Polish Genealogy

This guide contains a sample of The Newberry’s resources on this topic. To locate additional resources, please check our catalog or consult a reference librarian.

Guides and Bibliographies

Alzo, Lisa A. Family Tree: Polish, Czech & Slovak Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Eastern Europe. Cincinnati: Family Tree Books, [2016]. Call # Local History Ref CS872 .A49 2016.

Chorzempa, Rosemary. Polish Roots=Korzenie Polskie. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2014. Call # Local History Ref E184 .P7 C5 2014.

Golembiewski, Thomas E. The Study of Obituaries as a Source for Polish Genealogical Research. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1984. Call # E184 .P7 G65. Contains glossary of words used in Polish obituaries. Also has useful information about the history of Dziennik Chicagoski, Chicago’s largest Polish-language newspaper.

Hoskins, Janina W. Polish Genealogy and Heraldry: An Introduction to Research. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1990. Call # Local History Ref CS872 .H67 1990.

Jensen, Cecile Wendt. Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy. Rochester Hills, MI: Michigan Polonia, c2010. Call # Local History Ref CS872 .J46 2010.

Kazmierczak, Wiktor. A Historical Bibliography of Polish Towns, Villages, and Regions (except Warsaw and Krakow). Reprint of 1971 ed. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1990. Call # Z2526 .K34 1990.

Obal, Thaddeus J. A Bibliography for Genealogical Research Involving Polish Ancestry. Hillsdale, NJ: Obal, 1978. Call # Local History Ref Z1361 .P6 O2.

Shea, Jonathan D. Going Home: A Guide to Polish-American Family History Research. [New Britain, CT]: Language & Lineage Press, c2008. Call # Local History Ref E184 .P7 S54 2008.

Polish Declarations of Admiration and Friendship for the United States: The first 13 manuscript volumes of 111 volumes compiled in Poland in 1926. Functional census of school-age children.

Maps and Gazetteers

Also see the Newberry's online Map Bibliography

JewishGen also has an online gazetteer.

Atlas Historyczny Polski [Historical Atlas of Poland]. Warszawa: Polskie Przedsiebiorstwo Wydawnictw Kartograficznych im. Eugeniusza Romera, 1993. Call # folio G1951 .S1 P26 1993.

Central and Eastern European Maps Selected from the Andrees Allgemeiner Handatlas of 1913. Call # Microfiche 2818. Search by town name in indexes. Can be a useful entry into the larger scale maps of the Mapa Polska set (see below).

Cohen, Chester G. Shtetl Finder: Jewish Communities in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries in the Pale of Settlement of Russia and Poland, and in Lithuania, Latvia, Galicia, and Bukovina, and with names of residents. Los Angeles: Periday Co., 1980. Call # folio DS135 .R9 C58.

Kaemmerer, M. Ortsnamenverzeichnis der Ortschaften jenseits von Oder und Neisse [Gazetteer of Localities East of the Oder and Neisse]. Call # Local History Ref DK4600 .O332 K34 1988. Includes German towns lost to Poland and Russia in the wake of World War II.

Kay, George K. Postal Place Names in Poland. Edinburgh: G. K. Kay, 1992. Call # Local History Ref DK4035 .K39 1992.

Kruski, Jason. Guide to Chicago and Midwestern Polish-American Genealogy. Baltimore, Clearfield, 2012. Call # Chicago Browsing F548.9 .P7 K78 2012.

Mapa Polska. Warsaw: Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny, 1915-1939. Call # Microfiche 1195. Please specify fiche number and number of edition. Fiche number and edition can be determined by using the index map (Local History G6520  S100 .W6 Index, located on the 2nd floor, on top of bookcase).

Mokotoff, Gary. Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust. Rev. ed. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2002. Call # Local History Ref DS135 .E83 M65 2002. Contemporary towns are listed alphabetically and by Soundex. Note: See also WOWW Companion, Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1995, Call # Local History Ref DJK6 .M65 1995.

Slownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego i Innych Krajow Slowianskich [Geographic Dictionary of the Polish Kingdom and Other Slavic Lands]. Warsawa: Nakl. F. Sulimierskiego i Wladyslawa Walewskiego, 1880-1902. Call # Microfilm 1189. Organized alphabetically. Please specify place name in request. Note: See online guide to this resource.

Biographical Resources

Who’s Who in Polish America. Ed. Francis Bolek. 2nd ed. Greenville, PA: Beaver Printing Co., c1940. Call # F8397.973. Note: See also 1943 edition, Call # F8397.974.

Polski Slownik Biograficzny [Polish Dictionary of Biography]. Krakow: Sklad glowny w ksieg, Gebethnera i Wolffa, 1935-. Call # folio CT1230 .P65. New volumes issued yearly. Please specify surname(s) when requesting this resource.


Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Kingdom of Poland. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1996. Call # Local History Ref CS3010 .B419 1996.

Hoffman, William F. Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings. 2nd rev ed. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America, 1998. Call # CS2840 .H64 1998. See also 1993 edition, call # CS2840 .H64 1993.

Nobility and Heraldry

Niesecki, Kaspar. Herbarz Polski [Polish Armorial]. Reprint of 1839-1846 ed. Warsaw: Wydswnictwa Artystczne i Filmawe, 1979. 10 vols. Call # Local History Ref CS874 .N6 1979.

Zychlinski, Teodor. Zlota Ksiega Szlachty Polskiej [The Golden Book of the Polish Nobility]. Poznan: Drukarnia Leitgebera, 1879-1907. Call # Microfilm 921.

Jewish Resources

Also see the Newberry's Jewish Genealogy research guide

Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Poland: Pages from the Past and Archival Inventories. Secaucus, NJ: Miriam Weiner, 1997. Call # Local History Ref folio DS135 .P6 W37 1997.

Wynne, Suzan F. Finding Your Jewish Roots in Galicia: A Resource Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1998. Call # Local History Ref CS878 .G35 W96 1998.

Roman Catholic Resources

Litak Stanislaw. The Latin Church in the Polish Commonwealth in 1772: A Map and Index of Localities. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1990. Call # folio BX1565.L57 1990.

Müllerowa, Lidia. Roman Catholic Parishes in the Polish People’s Republic in 1984. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America, 1995. Call # folio BX 1564 .M85 1995.

Ortell, Gerald A. Polish Parish Records of the Roman Catholic Church: Their Use and Understanding in Genealogical Research. Astoria, NY: Gerald A. Ortell, 1979. Call # folio CS873 .O77.


Also see Passenger Lists guide

Migration from the Russian Empire: Lists of Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York, 1875-1891. Ed. Ira A. Glazier. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1995-. Call # Local History Ref E184 .R9 M54 1995. Includes Poles emigrating from Russia.

Moser, Geraldine. Hamburg Passengers from the Kingdom of Poland and the Russian Empire: Indirect Passage to New York, 1855-June 1873. Washington, DC: Landsmen Press, 1996. Call # folio E184 .J5 M667 1996. Names are listed alphabetically and by date.

Chicago Resources

Hollowak, Thomas L. and William F. Hoffman. Index to the Obituaries and Death Notices Appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski, 1890-1929. 4 vols. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society of America, 1984-1991. Call # Chicago Browsing F548.9 .P7 H653. 1890-1971 index is available online.

Lodesky, James D. Polish Pioneers in Illinois, 1818-1850. [Bloomington, IN]: Xlibris Corp., c2010. Call # F550 .P7 L63 2010.

Poles in America: Their Contributions to a Century of Progress. Chicago: Polish Day Association, 1933. Call # F8397.7. Includes information on Polish churches in Chicago and some business advertisements.

Poles of Chicago, 1838-1937. Chicago: Polish Pageant, Inc., 1937. Call # F89621 .P77. Contains some biographical sketches and portraits.

Polish Directory for the City of Chicago, 1903. Reprint. Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1981. Call # Chicago Browsing F548.9 P7 P6 1981.


Bulletin of the Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1992-2000. Call # folio CS2840 .P64.

Rodziny: The Journal of the Polish Genealogical Society of America. 1979-. Call # folio CS2840 .P65.

Dictionaries and Translation Resources

Frazin, Judith R. A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents. Northbrook, IL: Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, 2009. Call # Local History Ref CS871 .F73 2009.

Shea, Jonathan D. and William F. Hoffman. Following the Paper Trail: A Multilingual Translation Guide. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, 1994. Call # Local History Ref CS14 .S54 1994.

Stanislawski, Jan. English-Polish and Polish-English Dictionary. New York: David McKay Co., 1985. Call # Local History Ref PG6640 .S83 1985

Resources Elsewhere in Chicago

The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) has some specialized resources. Call to confirm hours. Polish Genealogical Society of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622, (773) 384-3352,