Public Archive System In Poland.
The Public Archive system in Poland is very friendly and open to researchers. You can do the research by yourself or you can hire a researcher by sending letter of authorization. Some archives accept a signed scan and some need the original letter.
The policy now is to make available all records to researchers that are not protected by privacy laws or are not confidential. The last decisions made by the Polish government allow for the taking of unlimited digital photos without any payment. There are still payments for scans and photocopies. This policy makes the research fast and allows us to send digital photos of many valuable documents to clients.
The most important archives in Poland for researchers are:
- ArchiwumGłówneAktDawnych (AGAD) in Warsaw: www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl(Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw)
- ArchiwumAktNowych: http://www.aan.gov.pl/index_en.php(The Central Archives of Modern Records in Warsaw)
- NarodoweArchiwumCyfrowe: http://www.nac.gov.pl/en/node/58 (National Digital Archive)
- ArchiwumArcybiskupaBaziaka in Krakow: http://upjp2.edu.pl/strona/r5j5bbq6u9 (Archbishop Baziak Archive In Krakow) with records from the former Roman Catholic LwowArchdiocese.
There are many other archives situated in different cities in Poland that have all kinds of records important for researchers. Many State Archives do not have Catholic metrical records as those are usually in the Catholic Archives. The oldest Catholic records in the State Archives are usually starting in 1880-90. After the war, with creation of Civil Registry Offices, the records starting from 1890 were taken from Dioceses to those offices. Now those records are more than 100 years old so they are placed in the State Archives.
The State Archives usually have lots of Greek Catholic records like the ones in Przemysl or Sanok and also Jewish and protestant religions metrical books.
A very good internet site to search metrical records in the State Archives is the database Pradziad:
Please remember to put parish name. Many villages were not parishes.
Please contact us if you have difficulties with locating the parish.
The metrical records available to researchers are those that are more than 100 years old.More recent records are usually kept by Civil Registry Offices and can also be examined if the letter of authorization is sent.
Catholic Archive System:
The Catholic Archives are less examined than the State Archives which have most of the inventories on the internet. Some of them do not have internet sites.Information about the records can be obtained by calling them or writing emails.
Every Catholic archive is different and each has slightly different rules. One director may need a letter of authorization and proof of relationship, the other one does not need anything. It is also different in terms of fees. One archive will have everything free of charge, the other will charge per hour or per each photo. It is always good to send a donation to the archive as these sites are not supported by government subsidies.
Catholic archives usually have extracts from the original metrical books and they usually end in 1890. It was required by church law to make a copy by the person of all metrical books and send that copy to the Catholic Archive. The extract sometimes can have errors which could have occurred if the priest was transcribing hundreds of records. There were no photocopies at that time. All documents were in Latin. While doing the research we send a basic Latin English dictionary to the clients.
Records in the Catholic Archive that are less than 100 years old are not available to researchers due to the privacy law. However family member can obtain them by writing to the archive or sending letter of authorization.Usually the records have beautiful handwriting. However sometimes it might be difficult for a contemporary reader. All research is accompanied with a file with typed records to the client.