Re: Early 19th Century Polish Records #general

Randy Stehle

I have a few comments to add to the discussion regarding the subject of
early 19th century Jewish records in Poland:

1) Civil registration in most parts of Poland began in 1808. Until 1825,
ALL records (including Jewish) were kept in Catholic parish registers
Parishes often covered large areas & could include a dozen or more towns.
These registers are relatively easy to use as they had four columns on
each page: royalty, peasants, merchants and Jews (Zydzi).If it was a
Jewish vital record, then the Zydzi column would be marked with a
sequential number and the name of the town.

2) While most of these records contain an annual index, most Jews had no
permanent last names before 1826. The parish priests who compiled the
indexes would create a last name for the Jews based upon their father's
first name. For instance, Meyer, son of Abram, would be recorded as Meyer
Abramowicz. To use the indexes, one would need to know the first name of
the person's father.

3) The reason JRI-Poland has records mostly >from 1850 onwards, is that
the intent of the original group (called REIPP -- Russian-Era Indexing of
Poland Project) was to index the records written in Cyrillic. The Polish
records were kept in Polish through 1867. In 1868 they were required to
be kept in Russian.

4) Most of the separately kept Jewish records >from Poland >from the Polish
language period (1826-1867) have indexes. Not all the years have survived

from all the towns I have spent many hours searching through these records
with a modest degree of success=

Randy Stehle
San Mateo, California

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