Gazetteers, Maps, and Genealogy — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Maps, #Gazetteer

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Block_Stanczyk, has been busy revisiting the Metryk (metrical, vital records) images from of the various parishes/synagogues [hereafter I just use ‘parish’ as shorthand for ‘parish/synagogue’]. As my blog, Waiting For Polish Archives 2.4 M Scans (March 18th, 2013), indicated, I have been exhausting the possibilities for Biechow & Zborowek parishes in the Buski (Busko-Zdroj) powiat. The images are clearer, so I am replacing my existing images with these much better images. In some cases, I have found that the images of the Polish paragraph format provide me with additional details over what may have been available via only a Latin Box format copy that I might have previously had. At the very least, I have corrected a few mistakes of translation due to unreadable portions from prior microfilm I have read from/taken pictures of. So I strongly encourage others to make this effort.

I have been using the Metryk database and looking at the images/scans. Sometimes you have to look at dozens of images because there is NO index. But most of the collection (post 1812) have indexes. If you see SKU (that means index/skorowidz of births/urodziny), likewise  for SKM (for marriage), and SKZ (for death) indexes. Sometimes indexes spread across multiple pages, so you may see SK1, SKa (names begining with the letter ‘A’) or SKU1, etc. SO use these indexes to look for your family names, then just load up the scan of the akt (record) number for your ancestor — no need to search  through a multitude of images.

I have also used Geneszukacz as another kind of index to search for family names. These indexes are nice because I can catch ancestors getting married (or dying or giving birth) in another parish that I might not have known to check. If this previously unknown parish is one that has scans, then I go directly to the year/event for that parish and go to the akt specified in Geneszukacz!

So that is all great and I exhort you to do this.

But these new, previously unknown parishes. Where are they? How far away from the ancestral village are they? That is when I need a gazetteer (check out Stanczyk’s Gazetter page) or a map. If you have not been to the Polish War Map Archive (Archiwum Map Wojskowego), then today’s blog is your reason to do so. I have a map on my wall of my ancestral villages. The map’s name is: STOPNICA_PAS47_SLUP32. In fact, I use their MAP INDEX, 1:100,000 scale map tiled in squares ( Please NOTE these map images are from about 4MB to 7MB in size. Make sure you are at a Free WiFi cafe where you can use a high-speed and the large band-width for the map images you download.

When you see, PAS think ROW and when you see SLUP think COLUMN. This is a big Cartesian Grid (or computer types can think 2d-array). It turns out that STOPNICA_PAS47_SLUP32 has: Biechow, Pacanow, Ksiaznice, Zborowek, Swiniary, Szczucin, Beszowa, Olesnica, and STOPNICA. In fact, that one map has many more parishes than those that I enumerated. I have a small snippet of the Map Index below (you can click on the image and it will take you to the actual map index):


So I found an ELIJASZ ancestor in Koniemloty parish getting married, who was from PACANOW parish. Now from the Metryk web app, I knew Koniemloty was in STASZOW powiat. So I go to the Map Index and look at the grid near STOPNICA (P47_S32) and voila, STASZOW is the box due north of STOPNICA in PAS46_SLUP32. If you cannot locate you powiat that way, then you must drop back to (an interactive map that I have raved about before) and look for KONIEMLOTY (do not need to use diacriticals) to get the relative feel that it is north or east (or north-east). So any way, STASZOW_PAS46_SLUP32 is the map for KONIEMLOTY parish. Notice PAS46 is one row less than PAS47 (of STOPNICA). PAS decreasing is going north, PAS increasing is going south. Going east from STASZOW, we see the SLUP increases to SLUP33  (SANDOMIERZ) or going west the SLUP decreases to SLUP31 (PINCZOW). So now you can now work  with the Map Index using the cardinal directions by adding/subtracting to/from the rows/columns.

P.S. Since this is the Passover (Pesach) / Easter (Wielkanoc) season, let me honor my wife (Tereza) by pointing out that her paternal grandfather, Benjamin Solomon, had as a birth village, Proskuriw (aka PŁOSKIRÓW, Хмельницький/Khmelnitski — now in Modern Ukraine). This village is shown in the lower right-hand corner of my map snippet (PAS51_SLUP44).


2 Comments to “Gazetteers, Maps, and Genealogy — #Polish, #Genealogy, #Maps, #Gazetteer”

  1. Great blog! Im wondering if you have any knowledge of sources for research in Rataje, Stopnica, Poland. Im looking for the Banas family in that area. Thanks!


    • Michelle Ann,
      Welcome to the blog and thanks for your comments/questions. When I started genealogy in 1995, there was nothing! Now its nearly 20 years later and sadly not much has changed for you & I. Part of why I started writing this blog was to find the people whose ancestors were from that region.

      I have belonged to Ancestry forums and Rootsweb mailing lists and Yahoo Groups (Polish Genius) and of course Polish Genealogical Societies without much success (Ceil Wendt Jensen is one very notable exception). I have had some success with making my family tree public and collaborating. I have also had success with a Polish website (Social Network), “Nasza Klasa”.

      My grandfather once lived in RatajeZabiec (near Rataje) and listed that as his last residence. As you may or may not know, Rataje is a part of the Pacanow parish that I so often write about. I have read the microfilm from the LDS (aka Mormons) for Pacanow and Stopnica — but there is not very much. Stopnica, I do not know so well. But I am sure that I have seen the BANAS family name in Pacanow (and possibly Biechow and Swiniary too). Your family name unfortunately, does not appear in my family tree.

      Here are my suggestions:
      1. Rent LDS microfilm at a local Family History center (or go to Salt Lake City to the FHL). [Link: ]. Click on Pacanow or Stopnica for your needs.
      2. Recently I have written about . Their Metryk project and Geneszukacz/Geneteka projects have some info and some scans that may be of help to you. [Sadly, no Pacanow or Stopnica]. Click on those links.
      3. Do you know where Rataje and Stopnica are “geographically”? Download / Click on the link in my recent blog for STOPNICA, since both towns/villages are on that map. Rataje is just above the VISTULA river at the bottom — near Pacanow. Stopnica is a relatively large town.
      4. This area is from what was the RUSSIAN-POLAND partition. Hence, why so much of the records are in Russian (1869-1918).

      A quick scan of databases shows:
      655 Births (Urodzenia)
      429 Deaths (Zgony)
      331 Marriages (Małżeństwa)

      So BANAS is a fairly common name. Let me write a quick blog post where I can include a METRYK image for you of a BANAS marriage record:

      Marriage Record #9 from 1869 in STASZOW (between Pacanow and Stopnica)

      between JAN BANAS (a widower) and Marianna GLIB ). I do not know that these two people are related to you, but I wanted to show you what BANAS looks like in RUSSIAN. It is the latest record I could find (many from the 1700’s) so perhaps you will get lucky and this will be an ancestor of yours that you have knowledge of.


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