Order FAQ
(Frequently Asked Questions)

Select a Topic from the Menu Below to Navigate to the Questions/Answers:

Researching Your Family
Obtaining Records Indexed from PSA Projects
Obtaining Records Indexed from LDS Microfilms
Ordering Records Not Yet Online
Information Contained in My Record
Payment
Translation of Records

Researching Your Family

Q: How do I find genealogical information about my family from (name of your town)?

A: JRI-Poland provides indices of Polish Jewish records for interested researchers to search and acquire. The organization does not provide specific research services. You should search the JRI-Poland database for your surnames to determine if your ancestors records have been indexed.

If you are a beginner to genealogical research, we advise you to go to our homepage and read all the webpages under "Learn." We also suggest you read the JewishGen FAQ.

If you search for your surname and insert the correct Gubernia or Wojewodztwa, you will see results for your town and nearby towns. To help find the correct Gubernia or Wojewodztwa, JRI-Poland has provided a table listing the Gubernia/Wojewodztwa and the major towns in each. The records in the JRI-Poland database are generally more than 100 years old. For more information about Vital Records in Poland, read the JewishGen Infofile by Warren Blatt.

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Obtaining Records Indexed from PSA Projects

Q: Now that the JRI-Poland Order Processing System has been terminated, how do I acquire these records?

A: The following is JRI-Poland's suggested procedure for ordering records directly from the PSA Regional Archives and branches.

Only records with index entries in search results tables with "PSA" in the title of the table should be ordered using this procedure. This table heading also contains the "Fond" and "Archive" where these records can be found. This information will be used to order the records.

  • Click here to search the JRI-Poland database.
  • Identify records of interest.
    • If the search results table with the record of interest includes "PSA" in the title, then you will have to obtain that record from the Polish State Archives.
    • The heading will show the Regional Archive Branch and the Fond Number.
    • If "PSA" does not appear in the heading, the record was likely indexed from LDS microfilms. See instructions for obtaining LDS records at http://www.jri-poland.org/psa/orderfaq.htm#obtaining.
  • Copy the following information for each record of interest or use this Order Form. Please use a separate form for each Archive branch.
    • Archive Branch and Fond Number
    • Town
    • District or Signature Number, if applicable. (All orders for the city of Warsaw records to the Warsaw Archive must include District Number. All orders to the AGAD Archive must include Signature Number.
    • Year of Record & Type of Record (B=birth, M=marriage, D=death)
    • AKT Number
    • Surname and Given Name (if no surname, use father's surname)
    • Please be sure to transcribe the information exactly as it is shown in the JRI-Poland database or Excel file
  • Write to the Regional Archive(s). Click here for a list of Archives with mailing and email addresses.
    • Email is preferable, but can use regular mail.
    • Write in English. Polish is preferable if you can.
    • Provide the above information for all the records you want.
    • Ask them to provide the full cost of acquiring copies of those records and the method of payment.
  • Regional Archive should respond within 30 days, usually sooner.
    • Response will likely be in Polish
      • AGAD has been responding in English
    • Obtain a translation. Use JewishGen ViewMate, if needed.
    • Response will identify all costs and the total cost
      • Cost of copies
      • Cost of postage
      • Bank Fees of the Archive
    • Total Cost will be quoted in Zloty and possibly US Dollars or Euro
    • Most Archives will request payment by bank (wire) transfer directly to their account
      • Fees from your bank could be $20 to $60 US
    • Your copies will be mailed once your payment is received
  • If you do not hear from the Regional Archives within 30 days, contact PSA Headquarters at ndap@archiwa.gov.pl.
  • JRI-Poland provides these index entries as a service. We believe these index entries to be mostly accurate. If mistakes in these index entries result in an order not being completely filled, JRI-Poland cannot and will not take responsibility.

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Obtaining Records Indexed from LDS Microfilms

Q: I found a vital record index in the JRI-Poland database that does not include "PSA" in the results table heading. How can I acquire this record?

A: Most record indices in search results tables where "PSA" is not found can be found in LDS (Mormon) microfilms. JRI-Poland website contains a list of LDS microfilms for Polish Jewish vital records. This will show the town, the type, and the film number.

The index entry shows the AKT number and many times the LDS Film number. With this information you can order the film and then copy the appropriate record at your nearest LDS Family History Center.

Or, you can order copies by mail from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or by email from Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv (see below).

Q: I live in Israel and there are no LDS Family History Centers. How can I see the microfilms and/or order copies of records?

A: Many Polish LDS microfilms are available through Beit Hatfutsot – The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Their website has a list of available films. If they have the film, you may order scans of any records in their collection by clicking on the link Order LDS Records. The service is also available for orders from outside Israel.

You can also order copies by mail from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

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Ordering Records Not Yet Online

Q: I am a qualified contributor for my town's PSA indexing project and have acquired the Excel file of index entries, but these indices are not yet online. Can I order these records?

A: If the data is not yet posted online, but is available on an Excel file, you can still order these records. If you are a qualified contributor for that town and have signed and sent in a JRI-Poland Database Sharing Agreement, then you will use a special form enclosed in the Excel file as a separate worksheet to create and send in your order. Or click here to access an order form.

To find out more about making a qualifying contribution and/or obtaining the form, please contact the Town Leader or Archive Coordinator for your town. The name and email address of the Town Leader and Archive Coordinator can be found in the Your Town section of our website.

Q: Can I order records from the Polish State Archives that have not yet been indexed?

A: As those records have not been indexed and cannot be identified with a year and AKT number, you do not have enough information to order. Only records indexed by a JRI-Poland / PSA indexing project and found in the JRI-Poland online database or by a qualified contributor in an Excel file have been identified and can be ordered.

However, if those records are at a PSA Archive or branch (see Your Town), you can request the Archive to perform research on your behalf. Consult the Archive website for further information. Click here for a list of Archives. Many of them have English language websites. Or, write to the Archive directly. Archive contact information can be found here.

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Information Contained in My Record

Q: I would like to know generally what type of information is found on the records beyond what is shown in the indices?

A: The JRI-Poland database contains record indices from four distinct areas that were once a part of Poland - the Russian Pale of Settlement, Russian Poland (also referred to as Congress Poland or the Kingdom of Poland), Austrian Galicia, and Prussian Poland.

Sample formats of records from Russian Poland can be found here. These examples are representative of the information you can expect from ordering a record. These examples are in Polish, but Russian Poland records during the period 1868-1917 were actually written in Russian Cyrillic script.

Galician records were written in either German or Polish and their format can be found here. This is a PDF file of the headings used for Galician records and requires Adobe Acrobat to view (click here to download Adobe Reader). Records before 1877 used various formats and usually contained less information. Starting in 1877, the forms used to record vital events were standardized.

Records for Bialystok and nearby towns formerly in Grodno Gubernia as well as Kremenets, Ukraine were written in Russian and sometimes also Hebrew. Samples of the heading can be found here.

The actual record will have more information than the index entry.

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Payment

Q: What forms of payment are accepted?

A: Each Regional Archive establishes what financial instruments are accepted as payment for record copies. In most cases, Regional Archives only accept direct bank-to-bank (wire) transfers, which in the U.S. cost between $20 and $60 per transaction.

Please do not send any funds until you receive a quote from the Archive explaining the amount to be paid and the method of payment. Do not send any funds in ways not identified by the regional Archive. Ask them first if "your suggested method of payment" is acceptable or will be acceptable with an additional fee (hopefully a fee lower than arranging for a wire transfer).

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Translation of Records

Q: How can I get my records translated?

A: JRI-Poland does not provide any translation services. Translation is the responsibility of the researcher. There are several excellent sources of translation help available to you if you require help reading Polish, Russian, or German language documents.

Books that can help in translation are:

  1. Polish Documents: Judith R. Frazin's A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents.

    Samples of documents accompanied by a discussion of how to interpret them can be found at the JRI-Poland Web site.

  2. Polish Documents: In Their Words: A Genealogists Translation Guide - Polish by Jonathan Shea and William F.

  3. Russian Documents: In Their Words: A Genealogists Translation Guide - Russian by Jonathan Shea and William F. Hoffman

For German translation aids, please refer to the German SIG website.

Many researchers who obtain records through the JRI-Poland PSA Order System use JewishGen ViewMate to post their records and request translations through the JRI-Poland Mailing List and/or the JewishGen Discussion Group.

Researchers can also use the JRI-Poland Mailing List and/or the JewishGen Discussion Group to ask other members to recommend Professional translators. Recommendations must be made privately.

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Surviving records less than 100 years old are held in the Civil Records Offices (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego) of each town.

For information on the 20th century records available for your town, visit the Routes to Roots Foundation website, CLICK ON THE 'SEARCH DATABASE' button (on the right side) and enter the town name. Look for the town name in the Repository/City column of the search results. There are typically links to lists of available births, marriage and death records for the town.

Note, however, the Routes to Roots Foundation database may indicate turn of the century records that have already been transferred to the appropriate branch of the Polish State Archives where they can be indexed for the JRI-Poland database.

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