Archive for the ‘Polish genealogy, history and traditions’ Category

Registration questionnaires of the First and Second General Censuses of Poland in 1921 and 1931.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021


The article written by Piotr Zelny – genealogist, historian working in the Historical Museum in Sanok, tourist and genealogy guide in PolishOrigins.

Proofreading: Aleksander Zawilski.


When World War I had drawn to an end and Poland was regaining its sovereignty, the Polish authorities faced a very difficult task of reunifying the country. For over a century, the individual parts of the state remained within the borders of foreign countries. Several generations of people grew up in three different countries, three different political, administrative and economic systems. In addition, the First World War that swept through the country completely changed the picture of reality.


The last census in the Prussian and Austrian partitions took place in December 1910, in the Russian partition in February 1897. Although Austria-Hungary and Germany conducted censuses during the war in 1916 and 1917, and Poland in 1919, they took place only in some parts of the country. The authorities of the reborn Poland, who had to rule over the divided country, had just a rough idea about demography, social and economic conditions of its own state. Without this knowledge, it was impossible to effectively manage such a diverse country.


Filling out registration sheets by village women from Bronowice near Krakow. The Second General Census 1931. Photograph from the collection of the National Digital Archive.



What Open-Air Museums Can Teach You about the Life of Your Ancestors?

Thursday, February 11th, 2021


This article was originally published in “Rodziny” – The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America, issued in winter 2021.


As a tour and research manager in PolishOrigins, one of my main tasks is to create itineraries
for our guests. I am an ethnologist and ethnographer by education, so for years I have been recommending everyone to visit open-air museums during their stay in Poland. In this article I seek to convince the readers of Rodziny, descendants of Polish emigrants, to do the same.

I remember the first time I visited an open-air museum; it was on a school trip when I was a kid.


The Museum of the Masovian Countryside in Sierpc.



Traditional Polish Christmas Recipes

Friday, December 18th, 2020


Christmas is a very special time. In Poland we celebrate especially the Christmas Eve. Well, we celebrate for the next few days as well, but the menu for traditional Polish Christmas Eve is different, special and unique. We have to remember that this was the time of the year when fresh fruits and vegetables were not available. People had to use what they had in their cellars or what they managed to preserve. This is why instead of fresh fruits, they used dried ones, salted herring instead of a fresh one, groats and cabbage.


Do you need Polish citizenship to live in Poland?

Thursday, October 29th, 2020


For many years we have been getting questions about becoming a Polish citizen. The requests for advice were made through our Forum, via emails, or by our tours’ guests. In the last case these questions were often preceded by words like: “I feel like home here…”, “Now I understand so much better why my grandparents missed the “Old Country””, or ”I have a feeling that my life made a circle and I am back where I belong…”.

The number of inquiries about obtaining Polish citizenship has risen dramatically in recent months. It may be a result of the genealogy research services we started to provide this March, but we are not sure if it is the only reason for the increased interest.

So far, also before 2020, we have managed to help quite a few people in obtaining documents required to submit applications for confirming Polish citizenship. Through the years we have also established working relationships with people who specialize in the legal process of confirmation of Polish citizenship by ancestry.

One of these experts who we have worked with on a regular basis, Katarzyna Kacprzak, prepared guidelines for confirming and obtaining Polish citizenship by descent.

Katarzyna has a 100% success track record. If she accepts the case there is a good chance that she will deliver. 


But is it necessary to be a Polish citizen to live in Poland?


Polish Citizenship Confirmation

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Why confirm your Polish citizenship?

During the years we spent working on cases of applying for Polish citizenship, we could see two major reasons for trying to get one’s Polish citizenship confirmed.

The first reason is that a Polish passport equals an EU passport and having Polish citizenship and subsequently applying for a Polish passport means:

– open access to the EU work market
– smaller fees at the EU universities for the EU students
– shorter queues at the EU passport control.

The second reason was the emotional value attached to having back the citizenship of one’s ancestors.


How to confirm your Polish citizenship?

To successfully confirm Polish citizenship through one’s Polish ancestry, the following requirements have to be met:


Is checking vital records all you can do?

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020



It’s been six months since we have introduced our Genealogy Services. Time for a quick look back and recap.

So far we have received over 200 inquiries, of which 67 developed into research projects. In many cases we are still waiting for some supplementary information or for the opening of specific institutions. Dozens of projects have been already completed, and you can imagine how many ancestors and relatives we have found!

There were many obstacles, especially those related to the pandemic, limited access to documents, and the inability to travel further, for example to Ukraine. Currently, the situation is gradually normalizing.

But let’s leave the problems, today we want to focus on some of our interesting cases and successes.




Finding your ancestors’ place in Kresy (Borderlands).

Thursday, July 16th, 2020


In our last video we have talked on how to find the geographical position of the town or village of your interest. We only talked about the area of modern Poland and today we want to add a short supplemental video, that will focus on its former Eastern borderlands.



How to find the correct location of the birthplace of your ancestors?

Monday, June 29th, 2020


As a part of our Genealogy Pro Tip series, we created another video that can help you in starting or expanding your adventure with genealogy.

Even if you have learned the name of the town or village your ancestors came from, it still might be hard to determine where its geographical position is exactly. In some cases, there are dozens of places in Poland with the same name and they can be spread across the whole country.

Very often the names of the villages were misspelled by the immigration clerks and figuring out which one did the mean poses a different challenge.

This is why in our video we present you two tools that we use in our daily work and that can help you with this matter.




Do you know to which parish your ancestor’s village belonged?

Thursday, May 28th, 2020


A while back we have started sharing our genealogy knowledge throughout a series of Genealogy Pro Tips that are published on our Facebook page. You can find short and practical advice there, for example on how to find a place of your interest, the graves of your ancestors, or check the geographical occurrence of a specific surname.

Today, we would like to share something bigger with you. We created a video that can help you in establishing to which parish your ancestral village belonged. The history of vital records in Poland is different in each of the three partitions. The main thing they have in common though is that it was the parishes that developed vital registration first and that their documents remain the most important when beginning your adventure with genealogy.

In this video, we are presenting you three tools that we regularly use to determine to which parish a certain village or town belonged. Some of these sources are in Polish only, but inside the video we try to guide you through each step and help you to learn how to obtain the information you need from them. We hope that thanks to our film you will be able to kick start your adventure with genealogy.



Frequently Asked Questions about our Genealogy Services

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

It has been over a month since we started to provide Genealogy Services.

We are currently working on over a dozen research projects, several others are already completed.

There are many new queries and we have our hands full. Each family story is interesting and we always feel joy and excitement when it turns out that we can help in some way.

During this month of our communication with you, there are some questions that are often repeated. Therefore we have decided to answer the most popular and important.