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
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
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:
- Town name. Enter the name of the town where the parish, the civil
registration office or the religious com-munity was located. Enter either
the current or former name of the town in Polish, in addition to the former
name of the village.
- Commune. Enter the name of the commune in which the town is located,
or the county on the territory of which it was located before the war.
- Province. Select the name of the province within the 1975–98
or 1918–39 borders.A drop
facilitates the name selection.
- Denomination or religion. Select the denomination or religion
that created the record using the drop-down menu rather than typing text in
- Record type. Select the type of event. While the record types are
listed in Polish, with the help of an online dictionary, a researcher can
determine the English equivalent.
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
- Name of Town. Searches for any jurisdiction with that name. For
instance, a search for Lublin, will yield entries for the province, the
district, and the place itself.
- Record Title (if known). Once a record is found, a researcher may be
able to retrieve it again more easily by remembering and searching by the
title. Examples of titles include:
Symbol: Symbol is the title of the search box as is the case for Name of
Town and Record Title above. There is a
no drop-down list which can be
understood by referring to the Searching Guidelines page (link in the left
hand column of the search page). The record types represented by the symbols
are listed the page you retrieve when you click on this link.
- Domowa Książka Meldunkowa (home registration books)
- Księgi Ludnosci Stałej (books of permanent residents)
- Księgi/Spis Ludności (books of residents)
- Rejestr Mieszkańców (register of residents
- Lista Składek (fee books)
SEZAM 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.
- Archive. Select from the drop-down list to avoid typing Polish text.
If no specific archive is selected, the search will include all archives.
- Number of Fond. The fond number is valuable if the researcher has
found this number in another database searches or is returning to a
description found previously.
- Title of Fond/Name of Creator. Enter all or a portion of the title
of the fond or the name of the institution that created the records, using a
minimum of two characters.
- Category/Sub-category. Select the category from a drop-down list in
Polish. An online bilingual dictionary can help to determine the terms’
meanings. Categories include, for example, civil registers, military
records, notarial records, culture, and education for example.
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
The following are search elements.
Check to see if an inventory for a specific archive has been included in the
- Select the archive of interest from the drop-down menu.
- Initiate a search.
results, all inventories for that archive are listed in numerical order by
the inventory, click on inventory in the right-hand column.
Search for materials by terms at any level of description, for example,
fond, series, subseries, item title and so forth.
of the fond (collection)
- Title of the series or subseries (subdivisions of collection)
- c. Title
of an item
- d. Any
name, place, or subject that may have been used describing the
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Turek has birth marriages and deaths 1877-1884 at
Some 30 years of Dąbie Lutheran has already been online for a while.
Now we have 1826-1865.
Kalisz is 11. So, if your interest is in Lutheran parish of Stawiszyn, then
you may see images for 1878-1895, check out
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.