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What types of records can be found in the database for each region?

Record-keeping varied in the different regions for which JRI-Poland has indices or extracts of records. 

  • Congress Poland

    • Birth, marriage and death (BMD) records:
      • Civil BMD records were first kept starting in 1808 or 1810, as a result of the adoption of the Napoleonic Code in the Duchy of Warsaw.
      • Prior to 1826, BMD records for all religions were kept in a single set of books for a town; beginning in 1826, Jewish BMD records were kept in a separate set of books.
      • From 1808 through 1867 and after World War I, BMD records were kept in the Polish language; from 1868 through World War I, BMD records were kept in the Russian language. In some areas during World War I, records were kept in the German language (and, sometimes, also in the Polish language).  
      • BMD records were kept on a town-by-town basis by clerks (sometimes government officials, but sometimes clergy designated to act on behalf of the government).
      • Births, marriages, and deaths from small villages and rural areas were recorded in a nearby larger town.
    • Entire families are listed on some records, including Books of Residents, census records, and registration cards.
    • There are some religious records, including cemetery information (cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions), and lists of charitable contributions.
    • There are Holocaust-era records, including ghetto lists and death records, and post-war court and legal announcements in official newspapers (Monitor Polski).
    • There are miscellaneous records, including army draft lists, notarial documents, school records, passports, and BMD announcements from Polish newspapers.
  • Galicia

      • Birth, marriage and death (BMD) records:
        • Prior to 1877, Jewish record keeping in Galicia was not standardized, and BMD records from Galicia sometimes had very limited information.
        • Civil BMD records followed the same format from 1877 through World War II.
        • Civil BMD records were typically kept in columnar format in metrical books – registers with detailed information about the events.  
        • Prior to World War I, while Galicia was under Austrian rule, civil BMD records were often kept in German, but registrars had the option of recording the record, other than names and towns, in either German or Polish.
        • After World War I, the civil BMD records from the portions of Galicia that became part of Poland were written entirely in Polish.
      • There are some cemetery records.
  • Prussia

      • Birth, marriage and death (BMD) records:
        • From 1812 through 1847, civil BMD records were recorded by town magistrates (mayors) and county councils, in tabular registers without a standard format.
        • From 1847 through 1874, civil BMD records were recorded by county courts, in a narrative format like that used in Congress Poland.
        • From 1874 through World War II, civil BMD records were recorded on standardized printed forms.
        • Records were kept in German through World War I; after World War I, records were kept in Polish in the former Prussian provinces that had become part of Poland.
      • There are some cemetery records.
      • There are address lists and departure and arrival lists.
  • Russian Pale

      • Birth, marriage and death (BMD) records:
        • Civil BMD records followed the same format from 1835 through World War II.
        • Civil BMD records were typically kept in columnar format in metrical books – registers with detailed information about the events.  
        • Prior to World War I, the civil BMD records were typically written in both Russian and Hebrew (but some records were written in Russian only).
        • After World War I, the civil BMD records were written entirely in Russian.
      • There are some revision lists – censuses of entire families.
Updated on November 21, 2020

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