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Jewish Records Indexing - Poland


Patronymic Town Files

To provide researchers with the opportunity for more detailed study of the ‘patronymic’ years, JRI-Poland volunteers will be creating individual town files with FULL extracts from these records. This, of course, will be far more detailed information than is contained in JRI-Poland indices. Each town file will typically contain those years (i.e. 1808-1825) where no surnames appear. In some cases, there will be records in later years.

In the earlier records (1808-1817) the witnesses are most often relatives, and the relationship is stated in the record. Therefore for those records, it would be beneficial to extract this information on to the file. In later records, the witnesses were more often-standard community functionaries -- the same two men witnessing every registration. In the later case, it is not as important to extract the names of the witnesses.


Each town file will have a contact person ("Patronymic File Coordinator") who will be responsible for maintaining that file and hopefully collecting information from their fellow researchers to identify probable surnames. These "conjectural surnames" so identified will be noted by square brackets. E.g. [TOBIASZ].

Contributing your Patronymic Town File

In addition to the mixed Jewish and Catholic records for the pre-1825 period, there are hundreds of villages for which there are no post-1825 Jewish records but for which there are mixed records. Many of these are identified with a * in the LDS Film Inventory on the JRI-Poland web site. (See: "More about Patronymic Records" below.) Researchers are encouraged to search for Jewish entries in the records of all towns in the proximity of the town of prime focus.

For example, there are pre-1825 Jewish entries in the Catholic civil records of Ostrów Mazowiecka. But researchers with an interest in the town should also be examining the Jewish entries in the mixed records from surrounding villages such as Jasienica and Poreba which do NOT have later Jewish vital records.

It is expected that Shtetl CO-OPs will be the first groups to create Town Files for their pre-surname records. Individual researchers are encouraged to contribute the work they have done in extracting the pre-surname records for their towns and villages of interest.

Researching Patronymic Town Files

Town Files for patronymic records will be linked from   the Database Contents page. Such files will be noted by the words "patronymic records" below the town name.

More about Patronymic Records

During the period 1808-1825, mixed Catholic / Protestant / Jewish records exist only for localities that were within the Kingdom of Poland (Congress Poland), the semi-autonomous region under Russian rule. The area that was the Kingdom of Poland comprises less that half of today's Poland. Jewish registrations occur only in the Roman Catholic vital record civil transcripts, not in parish registers. These record-keeping practices apply only to Congress Poland, and do not apply to areas now in Poland that were ruled by Austria (Galicia), Prussia (Posen, East and West Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Silesia), and those areas in the Russian Pale of Settlement (the Bialystok area).

Furthermore, the beginning date for civil registration in the Duchy of Warsaw is 1808; it began in 1810 in those areas Napoleon conquered from Austria in 1809 (former West Galicia; then the departments of Krakow, Sandomierz, and Lublin; which later became Kielce, Radom, Siedlce and Lublin gubernias).

For more details, see the article "Vital Records in Poland - A Primer" in Kielce-Radom SIG Journal, Volume I, Number 2 (Spring 1997), pages 3-7; a version is available online as a JewishGen InfoFile.

Much more information about the interpretation and use of these pre-1826 Napoleaonic vital records can be found in several articles written by Lauren Davis for the Kielce-Radom SIG Journal. See http://www.jewishgen.org/krsig/YearOne.html, which refers to two online articles: "The Power of Extracts" and "Don't Let a Little Extraction Scare You".


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Last Update: May 12, 2000
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