Silesian (Śląskie) Voivodeship, Poland Genealogy

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Silesian Voivodeship

Guide to Silesian (Śląskie) Voivodeship ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

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Historical Geography[edit | edit source]

  • Silesian Voivodeship is a voivodeship or province in southern Poland.
  • Despite the Silesian Voivodeship's name, most of the historic Germanic Silesia region lies outside the present Silesian Voivodeship. That was divided among Lubusz, Lower Silesian, and Opole Voivodeships.
  • In the 18th century, territories that later became part of the modern Polish regions of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Subcarpathian Voivodeship and Silesian Voivodeship were added to Galicia, which became part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until 1918.
  • In 1967, modern Silesian Voivodeship was Katowice and Kraków Voivodeshops.

Source: Silesian Voivodeship

Name Changes and Locating Records[edit | edit source]

Information icon.pngBecause of the history of changing geography, records for different parts of Silesia Voivodeship are found in the FamilySearch system under "Katowice, Poland", and "Krakow, Poland."

Maps[edit | edit source]

Silesian (Śląskie) Voivodeship Within Poland

Slaskie (EE,E NN,N).png

In 1967, the voivodeship of Katowice and part of Kraków Voivodeship made up the modern territory of Silesian Voivodeship. Use Katowice and Kraków Voivodeships when looking for records in the FamilySearch Catalog.
SzczecinKoszalinGdańskBydgoszczPoznańZielona GóraWrocławOpoleKatowiceKrakówRzeszówKielceLublinWarszawaLódźBiałystokOlsztynPoland 1967 map.png


Counties (Powiat) of Silesian (Śląskie) Voivodeship

1024px-Śląskie administracja.svg.png

Civil Registration and Church Records[edit | edit source]

Almost all of the research you do will be in civil registration (government birth, marriage, and death records) and church records (baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records). To understand these records better study the articles: Poland Church Records and Poland Civil Registration.

1. You will find birth, marriage, and death records:
  • in online databases
  • in microfilmed records of the FamilySearch collections
  • by writing to request searches
  • from State archives where records have been deposited
  • from church archives where records have been deposited
  • from local civil registration offices
  • from local parish churches
2. To find information on town of origin for U.S. immigrants from Poland, use the Wiki article Poland Locating Town of Origin.
3. You will need to determine the both the Polish and German name of the town your Polish ancestors lived in.
  • If the town was in the area of Poland once controlled by Russia or Austria, look it up in Skorowidz Gazetteer Online to find the parishes of various religions. Here are the instructions. Use the second option, "Viewing anywhere via the Digital Library of Wielkopolska".
  • To see a map of the town, use mapa.szukacz. Enter the town name in the "place" field in the right sidebar and click "Show". Province, area, commune, and postal code will appear at the bottom of the right sidebar.

Finding Aids[edit | edit source]

Poland finding aids have been created by a variety of state, church, society, and private organizations. Their goal is to inform what records exist and the repositories that hold them. Each finding aid has a different focus--a particular religion or geographical area or archive or collection. Be sure to search all that apply to your ancestors. Remember that churches often produced civil registration records. The church records might have been destroyed, but copies had been sent to the government and still exist. So we search for both church records and civil registration records.

1. Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Historical Records[edit | edit source]

Jewish Records[edit | edit source]

Some areas of Poland were predominantly Jewish settlements.

Because churches were frequently expected to act as civil registrars, Jewish births, marriages, and deaths can appear in Catholic records.

2. Microfilms and Digitized Records: The FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

  • Many church records have been microfilmed and can be viewed at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eventually, microfilmed records will all be digitized and available online. The records you need might have been digitized now. Check back from time to time to see if they have become available.
  • The FamilySearch Catalog is organized by the voivodeships as they existed in 1967. There are maps on the Poland Genealogy main page comparing those jurisdictions with the modern jurisdictions. In 1967, most of Silesia voivodeship was known as Katowice voivodeship. A small area in the southeast belonged to Kraków voivodeship. A few small areas in the west once belonged to German (Prussian/Preusssen) Silesia (Schlesien) and will be found there under German names.
  • Use the gazetteer, Kartenmeister - German/Polish Place Name Conversion to find the name of your town in both languages if necessary.

To search the catalog:

a. Click on the records of Poland, Katowice or records of Poland, Kraków or records of Austria Galizien. There will be a lot of overlapping in the catalog.
b. Click on Places within Poland, Katowice or Places within Poland, Kraków or Places within Austria, Galizien, and a list of towns will appear. Check each one until you find your town
c. Click on your town.
d. Click on the "Civil registration" or "church records" topic, if available. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. Choose the correct record type and time period for your ancestor.
For records in German: "Geburten" are births. Heiraten are marriages. "Verstorbene" or Toten are deaths.
For records in Polish: Akta urodzeń are births. Akta chrzest are christenings/baptisms. Akta małżeństw are marriages. Akta zgonów are deaths.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the microfilm is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

3. Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Poland Letter Writing Guide[edit | edit source]

This letter writing guide will enable you to write in the Polish language to parish churches and church and government archives: Poland Letter Writing Guide. Generally, the people you wrie to will appreciate your effort to use Polish and cooperate more readily.

Civil Registration Office Address[edit | edit source]

Write to the local civil registration office for records after 1900. Records prior to 1900 will probably be in the state archives. Records in the last 100 years will have some privacy restrictions where you will have to prove your relationship and/or the death of the person the certificate reports.

1. Use mapa.szukacz.
Enter the town name in the "place" field
in the right sidebar and click "Show".

Dynow1.png

2. Find the commune

at the bottom of the right sidebar.

Dynow2.png

3. Google: urzad stanu cywilnego
with the name of the commune.

Dynow3.png

4. From the list of hits,
find the official page of the
URC (urzad stanu cywilnego).
Click on the link.

Dynow4.png

5. Find the e-mail address.

Dynow6.png

6. Use the Poland Letter Writing Guide
to write an email
requesting the record.

State Archives Addresses[edit | edit source]

  • PRADZIAD This website can be searched by location (town or parish). It will then tell you which archives hold what records for the location. On the entry for the records you want, click on "More" at the far right, and it will give you the contact information for the archive.

Church: Parish Addresses[edit | edit source]



Church Diocese Archives Addresses[edit | edit source]

See the Catholic Diocese map on the Poland Church Records page. Use The Catholic Directory, Poland to find the diocese for your town. Click on "View Full Listing" for your parish.

Bielsko–Żywiec Diocese[edit | edit source]

No archives.

Częstochowa Archdiocese[edit | edit source]

Archives of the Archdiocese of Częstochowa
ul. St. Barbara 41
42-225 Częstochowa
Poland

phone: +48 34 365 12 15
e-mail: aaczwp@genealodzy.Czestochowa.
en

Katowice Archdiocese[edit | edit source]

Archdiocesan Archives of Katowice
Skr. 206
40-950 Katowice
Poland

e-mail: archiwum@archidiecezjakatowicka.pl
phone: +48 32 201 75 51 ext. 551 and +48 519 546 114 ; +48 519 546 115

Gliwice Diocese[edit | edit source]

Archives of the Gliwice Diocese ul. Łużycka 1, postage 196
44-100 Gliwice
Poland

tel. 32 / 230-71-42.
E-mail: biuro@silesia-pro-europa.gliwice.pl

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Word Lists[edit | edit source]

The language of the records depends on the controlling government. Small southern parts of Silesia Voivodeship were part of Austria until 1918, and church records are in Latin. The parts of Poland which belonged to Prussia (Germany) used German until they were ceded back to Poland (after World War I or II). After 1918, all the records are in Polish.

Word-by-Word Reading Aids[edit | edit source]

How-to Guides[edit | edit source]

Russian and Polish Transliteration Tools[edit | edit source]

Lessons[edit | edit source]

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

For records before 1874, you will use just church records. For records from 1 October 1874 on, civil registration records will be your main source, supplemented by church records, if possible. In the very southern-most part, which was part of Austrian Poland, civil registration is not available until 1918. Study maps A and C on the Poland Genealogy main page to see if your town lies in this region.

  • Search for the relative or ancestor you selected. When you find his birth record, search for the births of his brothers and sisters.
  • Next, search for the marriage of his parents. The marriage record will have information that will often help you find the birth records of the parents.
  • You can estimate the ages of the parents and determine a birth year to search for their birth records.
  • Search the death registers for all known family members.
  • Repeat this process for both the father and the mother, starting with their birth records, then their siblings' births, then their parents' marriages, and so on.
  • If earlier generations (parents, grandparents, etc.) do not appear in the records, search neighboring parishes.