JRI Poland #Poland Antoni Schneider collection at PSA Krakow (Wawel castle branch) #poland

Russ Maurer

Antoni Schneider (1825-1880) is one of the more colorful, if obscure,
figures of Galician history. Largely self taught, he fought with the
Hungarians against the Hapsburgs in 1848 and was jailed for it. Later
he renounced revolution and joined the Hapsburg bureaucracy, working
in the road service and traveling all over Galicia. He fancied
himself an historian and became an obsessive and prolific, if
indiscriminate, collector of Galiciana. His delusional dream was to
write a definitive encyclopedia of Galicia - a project which only got
as far as the "B" volume. Although his project failed, he donated his
collection of materials to the Polish Academy of Learning in Krakow,
which later transferred it to the Polish State Archives. Today, the
collection resides at the PSA branch at Wawel Castle, Krakow. Because
none of it has been put online, not even a basic index, the collection
is little known and seldom used by genealogists. Yet it certainly
contains items of genealogical interest.

During a recent stay in Krakow, I was able to spend a couple of
half-days exploring this collection. Jakub Czuprynski, the
Krakow-based genealogist who first told me about the collection,
advised that an index was available at the archive. When I looked at
the index, I found the collection consisted of 1876 files. Many of
the file names were locales big and small, such as Aksmanice; others
were topical (Adwokaci - lawyers); still others were just an
alphabetical code or code range (Ab, or Ana-Andr). There was little
or nothing to indicate what any file might contain more specifically.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that entire files were devoted to
two of my towns, Jodlowa and Chyrow, and five files (!) were devoted
to Gorlice. I also found some material for Frysztak within the file
labeled Fro-Fu.

The files themselves proved to be bundles, generally three or four
inches thick, containing hundreds, if not more, mostly loose sheets of
every variety. There was no discernible organization, one simply had
to leaf through and keep an eye open for anything interesting. As my
foreign language skills are limited, much was incomprehensible. But,
having previously worked with property lists (>from cadastral surveys),
I recognized some lists that looked rather similar. They proved to be
lists of residents eligible to vote in elections for the Sejm
(Galician parliament). I found at least one, and sometimes several,
such lists in every town file I investigated. The years were
1863-1870. I found the names of two of my great great grandfathers in
the lists for Jodlowa and Chyrow, and - bonus - was rewarded with the
house numbers where they lived at that time. Time well-spent for me.

While there, I took many photographs, including photographs of the
entire index. I have assembled the index images into a pdf which I am
happy to make available. I hope my experience will entice others to
look at the index and consider hiring a researcher to see what's there
for you (if you can't get to Krakow yourself). The link to the index
is goo.gl/VgL1E6

Russ Maurer
Pepper Pike, Ohio

Join main@groups.jewishgen.org to automatically receive all group messages.