2014 Advancing Your Polish Genealogy: 300 Years of Records

Advancing Your Polish Genealogy: 300 Years of Records

Course available only in Orchard Lake, Michigan, August 3-8, 2014

Course Coordinator: Ceil Wendt Jensen, MA
Course Instructors for this advanced course also include: Genia Gorecki, Genealogy Roadshow;  PARI Co-Director Dr. Hal Learman;  visiting Polish archivist Tomasz Szpil, from Łódź, Poland; along with Robert Sliwinski, M.S.; and Patricia Yocum, MLS.

The Polish track will continue to advance your research and expand your knowledge of resources in Poland. Prerequisites for this course are to identify and bring copies of the U.S. census records, ship manifests, naturalization papers, and WWI and World War II Draft registrations for your target family. Please register for a free FamilySearch online account, and bring your personal email log in and password. We’ll cover finding your ancestors’ parish and civil registration records in Poland and explore the holding of regional Polish archives. The course wraps up with a discussion on the usefulness of DNA evidence.
The teaching team will dispel the myths that records were destroyed during the world wars and that language barriers make Polish research difficult. They will also give examples and suggestions on how to use advanced records, databases, and archives.

SEE LECTURE DETAILS below following time grid.

Monday  Aug 4
Tuesday  Aug 5
Wednesday  Aug 6
Thursday Aug 7
Friday Aug  8
8:30 am
Polish History
Polish Panorama
Eugenia Gorecki
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Dr. Hal Learman
Geography, Gazetteers
and Maps

Dr. Hal Learman
Behind the Scenes at the Polish Archives
Tomasz Szpil
Archivist / Łódź
World War II Exhibit
in Galeria

Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Marcin Chumiecki
Polish DNA
Robert Sliwinski, MS
10:15 am
Language Survey
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Eugenia Gorecki
FamilySearch Catalog
and Digital Images

Dr. Hal Learman
Ceil Wendt Jensen
National Archives of Poland and
Szukaj w archiwach
Tomasz Szpil
Archivist / Łódź
World War II Displaced Persons
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Eugenia Gorecki
Polish DNA
Case Studies
 Robert Sliwinski, MS
1:00 pm
Polish for Genealogists
Eugenia Gorecki
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Sacramental Records
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Karta.pl  and Straty.pl
Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Eugenia Gorecki
2:45 pm
Identifying Ancestral Villages
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Dr. Hal Learman
Poznan Project
Civil and Parish
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Leaving Dobrzechów
Tracking Migration from a Parish
Patricia Yocum
Jewishgen and
Ceil Wendt Jensen
Tomasz Szpil
Archivist / Łódź
4:00 pm
Optional Roundtable
Optional Roundtable
Optional Roundtable
Optional Roundtable

Monday August 4

8:30 am         Polish History Overview -Polish Panorama
We begin the Polish track of the GRIP institute viewing the Polish Panorama. It is a pageant of 106 figures which illustrate the rich history of Poland. The survey highlights historical events and leaders of Polish History including kings and queens, military leaders, writers, poets and musicians, as well as religious figures.

10:15 am        Language Survey
Is English your only language? Fear not. Learn the tips and tricks we’ve perfected to extract and convert anglicized names back into the correct Polish form. Without the correct form of your Polish ancestors’ given name and surname, not to mention location of birth, it will be extremely difficult to find their Polish vital records.  Case studies include research from the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian partitions.

1:00 pm         Polish for Genealogists
This session includes pronunciation of the Polish alphabet and basic vocabulary, voivodeships, powiats, gminas and parishes.  The language survey is led by Eugenia Gorecki, who received her education in both Poland and the United States. She  will  also offer instruction on how to identify and translate Polish words and phrases used in vital records.

2:45 pm        Ancestral Villages – Identification and History
Geographic Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Countries – 15 volumes. 1880-1902
Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich
This gazetteer was published between 1880 to 1902 under the direction of Filip Sulimierski. It is an excellent gazetteer for locating places, and learning the history, of areas in Poland. Coverage includes all localities in the former Polish provinces of Russia, most localities in the former Austrian province of Galicia. It also includes the provinces of Poznań, West Prussia, East Prussia, Silesia, and Pomerania. It is an extremely valuable gazetteer. Translation materials are online at: www.pgsa.org/Towns/townindex.php

4:00 pm Optional Roundtable

Tuesday August 5

8:30 am      Geography, Gazetteers, and Maps
A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory used in conjunction with a map or atlas, necessary in finding the religious and civil record repositories in Poland. Using a gazetteer and vintage maps, researchers can identify resources throughout partitioned Poland. Online collections and archival holdings offer maps pertinent to the time period you are researching. Whether it’s finding the family farm on a plat map or discovering the changing boarders of a county or country — maps are indispensable. This session will cover how to find the old, new, and digital maps you need for your family research.

10:15 am    FamilySearch Catalog and Digital Images
FamilySearch is a nonprofit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations. Researchers have benefited from their extensive collection of microfilms (over 28,000 for Poland), and now, from the digital image collection available online, for free. As a FamilySearch affiliate, PARI has a developing collection of FHL microfilms on extended loan. Learn how to use both the catalog and website to locate Polish-American and Polish records.

1:00 pm     Geneteka
Learn how to navigate the website geneteka.genealodzy.pl. It is a database created by various branches of the Polish Genealogical Society (Polskie Towarzystwo Genealogiczne). It is a large database which contains over 10 million names from many regions of Poland. Developed by volunteers, the information on the Geneteka website is available without any fees or login.

2:45 pm    Poznań Project: Civil and Parish Marriage Index
The Poznań Project was  developed as a way to resolve a problem common to many genealogists researching this area: the 19th century records rarely provide the precise location of origin for people who left the Poznań/Posen  province to settle in North America. To overcome this dilemma Łukasz Bielecki and his team of volunteers have made it their goal to put regional marriage record indexes  on-line for all the parishes, thus providing the information  needed for researchers to pinpoint and order the appropriate microfilm(s). The period between 1835-1884 was initially chosen for practical reasons, corresponding to the period of greatest emigration and later, the timeframe was extended to 1800-1899. Currently, seventy-five per cent of the region’s marriages are in the database.

4:00 pm      Optional Roundtable

Wednesday  August  6

8:30 am      Behind the Scenes at the Polish Archives
Visiting archivist, Paweł Pietrzyk, will showcase the holding in Łódź. Based on interviews conducted on site with the directors of repositories in the U.S. and Poland, learn about the unique materials held throughout Polonia, the archives in Poland, and the concentration camp museums of Stutthof and Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Records, maps, and ephemera held at repositories go beyond vital records. Learn how to find unique ledgers, documents, and art work to enrich and advance your family history.

10:15 am      National Archives of Poland and Szukaj w Archiwach
Archivist, Paweł Pietrzyk will present an overview on how to use the National Digital Archives (NAC) new online-platform szukajwarchiwach.pl  (Search in Archives). It provides metasearch for finding aids of the Polish State Archives like SEZAM, IZA, PRADZIAD, ELA and additionally gives access to scans of church and civil records. There are currently over eight million scans available from 20 regional archives.

1:00 pm      Sacramental Records
Many researchers find their family line eventually leads to sacramental records maintained by the Catholic Church. In Poland, priests were required by law to maintain records at the parish level that were used as civil records; at one point, they became the stewards of Jewish and Evangelical as well as Catholic birth, marriage, and death records. This session will highlight the rules established by the church for sacramental records kept and keys to extracting the data.

2:45 pm     Leaving Dobrzechów: Tracking Migration from a Parish in Galicia
Knowing the home village of our Polish ancestors is key to accessing vital records. The village name can also aid in tracking outflow of village residents and gaining a broader picture of migration from a locale. Several free sources on the Web can be harnessed to do this work as shown by recent research on two small villages in Western Galicia. Together, Dobrzechów and Kozuchów sent nearly 300 immigrants to America between 1898 and 1924. When viewed as composites, the immigrants show intriguing characteristics some of which challenge conventional notions of Polish immigration. Included in the discussion are techniques used to work around idiosyncrasies in the Passenger Record Archive of the American Family Immigration History Center, aka Ellis Island archive. Broadly applied techniques are effective in searching for long-sought immigrants; and can be used for individuals as well as for all the immigrants from a specific village.

4:00 pm                                Optional Roundtable

Thursday August  7

8:30 am       Polish Mission Galeria Exhibit: Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of The Warsaw Uprising
Sponsored by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture
Tour of the Warsaw Uprising exhibit with Polish Mission Director Marcin Chumiecki. This exhibit, prepared by the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego in Warsaw, Poland, is a tribute to Warsaw’s residents and all who fought and died for an independent Poland. It commemorates the Uprising which began on 1 August 1944, to free the capital city. The exhibition depicts both the fighting and everyday life during the Rising. Photographs, films and recordings tell the history through sight and sound.

10:15 am     World War II Displaced Persons
Genealogists who want to document their family history, which includes World War II Displaced Persons, will look at traditional as well as unique records to find answers to their family’s mysteries. While the events that forced them from their homeland took place over seventy years ago, there are survivors still searching for friends and family and documentation of this harsh period of their life. A paper trail was created, and we will explore the archives, associations, and organizations that have record sets of interest.

1:00 pm     World War II Databases: Karta, Straty, and The Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum
This session identifies online archives, associations, and organizations that have record sets related to World War II. Karta.pl  an independent non-governmental organization dealing with the documentation and dissemination of the history of recent Polish and Central and Eastern Europe.  Straty.pl is  government sponsored and the main objective is to collect scattered information about people victimized by the German occupiers in 1939-1945. They have digitized the records and created the database documenting the fate of individuals. The Kresy-Siberia Virtual Museum (KSVM) sheds light on the one chapter of World War II history which is the least well known, the persecution at the hands of the Russian army. It  was a taboo subject in Poland until 1989. This website including documents and remembrances of  children who were sent to Siberia, housed later in camps in India and Iran, and eventually found homes in Australia and North America.

2:45 pm   Jewishgen and JRI-Poland
This session explores the data rich websites devoted to documenting Jewish ancestors who once lived in Poland. Currently, JewishGen hosts more than 20 million records, and provides a myriad of resources and search tools designed to assist those researching their Jewish ancestry. Many of the online tools are useful for any researcher looking for locations in Central and Eastern Europe. JRI – Poland is the largest fully searchable database of indexes to Jewish vital records accessible online. 5 million records from more than 550 Polish towns are now indexed. More are being added every few months.

4:00 pm                                Optional Roundtable


Friday August  8

8:30 am        Polish FamilyTree DNA Project Overview
Robert Sliwinski, a Biologist and Genetic Genealogist, is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about what a researcher can learn from DNA testing for ancestry. Taking a DNA test to discover your ancestry is a gift, not only for you, but the results provide a history that is beneficial to your family and children. Your DNA results are a connection to the past—making history come alive. This session covers how your ancestral past can unfold  by DNA testing and what types of tests are available and cost comparisons.

10:15 am       Polish DNA Case Studies
Robert Sliwinski, owner of DNA Explorers, will present case studies and an overview of DNA results submitted by GRIP participants. Registered Polish course students who would like Robert to consider their results for this presentation, may submit them to him by May 1, 2014. DNA Explorers provides professional services to those who have Y-DNA (paternal lineage) and/or MtDNA (maternal lineage) results and need assistance with interpretation that is easy to understand. The reports allow researchers to understand their recent and ancient ancestry.

11:30 am      Wrap-up and Certificates before Institute Lunch