Are your ancestors from Poland?
If so, there are many online resources to help you discover information. These range from assistance in locating ancestral towns to investigating what vital or religious records are available.
You'll need to know something about Polish history and changing borders, and there are sites to help on these topics. You'll also need to determine your ancestral towns.
Your Polish ancestors may be listed on immigration records as Polish, German, Ruthenian or other designations. They may also be listed according to religion, and may have been Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox or Jewish.
As always, recommended genealogy guidelines are always to work back from what you know. Use immigration and citizenship records to learn where where your ancestors were born and lived.
Once you have that original name and place, there is much more to discover. And do use MyHeritage's amazing search engine to look for your names of interest in more than 1,000 databases.
I look forward to hearing from you, so please post your questions and comments.
Here are some resources to help you get started:
This site offers excellent articles on getting started, how to find the name of your ancestral town, border changes and other issues, a history of Poland, what sorts of records are available and where for various religions and a good article on meanings of Polish names. There are also numerous link collections for Internet sites, Polish libraries, online databases, discussion groups, books, maps, Polish genealogical societies, Polish archives and much more. A good first stop.
LOCATING PLACES OF ORIGIN IN POLAND
Poland's place names and boundaries have changed numerous times in the past 200 years. This article explains how place names have changed over time and gives tips on locating your ancestor's town of origin. State boundary changes are also discussed.
POLISH GENEALOGY FAQ
A wonderful guide to genealogy research in Poland by Lukasz Bielecki, Poznan, Poland.
CYNDI'S LIST - POLISH RESOURCES
Cyndi's List offers many specialized sites, from general resource, history and culture, how-to resources, language and handwriting, libraries and repositories, mailing lists, newsgroups, maps and gazetteers, military, newspapers, people and families, professional researchers, volunteers, publications and software, surname lists, records, religion and societies and groups.
This is the place for everything on Jewish genealogy, including Polish Jewish genealogy, with excellent Infofiles, extensive resources including ShtetlSeeker, which will help you find the correct name and location for a place you can't spell, millions of records through Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, and much more.
POLISH JEWISH GENEALOGY SOCIETY OF NEW YORK STATE
This site offers many links and resources including links to other PGS societies.
GENEALOGY.ABOUT.COM - POLAND
This site offers an extensive compendium on Polish resources, including maps and geography.
ROOTSWEB - POLAND
Finding Parish Addresses
Links and suggestions to help you find the name of the parish to which a specific town in Poland belongs.
Obtaining Polish Records
Addresses and information for obtaining records from Poland including civil records, church records, Jewish records, emigration records, Polish archives and military records.
The former territories of Galicia (a crown land of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy) are now shared between southern Poland and western Ukraine. This is an excellent outline for record sources and contact info for Galician genealogy. Good resources and links, but it hasn't been updated since 2004, although other links listed on the page have been updated. For Jewish Galicia, JewishGen is the source, particularly the Gesher Galicia SIG.
A brief history of Poland from its Slav origins through post-war Poland. Has a good section on Krakow.
MORMON FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY CATALOG - POLAND
Comprehensive listing of microfilmed Polish records available through international Family History Centers.
POLISH LETTER WRITING GUIDE
A useful PDF file that will help you write a letter to Poland to obtain family information.
WORLD VITAL RECORDS - POLAND
Poland Genealogy Search
A look at Poland in a nutshell, and a search engine that currently searches 120 websites related to doing genealogy in Poland.