Start by gathering as much information as is possible concerning ancestors who emigrated from Poland – names, ages, hometowns, and names of parents.
- Older relatives are most likely to have useful information
- Reach out to more distant relatives (including those whom you identify through your genealogical research)
- Determine whether any relative has already done genealogical research
- Record your conversations, for future reference
Gather documents and information (from relatives, and through on-line research)
- Birth, marriage, and death records
- Passports, immigration, and naturalization (citizenship) records
- Census records
- Photographs of tombstones
- Old letters and postcards
- Old photographs
Analyze the information
- Birth, marriage, and death records may contain the names of both parents and the mother’s maiden name, as well as ages and, sometimes, hometowns or home countries.
- Passports and immigration and naturalization records may include the same information, and also birth towns and/or hometowns; immigration records may also provide the name and hometown of a close relative in the country of origin.
- Census records may provide the names, countries of origin, and year of immigration for entire families.
- Tombstones will typically include names and birth and death years. Traditional Jewish tombstones will usually state, in Hebrew, the given name of the father of the deceased (and, sometimes, the maiden name of a deceased woman).
- Obituaries will typically provide birth and death dates, and identify relatives.
- Old letters and postcards may identify relatives and hometowns.
- Old photographs may provide information as to the pictured persons, their relationship with the persons to whom the photographs were sent, and the place where the photographs were taken.
Look for your relatives in online family trees
- But always do your own independent research to confirm the trees’ accuracy.
Search for records on free and subscription databases:
- FamilySearch (formerly the Family History Library (FHL) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (informally known as the Mormon Church)) (membership required, but free)
- Ancestry (membership required)
- MyHeritage (membership required)
- For immigration to the United States from 1892 through 1957, the website of The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation (membership required, but free to search) (best searched through Steve Morse’s free One-Step Webpages, which also allow searches of many other databases).