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Going Home by Jonathan D. Shea, A.G.
Going Home by Jonathan D. Shea, A.G., A Guide to Polish American Family History Research

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ISBN: 9780963157973

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This comprehensive reference book covers all facets of research that you will need to successfully trace your Polish-American family history. Topics include:

  • Local American records of birth, marriage and death; church records, probate documents, voting records, cemetery records, state censuses, records of fraternal organizations and many more unique sources
  • Federal records: United States immigration and citizenship documents, passenger lists from Ellis Island and other US ports of entry, federal census records and Social Security records
  • Brief history of Polish-American communities in the US and worldwide.
  • European records of birth marriage and death, tax lists, passport records, censuses, repatriation records and much more
  • Historical geography illustrated with maps to help you understand the many border changes that took place over the centuries in Eastern Europe
  • Extensive language and translation sections to help you understand the documents you find and unlock the secrets of your personal family history. Included are Polish spelling and sounds, grammatical outline of the language and vocabulary lists in Polish, Russian, Latin and German
  • A section on our names, their origins and meanings
  • Appendices listing the locations of Polish parishes in the USA, addresses of Polish archives and genealogical and historical societies
  • A wide range of sample documents so you can see what types of records await you in your search

The author shares his over two decades of research experience in Polish genealogical investigations, including on site archival experience in Poland, Lithuania the US and Canada.


Acknowledgments iii

Introduction vii

Preliminary Notes ix

1. The Language - Your Companion Throughout the Research Process 1

2. Capsule History of Poland and Worldwide Polonia 16
Capsule History of Poland 16
Emigration 22
Polish Immigration to the United States 26
Permanent Settlement - Population Distribution 28
Development of the Polish-American Community 31
Polish Settlements in Other Nations 36
Polonia in Canada 37
Polonia in Latin America 38
Polonia in Australia and New Zealand 40
Polonia in Europe 41
Ethno-cultural Groups in Poland 48

3. Sources on This Side of the Ocean 54
Local and State Sources 54
Vital Records 58
Church Sacramental Records 62
Other Records at Parish Archives 64
Printed Parish and Organizational Histories 68
Death-related Sources 71
City Directories, Professional Directories, and Yearbooks 76
Newspaper Sources 79
Probate and Other Court Records 84
School Records 86
Records of Polish Fraternal Organizations 88
Hospital, Orphanage, Welfare, Police, and Incarceration Records 91
Town Reports 94
State Census Records 95
Voting Records 95
Local Libraries and Historical Societies 96
Other Local and State Miscellanea 98
Basic Paper Preservation 101
Et Cetera 103

4. The Records of the United States Federal Government 104
Federal Census Records 104
Passenger Arrival Lists 109
Alien Registration Files and Related Documentation 120
European Departure Lists 120
Naturalization Papers 125
Passport Records 126
Russian Consular Records 127
Military Records 127
Social Security Applications 131

5. Geographical Sources 132
Generalizations - Why Can't I Find Grandma's Village? 137
Gazetteers 140
Guidebooks and Church Directories 151
German-Language Gazetteers 154
Gazetteers for Former Austrian Territory 160
Gazetteers for Former Russian Territory 162
Maps 166

6. European Sources: Vital Records in Poland 169
Brief History of the Keeping of Vital Records in Poland 169
Description of a Sample Register 177
Structure of the Polish Language 181
Latin-Language Documents 187
Polish-Language Documents 195
Russian-Language Documents 207
German-Language Documents 219
Accessing Vital Records 224
Archives in Neighboring Nations 228
Guide to Writing Letters in Polish 228
Guide to Writing Letters in Russian 232
Vocabulary Lists: Polish 235
Vocabulary Lists: Latin 243
Vocabulary Lists: Russian 248
Vocabulary Lists: German 259

7. Additional Polish and European Sources 263
Church Sacramental Registers and Parish Censuses 264
Census Records 267
Other Census-Like Records 271
Repatriation and Resettlement Records 274
Revizskie Skazki - Revision Lists 281
Estate Inventories and Related Records 283
Military Records 286
Records of Nazi Concentration Camps, Displaced Persons Camps, and Similar
Documentration 291
Passport Records 293
Notary and Court Records 294
Nobility Documents 296
Uniquely Jewish Records 299
Archives - Last Thoughts 300
Non-Archival Printed and Electronic Resources 301

8. Our Names in Europe and America 311
Patronymic and Matronymic Surnames 312
Topographical and Geographical Surnames 313
Surnames Derived from Occupations and Associated Objects 314
Descriptive and Miscellaneous Surnames 314
Suffixes Revisited 315
Name Alterations 317
An Index of First Names prepared by William F. Hoffman 319

Final Words 344

Appendix A - Polish Parishes in the U. S. 345

Appendix B - Links to Get Started 367

Appendix C - Contact Addresses for Archives 370

Bibliography 391

Index 398

  • Softcover, perfect bound,
  • 420 bindery pages (x + 410)
  • 8.25" x 11" - 21cm x 28cm

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