Re: Books of Residents and Census #poland

Stanley Diamond

In his message yesterday, Gilbert Hendlisz wrote:

Dear Friends,

I wanted to express my thanks to Stanley Diamond and Fay Bussgang for
focusing on the question of the Books of Residents. Those are a gold
mine for researchers with lots of informations about not only one person
you are interested in, but also his whole family, sons and daughters-in
laws, the town they came >from or the town where they decide to move to
and so on.

As Stanley may remember, there is long time that I volunteered for
indexing or helping in projects relating to these BoR, when they exist.
The question is: practically what is the project about? Do we have to
raise money and ask the Polish Archive to make the indexing of the pages
of these BoR or do we purchase the copies of the pages and do we make
the indexing by ourselves like in the shtetl-co-op operations? My
preference would be for the second proposal. I would like to know more
before volunteering.

Thanks for your answers.

Gilbert HENDLISZ (Brussels)

Dear Friends:

Realistically, the only practical approach for indexing Books of
Residents is by hiring staff of the Polish State Archives to do the
data entry and through fundraising by researchers to pay for this work:

There are three reasons for this:

1. Index volumes to Books of Residents generally have not survived.

2. But, even if they do exist, they are not complete because:

a. While the registers documenting everyone living in a house
may have been in use for 10, 20, 30 or more years, index
volumes - if they exist - are "snapshots" of the data made
at one point in time.

b. Based on our experience, indexing directly >from the registers
enables us to capture the entries for those who died and do
not appear in the index, those who were added after the
indexing and, in some cases, those who were added and
died or moved away after the index was created.

3. By indexing >from the volumes, we are able to include the
mothers' and fathers' names that do not appear in the index

For a readily accessible detailed description of the Books of
Residents that were in use in the Kingdom of Poland >from
ca 1890 to ca 1930, please go to the Ostrow Mazowiecka
Research Family website at
and click on Books of Residents. Series #3 is the one most typically
available. (Note: some of the information is now slightly outdated
and will be revised in the near future.)

In addition, Fay Bussgang has written many articles on these
sources. A list is these articles is included below.

Because it contains important information concerning the sources
of Books of Residents, I am repeating my original comments on
this subject >from my message of July 18, 2005.

Stanley Diamond
Executive Director, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

Articles by Fay Bussgang on Books of Residents and Census records

Bussgang, Fay Vogel, "Census Records and City Directories in the Krakow
Archives," Avotaynu 12, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 27-28.

Bussgang, Fay, "Books of Residents (Ksiegi Ludnosci) and Other Books of
Registration," Kielce-Radom SIG Journal 4, no.3 (Summer 2000): 23-26.

Bussgang, Fay, "More About Polish Books of Residents' Registration,"
Avotaynu 16, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 14-15, in conjunction with: Bussgang,
Julian, "The Polish Concept of Permanent Place of Residence," Avotaynu 16,
no. 3 (Fall 2000): 12-14.

Bussgang, Fay Vogel, "Russian Poland," Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy,
Teaneck, N.J.: Avotaynu, Inc., 2004: [pp.475-478 concern Books of Residents].

Syllabuses >from New York 1999, Salt Lake City 2000, Toronto 2002, and Las
Vegas 2005 contain summaries about Books of Residents.

My original Message

Dear friends:

Fay Bussgang's message about Books of Residents, Census Registers, etc.,
prompts me to share some news >from the "What's New in Jewish Records
Indexing - Poland" presentation at the International Conference on Jewish
Genealogy last week in Las Vegas.

In referring to the recent meeting of representatives of JRI-Poland and the
Polish State Archives, I mentioned that:

"For a number of years, JRI-Poland has been indexing Books of Residents
and Census Registers >from all over Poland. As a result of the researcher
response to these new sources, and their generosity in making the indexing
possible, an annex has been added to the JRI-Poland/PSA agreement that
formalizes this expansion and opens the doors to the indexing of any --
I repeat ANY -- type of Jewish record with genealogical content."

While spending your money on private research will ferret out records
for only your own family, joining with fellow researchers to index these
records through JRI-Poland will make these records accessible to your
own family -- as well as other families with roots in that town. It is this
spirit of sharing that characterizes the success of JRI-Poland.

To start or participate in such a cooperative project, first identify the
record collection >from the Polish State Archives website. Then please
contact the Archive Coordinator for the Archive Branch in which the
registers are held. You can find the name and email address of the
Archive Coordinator at:

I am the Archive Coordinator for Pultusk. Please do not write to me
about records in other Archives as the Archive Coordinator for your
Archive will be best able to respond knowledgeably to you.

Stanley Diamond
Executive Director, Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

Fay Bussgang wrote:

"In addition to being able to find online what vital (metrical) records
exist for each town, E.L.A. (Ewidencje Ludnosci w Archiwaliach --
Evidences of Population in Archival Collections) is now online at
the State Archives of Poland Web site [Just go to Google and type
in 'State Archives of Poland"].

It is a database of all registers of population - books of residents,
lists of Jews, lists of dentists and doctors, members of unions --
you name it. What is available for each town differs widely. The
initial page is in English."

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