Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia (Poland) Civil Registration Bill Now Law #galicia
Jan Meisels Allen
Last summer a bill was introduced before the Polish Legislature (Sejm
and Senate), Nr 2620, that as introduced would have the civil records
embargo period at 100 years >from date of birth, and 80 years >from
dates of marriage and death. Nr 2620 passed both chambers of the
Legislature, was signed by the President of Poland on December 5,
2014 and became effective as of January 1, 2015 (since then the date
of implementation has been moved to March 1, 2015 -- see below)
all as originally introduced, at least for the provisions that were of
interest to the genealogical community. The new law reduced the
embargo periods to 80 years for marriage and death records >from the
previous, existing law of 100 years! This is a substantial and very
welcome change!! It does retain birth records embargo at the
previously existing 100 years.
One of the most egregious provisions of Nr 2620 dealt with the length
of time the USC (local archives) may retain the records -- up to 10
years to prepare the death and marriage records -- before they are
submitted to branches of the Polish State Archives where, after the
required embargo periods the records, are available to the general
public. Trying to amend the provisions to a lesser embargo period for
death records (less than the 80 years that was in the bill) and a
shorter transfer period to the PSA branches was spearheaded by
Gesher Galicia. IAJGS and other genealogical organizations sent letters
to members of the legislature supporting Gesher Galicia's positions.
Unfortunately, the Legislature did not amend their bill to incorporate
the genealogical community's suggested changes.
While we are disappointed that the embargo period for death records
was not reduced as suggested by Gesher Galicia, the new law is an
improvement, as mentioned above for marriage and death records.
Gesher Galicia executives, Pamela Weisberger and Tony Kahane, along
with their Polish representatives and others are actively working to
bring any new (historical) records that are released to the public as a
result of this law to interested researchers, whether in digitized or
indexed formats, as soon as possible.
A copy of the final bill -- now law -- may be seen at:
It is in Polish and the sections we were following were: sections 28
(embargo periods) and 127 (time for USC to transfer records to PSA).
A summary of the bill's history in the legislature may be seen at:
Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/) helps if you are
interested in reading provisions in other than Polish.
Stanley Diamond, executive director of JRI-Poland, has advised me
that since the bill was passed, the implementation date has been
moved forward to March 1, 2015 as a result of The Ministry of
Internal Affairs wanting to assure proper time for the operations to go
smoothly. The law requires a 6-month transition period. It also
requires an additional six-months for implementation allowing the
new (electronic) and old (hard copy) systems to work in parallel to
ensure the electronic system is implemented correctly and fully
operational. Please see:
(If you use Chrome as your browser and click in the narrative it will
automatically translate >from the Polish to the English).
Administration of implementing the new law may result in major
reorganizational changes, training in the new, electronic systems,
rehabilitation of old record books and other changes within the USC
districts which will likely have a direct effect on the access to the
books for scanning. Therefore, depending upon the specific USC
office, this may delay access to an entire collection of pre-1935
records (i.e. those over 80 years old) for digitization and indexing.
This does not prevent an individual >from applying to a specific USC
for their own family records. Recognize that this is going to take some
time for transition and please be patient in understanding these
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee