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The Polish Monitor (Monitor Polski)
The Government Gazette of the Republic of Poland
A new resource for documenting and tracing Jews of Poland
Documenting those who perished in the Holocaust and locating those from our families or towns who survived are central to Jewish genealogical research. In our quest to learn the fate of those who did not survive or find those who did, Jewish Records Indexing-Poland is constantly making an effort to find new materials that will help researchers.
JRI - Poland has learned of an important new resource -- Monitor Polski (Polish Monitor) which contains court and legal announcements -- and is in the process of creating a searchable index to enable researchers to tap into this extensive source of pre- and post-war information.
The index to the court announcements is being integrated into the JRI-Poland on-line database.
Search results will include the name and location of the court, the edition and page number of the Monitor Polski and the court document number. In order to obtain results from the Monitor Polski file, a researcher must search the entire database, and not limit the search by province or gubernia. You may search for results by surname or town.
The Monitor Polski was established in 1918 as the official legislative paper of the new Republic of Poland. From September to December 1939, the government section was published in exile in France. The gazette was resumed in 1945. Since 1950, it has been published by the office of the Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council of Ministers) to announce legislation of the Parliament (Sejm). The Polish Monitor has traditionally consisted of two sections, the governmental and non-governmental. The first included orders and decrees and the latter contained varied material.
Survivor Proclamations and Family Searches
In the years 1946-1948 (inclusive) motions to the courts for the initial official recognition of a person's death were filed and published as court announcements. This type of court procedure related to all citizens of Poland, regardless of religion, and was filed on a regular basis. Motions were often made by surviving relatives, friends or neighbors.
Because of the Holocaust, in the case of Polish citizens with Jewish roots, there were many such motions and they often dealt with entire families. If available, full information about the subject person was provided. It included the date and place of birth, place of residence (town, but not street address), names of parents and maiden names of married women. Information about probable cause of death of the individual who was subject of the court proceeding was also published. The massive size of this resource, as well as the very detailed information within each file, makes it a unique source for genealogical research.
After 50 years, it is official policy for the court files with archival value (Category A) to be moved to the branch of the Polish State Archives in the district in which the court is located. Files without archival value (Category B) are destroyed after a certain number of years. The official name for these fonds in Polish State Archive branches is Sąd Grodzki lub Sad Okręgowy. (Translation: Town Courts or District Courts. "District courts" applied to those cases that were appealed.)
Legal, Mortgage and Inheritance Announcements
Proceedings pertaining to inheritance and mortgage regulations in the years of 1946-1947 were widespread and published as court announcements. Inheritance proceedings provide information such as date of death (year, month, and day), address of the property and its area. The mortgage regulatory proceedings provide only the name of the former owner and the address of the property (not necessarily the same as the address of the owner's residence.)
From 1949 to 1953 (inclusive) material pertaining to takeover of private enterprises by the Communist state, based on the January 3, 1946 legislation, can be found in the Monitor. Lists were organized by the provinces (wojew\ dztwo), in alphabetical order based on firms' names. The information included first and last name of the owner, name of the firm and its location.
Preliminary reviews of the pre-war volumes of The Polish Monitor have also resulted in finding information that could be useful in genealogical research. This includes announcements of registration of associations, which contain names of the organizations, dates of registration, names of the founding members as well as location and goals of the organizations. The trade register provides information on newly established businesses, including date of registration, names of companies and their locations. In the context of the 1949-1953 records, it is possible to trace the continuity of enterprises.
Columns pertaining to missing documents and surname changes may also prove to be very useful in tracing some families.
Surname and Town Lists
There are more than 8400 different surnames represented in the first group of entries.
Click here for a list of all SURNAMES extracted from the Monitor Polksi entries.
Entries include references to towns that are part of Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Romania. Examples are: Lodz, Mogilev, Lwow. There are even references to Holland, America and Yugoslavia. Click here for a list of all towns and villages mentioned in the Monitor Polski.
JRI-Poland will also be correlating each surname to the towns of birth and residence associated with that SURNAME in the file. An announcement will be made on the JRI-Poland mailing list when this feature is available. To subscribe to the mailing list, click here.
The indexing project
The first objective of JRI-Poland is to index the court announcements for the post-war years relating to Holocaust events. Funds permitting, indexing will be expanded to include other years and types of information. JRI-Poland has contracted with a researcher in Poland to create an expanded index of the court announcements. A typical entry will appear as follows:
(1) Vol/Pg/Yr Public Announcements (2) City court and doc. reference number
Obtaining additional information
A researcher who has found family information in the Monitor Polski indices in the JRI-Poland database may write to the branch of the Polish State Archives holding the records of the court. An order form, in Polish, will be provided for this purpose. JRI-Poland is in the process of developing finding aids to help in matching the court citation to the appropriate Archive branch holding the records.
Because of 100-year Polish privacy laws, researchers requesting legal dossiers for possible family members may be requested to provide additional information for verification.
Other Holocaust research resources
JRI-Poland will be sharing the index to the court announcements with Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington; and the Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw. This will enable visitors to these institutions to access this information, and to seek the assistance of resident experts to help them immediately follow up on discoveries through research of other available holdings.
Funding of the Monitor Polski indexing project
Because of the ongoing nature of this project and the unknown number of entries, no specific fundraising target has been set. Data will be released by year as it has been funded.
Unlike the principal source of data of JRI-Poland, indices to vital records created on a town-by-town basis, information from the Monitor Polski will be for individuals from many towns. Therefore, all researchers with an interest in Jewish families of Poland are urged to contribute to this project. Any donation, no matter how small, will be welcomed and will help further the goal of completing this important initiative.
Contributions should be made to Jewish Records Indexing - Poland. Please specify "For the Monitor Polski project" on your check or other correspondence. Click here [VISA / MasterCard logo] for instructions on how to make a contribution.
For further information, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copies of editions of Monitor Polski
Researchers with an interest in obtaining photocopies of pages from Monitor Polski may obtain them from the Library of Congress. The search results for each entry will include the edition and page number of the Monitor Polski.