Austrian Poland Jewish Records

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Austrian Poland, a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1772 until 1917, now in southern Poland and western Ukraine.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

History of the Jews in Galicia[edit | edit source]

  • To visit the Galicia Jewish Museum online click here.
    The Galicia Jewish Museum exists to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia, presenting Jewish history from a new perspective.

Division of Galicia (1918)[edit | edit source]

  • Galicia was divided between Poland and the Ukraine at the end of the First World War.
  • Use maps and gazetteers to determine whether your family's home city/town became a part of Poland or of the Ukraine.
  • Continue research by using resources on these two pages:
  • Note: For towns near the border between Poland and the Ukraine, pertinent records may have ended up in an archive now on the other side of the border.

Find the Town[edit | edit source]

In order to research your family in Austrian Poland, it is essential that you have identified the place where they came from. It is not enough to only know 'Poland,' 'Austria' or even 'Galicia;' you must know the shtetl, or town, they came from. For a great overview on ways to identify your Jewish ancestral hometown, see the free, virtual class Crossing the Ocean. In addition to research in the records of the country they immigrated to, you may also want to examine the following sources to help you determine possible town locations.

JewishGen Family Finder[edit | edit source]

The Family Finder is a database of both ancestral hometowns and surnames that have been researched by their descendants world wide. The Family Finder allows you to connect with others who are researching similar ancestors and origins and collaborate your research. To add the surnames and locations you are researching:

  • click on Modify (Edit your existing entries) or Enter (Add new entries).
  • Type in the surnames and/or locations of interest and hit Submit.
  • To search the database and see if you can connect to family members and other researchers, choose Search (Search the database) from the Town Finder home page. You can search for a surname and/or a town. Search results will appear in a chart format giving you the surname, town, country, and researcher information (often includes contact information) and the date they last logged into JewishGen.

Miriam Weiner's Surname Database[edit | edit source]

Using the Surname Database on Miriam Weiner's Routes to Roots Foundation website can help narrow down a more specific location for where individuals lived who shared your ancestor's surname.

  • Use the Standard Surname Database if you know your ancestor's given name, surname, or town name. This database is comprised of name lists from local historians and heads of Jewish communities, name lists from books, and name lists from various archives.
  • Use the OCR Surname Database (optical character recognition) to search for your ancestor's surname in either the Latin alphabet or in Cyrillic. This database is comprised of information from business directories, address calendars, telephone books, typed name lists, and name lists from books and from archives.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Once you have determined the town your ancestor came from, the next step is locating the town in a map or a gazetteer. This will help you to identify political boundaries, place names, alternate spellings, etc. Gazetteers and historical maps are especially useful for understanding boundary changes or finding communities that no longer exist.

JewishGen Gazetteer[edit | edit source]

  • The JewishGen Gazetteer is a useful online gazetteer for locations in Eastern Europe. Note that wild card searches are not supported. To view an entry page, click on the Jewish star to the left of the town name. Entry pages provide jurisdictions for before WWI, the interwar period, after WWII and modern-day. Alternate names and Yiddish and Russian spellings are also included. In the center, you'll find a map and a list of additional Jewish communities located nearby. Finally, under Additional Information and in the green box at the top, you'll find links to references and additional resources that may help you in your research.

Gesher Galicia Town Locator[edit | edit source]

  • The Gesher Galician Town Locator is a free online gazetteer for locations in Galicia. On the site, scroll down on the table to view all towns in Galicia, Austria as well as judicial/administrative districts and the location of the Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Greek Catholic centers. Their data comes from the year 1900. The list is organized alphabetically. You can also use the control find feature to help you locate your town quickly. This can be done by pressing the Ctrl (or Command if using a Mac) and F keys on your keyboard at the same time. Type your location in the box that appears on the screen (usually in the upper right hand corner) and press enter. Keep in mind that spellings used on the site may be different from the spellings you have, and so if you don't find it using a control find search, be sure to check the alphabetical list.

Gazetteer of Galicia[edit | edit source]

  • The Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia by Brian J. Lenius is an excellent gazetteer for research in Galicia. It identifies Jewish record jurisdictions and whether the town is now located in modern-day Poland or Ukraine. This book is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and is not accessible online. See the catalog entry here for more information. Check WorldCat for availability in a library near you.

Miriam Weiner Maps[edit | edit source]

Gesher Galicia Map Room[edit | edit source]

Gesher Galicia's Digital Map Room is a collection of maps from the former Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. The site contains regional maps as well as cadastral maps, or land maps that show the boundaries and ownership of land parcels. Many of their maps are full color and very high quality. Be sure to also explore the Maps tab of the Gesher Galicia website for additional resources.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Austrian laws allowed Jews to maintain registers under Catholic supervision from 1789, but most Jewish registers date from the 1830s or later. Jewish records were not given the status of official legal documents in Austria until 1868.

All Galicia Database (indexed records)[edit | edit source]

The All Galicia Database is home to over 720,000 free, indexed records. Clicking on a result will pull up additional information including a record citation which lets you know where the original record came from.

JRI Poland (indexed records)[edit | edit source]

JRI-Poland has indexed over 6.1 million Jewish birth, marriage, and death records from current and former territories of Poland. Search the free database using information such as surname, given name, or any field. Search results are displayed according to historical region (gubernia, wojewodztwo, etc.). For additional help in searching the database see the article, How to Search Our Database. You may also wish to view the free, virtual class Doing Jewish Research in Poland Records to find more information about the resources available through JRI-Poland.

Indexes were taken from a variety of different places including FamilySearch microfilms, digital images housed on the Polish State Archives and other genealogical/archival sites, or from originals located in Poland.

  • To locate original images on FamilySearch using a microfilm number, look for a number found in the microfilm column (usually the last column on the right). If there is not a blue hyperlink on the number, copy the microfilm number and then go to the FamilySearch Catalog. Paste the microfilm number in the Film/Fiche Number box and select Search (you may need to remove commas). One, or several result may appear. Look for a result with the the Author as the town listed on JRI-Poland. Scroll down to the portion of the page entitled Film/Digital Notes. Look for your film number in the Film Column. Pay attention to the item number (if one is listed). Next, look in the Format column.
    • A camera icon indicates the digital images of the records are accessible online. Click on the camera and then locate the correct item number within the film.
    • A camera icon with a key indicates that the item has viewing restrictions and may be accessible at a Family History Center or on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. To locate a Family History Center near you, click here.
    • A magnifying glass indicates that at least a portion of the film has been indexed. Click on the magnifying glass to search through the indexes.
    • A wheel icon indicates that the item has viewing restrictions and is only accessible on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • To locate original images on the Polish State Archives
  • To locate additional source information scroll down to the bottom of your search page on JRI-Poland to the Datafile section. Locate the collection of interest from the index and then look at the final column, LDS films/contact information.

JewishGen Poland Database (indexed records)[edit | edit source]

The JewishGen Poland database includes indexes of vital records from Kraków, Poland including Kazimierz and Podgórze. Many of the original records are accessible through the Polish State Archive's website, Szukaj w Archiwach. To help you locate links to online images, use the Jewish Krakow Genealogical Documents website.

For more information about JewishGen and some tips on how to use the website, try the free RootsTech class, Intro to JewishGen.org and Jewish Genealogy. The class discusses common challenges that people encounter when researching their family history, and how JewishGen can help.

Central Archives of Historical Records (AGAD) (digital images or archival references)[edit | edit source]

AGAD contains many Jewish metrical records (birth, marriage, and death), index books, and additional records from the voivodeships of Lwów, Stanisławów and Tarnopol. Many of these metrical records have been scanned and are available as digital images. For an inventory of records available by location, record, type and years, click here and here. The inventory links to the digital images on AGAD, as well as whether or not the record has been indexed by another organization.

Polish State Archives (digital images or archival references)[edit | edit source]

The Polish archive system consists of many regional archives throughout Poland which are under the umbrella of the main Polish State Archive in Warsaw. Their website incorporates the holdings of all regional archives to help users find and locate records and documents. Note that some records are digitized and accessible online, while other records simply provide an inventory and an indication of which archive they are presently stored in. To access the new version of the Polish State Archives, click here. To access the old version of the Polish State Archives website, click here. To learn how to use the website, see the Szukaj w Archiwach - The Polish State Archives Website "How to" Guide.

FamilySearch (digital images)[edit | edit source]

There may also be records available through FamilySearch. To find records for your location, go to the FamilySearch Catalog. In the place box, type in the name of your town and click the appropriate entry from the drop-down box. Keep in mind that records are often listed using multiple levels of jurisdictions from largest (country) to smallest (town), as well as varying jurisdictions over time.

Alternatively, you can click here to access catalog entries for Poland. Click on Places within Poland and a list of places will appear. Click on your desired location(s). A list of record topics will then appear. Jewish records are most commonly catalogued under the headings Jewish Records or Jewish History. You may also find record under Church Records (for Jews recorded in records of other denominations), Civil Registration, Concentration Camps, Genealogy, Holocaust, and Minorities.

To open a topic, click on it and then a list of the records included in that topic will appear. Click on the blue links to view specific record titles. As you scroll down on the catalog entry page, look for the Film/Digital Notes section. The column on the left explains the types of records/years that are contained on the film. The final Format column indicates accessibility.

  • A magnifying glass indicates that at least part of the film is indexed, and clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index.
  • A camera indicates records are available online in a digital format.
  • A camera with a key on top means the record is viewable digitally but with certain restrictions that may mean the record can only be viewed at a Family History Center, FamilySearch affiliate library, or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Take a look at the Family History Center Finder to discover a location near you.
  • A wheel icon indicates the record is only available on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

For more information about using FamilySearch in your research, see the class Using FamilySearch for Jewish Research from RootsTech.

Holocaust[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

  • Cmentarze Zydowskie w Polsce includes information about Polish cemeteries. some cemeteries include photos or extractions of information from tombstones.

Polish Aliyah Passports[edit | edit source]

In the 1930s, thousands of Polish Jews left Europe and traveled to what was then British Mandate Palestine. The passports of those Polish emigrants have been preserved in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. The collection consists of 3,754 Polish passports that include photos and signatures, and information about emigration route. They also include date/place of birth, last place of residence, occupation, marital status, and information about children. JRI Poland has extracted the surnames, along with the towns of births and residence that apply to those surnames. The list of Jewish surnames can be found here. Copies of the passports should be ordered from the archives of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute. Click here for more information about ordering an original and to see examples of passport scans.

Historical Photos[edit | edit source]

The Image Database on Miriam Weiner's website contains photographs and postcard views of many towns and cities throughout Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Lithuania, Poland, and other select countries dating back to the early 1900s. These include pre-WWI and current town views, photos of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, and Holocaust memorials. Even if you are unable to find a picture of your ancestor's town, it may still be interesting to see what other towns in the area looked like, which will allow you to a get a feel of what life may have been like for your ancestor.

Classes and Research Guides[edit | edit source]

In addition to the information found on this Wiki page, you may wish to further your learning by viewing some of these free classes and research guides! Be sure to check out JewishGen's Education Center as well for additional learning aids.

Immigration and Finding the Hometown[edit | edit source]

  • Poland and Galicia Jewish Research: Part 1
    • A free, virtual, FamilySearch Learning center class that explores prerequisites for finding Jewish ancestors in Poland and Galicia knowing original family and personal names, knowing the town of origin and having enough family dates and relationships to positively identify ancestors in old-world record sets.

Changing Boundaries and Jurisdictions[edit | edit source]

Research in Austrian Poland[edit | edit source]

  • Poland and Galicia Jewish Research: Part 2
    • A free, virtual, FamilySearch Learning Center class that explores methods for searching indexes and record sets from Poland and Galicia. Tools discussed include JewishGen.org, szukajwarchiwach.pl, Genealodzy.org, YadVashem.org and other Jewish and civil indexed or browse-only records.
  • Doing Jewish Research in Poland Records
    • A free, virtual, Roots Tech class that provides short introduction to Jewish Records Indexing-Poland , the home of Jewish records of Poland on the Internet. The video provides an overview of the ongoing building of the largest country-based collection of Jewish genealogical records in Eastern Europe.

Additional Records and Finding Aids/Record Inventories[edit | edit source]

In many cases, records are not available online. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to visit or contact an archive. The sites below will help you determine what kind of records exist in various archives.

Miriam Weiner Routes to Roots Foundation[edit | edit source]

Use the Archive Database to locate what records exist for your ancestor's town, and where to find them. Search for the name of your ancestor's locality, and the database will provide results for known surviving records from that location, and where the records are held. (Remember to adjust the search criteria for Soundex options or spelling variations).

This database contains documents such as army/recruit lists, family lists and census records, Jewish vital records (birth, marriage, death, divorce), immigration documents, voter and tax lists, property and notary records, Holocaust documents, police files, and pogrom documents (school records, occupation lists, local government and hospital records).

  • See Routes to Roots Foundation and hover over Poland for a Genealogical and Family History guide to Jewish and civil records in Eastern Europe.

Gesher Galicia Inventories[edit | edit source]

Inventories available through Gesher Galicia can help you locate records in both Polish and Ukrainian archives.

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]