Find your Ancestors in Poland - Search by Surname and Province
Here we start a series of articles about Polish genealogy and heraldry. First we will explain how to find people with a given surname in Poland, later we will focus on heraldry links and coat of arms, then we will finish with a general article about the search for your ancestors in Poland, where and how.
~DICTIONARY OF SURNAMES IN POLAND~~~SŁOWNIK NAZWISK POLSKICH~~~DICTIONARY OF SURNAMES IN POLAND~
The most important feature that should help you is the surnames search in Poland. The search is based on the "Dictionary of Surnames Currently Used in Poland" edited by Professor Kazimierz Rymut. It was compiled from a 1990 so-called PESEL database (based on tax records) maintained by a Polish government agency, with data on about 94% of the population of Poland in that year.
You can search by name and also by province according to the administrative division of Poland that was valid at that time. Before 1998, Poland was divided into 49 provinces; today there are 16 provinces.
Add a last name you are searching for to the search of Dr. Rymut's database by pressing szukaj.
Although all the information on this website is in Polish, there are many genealogical sites explaining in great detail in English how to do a search and how to read the records. An excellent explanation is given by William "Fred" Hoffman in his newsletter GenDobry at the PolishRoots website.
Remember that you can replace an unknown letter or Polish character by the so-called wild card, denoted by "*", not by "~". Remember also that every ending which contains "n", for instance Zielinski - contains in reality the Polish character "ń ", so it should be searched as Zieliński.
To make your life simpler - below is a Polish alphabet - just copy and paste a character (you do not need a capital letter at the beginning) if you think there may be any Polish characters in your ancestor's name. If you cannot see the Polish characters below, be sure to change the Character Encoding in your browser, as explained at the start of this article.
Polish First Names by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab
I recommend the book about Polish genealogy written by Rosemary A. Chorzempa, entitled:
Check also The Rough Guide to Poland by Mark Salter, Jonathan Bousfield
Here are links to the other articles in this series: