percentage of deaths for mature adults only a small percentage of the overall total. Populations are growing since the births outnumber the deaths, slightly.

All of these years are before the partitions  of Poland, except for the last two censuses (which come after the first partition of 1772). Now this last census(1787) is interesting for another reason. There was a census of Jews by parish. Now we cannot expect that the Jewish peoples attended the churches and the year 1787 was prior to the 1810-1830 years when the Catholic Church was also required to be the civil registrar and the Jews needed to register their births and marriages with the Catholic Church priest who was also the civil registrar. Like New Orleans which organizes its administrations by parishes, these early/rural parishes acted also as civil units of administration and collected censuses. The overall percentage across all parishes, was that Jewish peoples were about 6.44% of the total population. In Biechow, I see the percentage was 2.6% and that fairly closely matches the rates of Jewish records I see in the overall births from the years 1810-1830  in the Biechow parish church register.

Now that gives us a window into the first partition of Poland. Even though Stanczyk writes of Biechow/Pacanow being in the Russian-Poland partition, this early era was pre-Napoleon and these parishes were in the Krakow voivoide and Stopnica powiat, which were controlled by Austria  (more properly the Austrian-Hungarian Empire). At any rate, in the interest of the Blessed Pope John Paul II and his ecumenical efforts and to honor my own Jewish wife, I have included the Jewish census numbers here with the Catholic numbers to aid the Jewish researchers in their quest. I have collected some records in the early 1810’s that were in Biechow, since I noticed the JewishGen and JRI have not indexed Biechow. Now you know why. There were only 2.4% of the total population and  those scant numbers may have gone unnoticed so far by researchers. I would encourage JRI/JewishGen to take a look at my Parish Census blog page (in reality on Rootsweb).

Well this posting is too heavy on numbers and too slight on story, so let me end it here for today.


P.S. I am glad I put their numbers into a spreadsheet. I did find they had numerical errors (one total) and also an editing error, as the total for Jews was 1,000 more than the 821 they showed, thus they dropped the leading ‘1’ by some editorial typo. A spreadsheet quickly caught those errors.

July 17, 2011

Pacanów – The Church and A Tip.

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

St. Martin - Pacanów Church about 1918

Stanczyk, writes about Pacanów and Biechów … a lot! These are my ancestral villages. I have never been there, but they are in my very bones.

Today’s picture is from the World War I era of Pacanow and its church area. Today Sw. Marcin is now a minor basilica. The church is such a part of Poland and its history. It is also a major part of its families’ histories. Without the Church, there would be very little in the way of genealogy. As you can see the image is from Poland’s National Digital Archive (NAC). Remember I wrote about these archives, right?

I write about these two parishes, each of which has many villages that comprise their individual parishes. My reason is simple. I am always in search of others whose family history is also from these two parishes.

I have had some success in seeking out these people. For example, I met a good friend Jacek (from Krakow) at a Polish Genealogy website:  . I also met the wonderful, Elzbiety (Heliasz nee) Kapusta. She spoke no English and I am NOT fluent in Polish, but armed with Google Translator and some determination, I made my way to (a Polish Facebook social network website = “Our Classes/Classmates”). This wonderful woman was born in the Biechow parish where my grandparents(dziadkowie) were married ! She took it upon herslef to get the church record of their marriage and even a copy of the civil record too and mail these documents to me. Bless Her Always for that kindness — which I did not even ask her to do!

But that was an active search and it also led me to find a second cousin (whom I have never met face-to-face, who was born in Pacanow and now lives in TX). So active searches of Polish websites are a must, if you cannot actually visit Poland and its churches and/or archives. But this BLOG is an overt attempt to draw (i.e. a passive search) others related to me  or connected to these parishes to seek me out. So this is an inverted search process. Hence, all of the material on names of people or places in hopes that someone someday Googles my blog and contacts me. So that is my latest tip to Polish Genealogists — write a blog and post items on your family so distant cousins far and wide can reach you.

Coming Up …

In the next week or two, I will be writing about other research that I have collected on these two parishes including:

Historical Census of the Pacanow deaconate, Census of the Jewish Population in this area,  Church Archive holdings of Biechow / Ksizanice / Zborowek

Please join me. Blessings For Your Sunday!


July 10, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – A Noble Birth in Biechow 1674

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

11th-July-1674 Birth of Maryanna Niedzwiedz

Stanczyk was combing through dusty tomes again. Cough, Cough — excuse me.

This picture is from my cell phone. It is the earliest noble birth I have found for the village of Biechow (near Pacanow in the old wojewodztwo of Kielce). Let me humbly offer the translation (from Latin) …

Jozef Wałcerz, Biechow parish priest, baptized Maryanna, daughter of the Nobleman Jan Gaspar Niedzwiedzki & Agnes of Biechow. Her God Parents both were of noble birth were  Jerzy Paczakowski of Słupia and Ewa Pawłowska of Sobowice. [regrettably I was not able to read Jerzy/George’s job/title].

In a fit of boredom I decided to do some cross-research for verification. Previously, I have mentioned the digital libraries in various regions of Poland. So…

From The SwietoKrzyskie Digital Library, in the book,
Historical Description of Churches, Cities, Monuments, & Memorials of Stopnica“,
written by Jan Wisniewska in 1929, see pages 20 and 28 (in Polish):

A Father Jozef Walcerz pastor of Biechow, tithe of/to Pacanow, started his work in
1671 and worked until 1693. In 1672,  Fr. Walcerz fixed half of the church  roof, the bell tower,
and  the chancel floors and repaired the graveyard chapel damaged by a hailstorm.

So indeed, my ability to read priestly Latin handwriting from 1674 is fairly accurate (assuming my ability to translate early 20th century Polish is acceptable). The 1929 book does not put a slashed ‘l’ in Walcerz, but the priest himself did use the, ‘ł’ as the image above shows. At least, I verified the priest. Can anyone verify the nobelman(Nobilium) or the two noble born (generosa) god parents from this church record?

The Church book is from 1674-1675, so I am certain of the date. This was not from ‘Martius’, because on the facing page, this record and others were under the heading, ‘Julius’. The page tops were labeled with 1674. The heading of the record indicates ‘the 11th day in the morning’. The numbers in this tome do indeed range from 1 to 31, so this is indeed the day number and not the hour of the day.

Anyone related to Jan Gaspar/Kasper Niedzwiedzki or his wife Agnes of Biechow or their daughter Maryanna? Send me a note and let me know. Have a blessed Sunday.


Post Scriptum

The digital book cited above listed the following parishes, for which you can find these descriptions and lists of priests. The parishes in bold are connected to my genealogy:
Balice , Beszowa , Biechów ,  Busko , Chmielnik, Dobrowoda , Drugnia , Gnojno , Janina , Kargów , Koniemłoty , Kotuszów , Książnice , Kurozwęki , Lisów , Oleśnica , Ostrowce , Pacanów , Piasek Wielki , Pierzchnica , Piotrkowice , Potok , Sędziejowice , Solec , Stopnica , Strożyska , Szaniec , Szczaworyż , Szczebrzusz , Szydłów (woj. świętokrzyskie) , Świniary , Tuczępy , Widuchowa , and  Zborówek

July 7, 2011

Ancestral Villages – Poland, Kielce (old woj.), Stopnica (pow.)

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stopnica Pas 47 Slup 32 Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny 1938 (scale 1:100,000)

This picture is a map of the villages that Stanczyk’s ancestors were from. The river in the South-East corner of the map is the Wisla / Vistula river. To the South-central area are a few more villages that could not be shown: Oblekon and also Szczucin (across the Vistula). North of the Vistula, was the Russian-Poland partition. South of the Vistula was the Austrian-Poland partition. These partitions arose from Austria (aka Austrian-Hungarian Empire), Prussia, and Russia colluding in 1772, 1792, and finally in 1794 to divvy up the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until Poland had vanished from the map of Europe for about 125 years, until it reappeared in 1918. Between 1797 and 1815 various ex-expatriate Polish legions fought along side Napoleon, so the final boundaries of the three partitions continued to evolve until 1815 when Napoleon was finally defeated for good. It is ironic to me that this region on the map above changed hands so many times and that I had ancestors in two kingdoms who would marry across parishes (and indeed national boundaries).

So it was not really surprising to me that my Busia (grandmother) spoke: Polish, Russian and German and most Catholics prior to Vatican II did know a smattering of Latin since church masses were often in Latin. Indeed, my father related to me that my grandmother was fluent enough to make money during the Great Depression by translating letters to/from English to/from  Polish/Russian/German for Americans to be able to carry on correspondences in the old country.

Stanczyk remembers my grandmother speaking to me as a child in perfect English (with the lovely/charming Central European accent). I also vividly remember that after her stroke, she could only speak Polish (her native language). I would converse with my dad acting as translator between us in her kitchen over percolated coffee (ye gads — has it been nearly a half century of coffee drinking for me) from when I was about five or six years old.  My dad laughingly relates how when he was a boy, my grandmother would chastise him that his Polish was no good and that he should speak to her in English. Obviously his Polish was good enough that years later,  the three of us could chit-chat over coffee quite comfortably.

Stanczyk’s remembrances have caused me to digress. The point of this map was to list the villages where I have found vital records / church records for my Eliasz / Leszczynski / Wlecialowski / Kedzierski families. So here is my list (anyone else from here?):

Biechow (parish) – Biechow, Piestrzec, Wojcza, Wojeczka, Chrzanow

Pacanow (parish) – Pacanow, Zabiec, Kwasow

Various Other Parishes/Villages – Zborowek, Ksiaznice, Swiniary, Oblekon, Trzebica, Szczucin and I am sure many of the rest of villages surrounding these villages, but I have yet to see or connect the records to main branches of the family tree.

Now excuse me,  I must go get some more coffee.

July 4, 2011

#Polish #Genealogy – Historical Dziennik Polski (Detroit) Newspaper

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk wishes all Americans a Happy Fourth Of July !

I just wanted to update my readers that my page on the Dziennik Polski (Detroit, MI) Newspaper has been updated to include a new repository: PARI – Polonica Americana Research Institute on Orchard Lake, St Mary’s campus, whose Director is the well known Ceil Wendt Jensen (who has ancestors from Stanczyk’s ancestral village, Pacanow).

Their holdings are 1904-1920 on microfilm and 1930’s-? in bundles of actual newspapers.

Mój pies (my dog), Java wants everyone to keep their dog safe today and not to lose your dogs due to the fireworks and the fright they cause in dog’s sensitive ears.


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