Polish State Archive Databases

There are two entries here.  The first is a description of the databases from GGD#74,  The second is a method to see digital scans of actual records for a very small set of Polish records.


Reproduced from GGD newsletter #74, April 2013, page 14

In many cases, a researcher can learn what exists in Polish archives without ever going there. Four databases created by the Polish State Archives permit one to look up what information is available online. This article covers the four databases that include descriptions of the records founds in the archives. None of these databases links to images of the records, so a researcher must still visit, employ an agent, or correspond to obtain a copy of an original record. Before doing this, note that the Family History Library microfilmed some vital records during the period 1968–98 and may be searched for in the library catalog at www.familysearch.org

The Polish State Archives holds the government copy of church and/or synagogue registrations of birth, marriage and death. These are searchable in PRADZIAD (described below), but the researcher must be aware that the original church records are not found in this index, but are located in the churches or in diocesan archives and are not controlled by the state archive system.

Another key genealogical record type found in state archives is various forms of population registers. These are searchable in ELA (described below). Less easy to use are multiple other records that pertain to emigration, military service, land ownership, and services rendered to a manor, all searchable in SEZAM and IZA. Each database makes use of an English interface; a researcher who encounters Polish text, may click on the British flag at the top of the page.


Baza danych Program Rejestracji Akt Metrykalnych i Stanu Cywilnego (The Program for the registration of records from parish and civil registration offices) has information on parish and civil registration registers preserved in all branches of the Polish State Archives and some Roman Catholic diocesan and arch-diocesan archives. It does not include personal name indexes or images of original documents. PRADZIAD is found at http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/pradziad.php?l=en

This database covers both historical and modern Poland. Records do not always move with boundary changes. Consequently, Polish archives hold records for places now in surrounding countries. Likewise, Polish records are held in the archives of surrounding countries. The database includes towns that no longer exist or that now are located in another country, and towns that belonged to pre-1945 Germany and were incorporated into Poland. A researcher may search on one or several of the following elements:


Ewidencje Ludności w Archiwaliach (Population registers in archival materials) includes information on all population registers (e.g., lists, rolls, indexes) found in archival materials of all branches of the Polish State Archives. It does not include information on parish registers and civil registration covered in PRADZIAD, nor does it contain personal name indexes, or images of original documents. ELA is found at http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/ela.php?l=en.

A variety of records listed the population, including tax lists, residence lists, census records, and financial lists. The search elements are:


System Ewidencji Zasobu Archiwalnego (Archival holdings registration system) includes information on the national archival holdings preserved by the State Archives and a handful of other key record repositories in Poland. It includes all records found in both PRADZIAD and ELA. While those two databases retrieve individual volumes or groups of volumes, the whole collection in which the volume is found is provided in SEZAM. The collection descriptions provide details on the collection name, the author, dates of documents, and number of units or size of collection. If the collection has a digital inventory, it is attached to the collection description summary. The website uses the term fond, a universal term derived from French meaning collection. SEZAM is found at http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/sezam.php?l=en. The following are the main search elements.


Inwentarze Zespołów Archiwalnych (United inventory of archival fonds) permits the researcher to search the terms in the inventories of more than 24,900 collections (the number continues to increase over time), or 28 percent of all collections preserved in branches of the Polish State Archives. Inventories provide greater detail than the summary information that is searched in the other databases. A researcher might find the records for a place that is found in an inventory and nowhere else in the description of the collection. IZA is accessible at http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/iza.php?l=en.

The following are search elements.

Option 1. Check to see if an inventory for a specific archive has been included in the database.

  1. Select the archive of interest from the drop-down menu.
  2. Initiate a search.

  3. In the results, all inventories for that archive are listed in numerical order by fond number.
    To display the inventory, click on inventory in the right-hand column.

Option 2: Search for materials by terms at any level of description, for example, fond, series, subseries, item title and so forth.

  1. Number of the fond (collection)
  2. Title of the series or subseries (subdivisions of collection)
  3. c. Title of an item
  4. d. Any name, place, or subject that may have been used describing the item.

SIMPLE INQUIRY. This is not a database, but a way to query all databases at the same time. A researcher enters any term into one search box in which you enter any term you wish. The system then retrieves collections based upon text in fond titles, administrative histories, scopes and contents notes, titles of series, subseries, and files. The results are retrieved from all four databases. At first, the results all merged into one list may be a little difficult to understand. Once a researcher becomes acquainted with the results from each database separately, he or she  then can easily under-stand the results of this search. One of the best uses of this search is to first find a place name in PRADZIAD, and then do this search to retrieve any instance of that place in any collection description, providing a comprehensive list of all records that pertain to that place.


The databases of the Polish State Archives allow a researcher to prepare for reviewing what records of interest exist without going to Poland. A researcher can also advise an agent of the collections that should be searched. A mere decade ago, all of these functions could be done only at the archive. Under the communist system, the descriptions now available on the Internet were considered classified documents.
While these databases are essential to finding and using records in Polish archives, researchers should always keep in mind that not all records are held by archives. Records might be in the institution that created them or in collections of libraries, museums and other institutions that preserve records. Still, using what is known should proceed discover-ing what is not known.

Digital Scans

The description below is from a Lutheran point of view. However, there are many Roman Catholic records, but very few in the area of interest to GGD members. Click here for a sample scan.

From: Rootsweb- PRUSSIA-ROOTS
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2013 17:44:01
Subject: Polish Archives uploaded the images
Well, the future has arrived. The website www.szukajwarchiwach.pl has loaded the promised images for March, but they changed the website. I can see improvements galore, but explanations are lacking. If you have started using this website on your own, then you have a head start on everyone else. But you will find things have changed since the explanations I have written previously.
The examples I am giving are for German Lutheran parishes in Russian Poland, since this is my main area of expertise. Records have been uploaded for the Prussian, Russian, and Austrian areas. The Lutheran records of Sompolno, for example, are now visible for 1878-1884 only. For these records, see http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/54/858/0/6.1/str/3/15#tabJednostki
I was hoping for later than that, but one must not be greedy, I suppose. Remember, the images are not indexed for an easy computer search. You need to know how to find the indices within each year. For this time period, everything is in Russian.

The inventory of what has been uploaded is at http://nac.gov.pl/files/D%27ASC1_02_2013v.3.pdf

You need to know which archive your parish is located at. For this, consult the Pradziad database at the Polish State Archives. http://baza.archiwa.gov.pl/sezam/pradziad.php?l=en
One needs to know the archive number (Konin, for example, is 54), and I have not found a list of these archive numbers yet.
Another set of records from Konin are births 1869-1879 for the Lutheran parish of Władysławów at http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/54/861/0/1.1#tabJednostki
Turek has birth marriages and deaths 1877-1884 at http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/54/859/0/6.1/str/3/15#tabJednostki
Some 30 years of Dąbie Lutheran has already been online for a while. Now we have 1826-1865. http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/54/852/0/6.1/str/3/15#tabJednostki
Kalisz is 11. So, if your interest is in Lutheran parish of Stawiszyn, then you may see images for 1878-1895, check out http://www.szukajwarchiwach.pl/11/754/0/1#tabJednostki
Again, the records are in Russian. I have just mentioned a few places. Again, you will need to examine the 40 page list to determine if anything from your parish has been posted online.

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