If you are looking for your Jewish family history in Poland, your best bet is to access the amazing searchable online resources of Jewish Records Indexing-Poland.
These resources have grown over the years to a database currently with 3.5 million unique Jewish Polish records, thanks to the inspiration of founder and executive director Stan Diamond of Montreal, and a very dedicated group of volunteers.
Using JRI-Poland's database, I've been able to reconstruct the major portion of my maternal grandfather's FINK family of Suchostaw and Skalat, discover multiple marriages in the lives of certain couples, related birth records in other towns and additional (previously unknown) branches in still other locations.
Do search JRI-Poland for your names of interest. Remember that many families had branches in other countries. Your German, Russian or Belarus family may have easily had a branch that settled in Poland at some point in history, or vice versa! It always pays to check JRI-Poland.
Additionally, remember to think "Creative Spelling." Names spelled in the original Polish will look very different from their anglicized versions. Search using the Daitch-Mokotoff Phonetic Soundex system.
The annual conference always includes numerous programs on Poland, Galicia and the general area, as well as JRI-Poland's always-sold-out popular luncheon. See the online program and all conference details for the 29th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 2-7, in Philadelphia.
According to Diamond and shtetl co-op coordinator Hadassah Lipsius (New York), many new records have been added to JRI-Poland:
- 55,000 new entries for 36 towns. Many of these towns are appearing for the first time, while others have been updated with information from later years. The new records are from the Shtetl Co-ops (indexed by JRI-Poland volunteers from LDS microfilms), from Polish State Archives (projects fully funded and accessible via the database) and other projects by the Czestochowa-Radomsko Area Research Group (CRARG). Search parameters include surname AND town, or surname AND region, or search by geographic coordinates.
-More than 100 towns are not yet represented online as projects have not yet been completely funded to recover indexing costs. To check your town's status, click "Your Town" on the site. For more information, contact the town leader, if one is listed, or the archive coordinator, or send an email.
- New LDS data is from Bydgoszcz, Firlej, Gora Kalwaria and Zarnow. Data was added and updated for Bychawa, Golub Drobzyn, Krotoszyn, Nowogrod, Plonsk, Pruchnik and Warszawa. Nearly 18,000 new LDS indices are now available on the database.
- Warsaw data added. Three additional Warszawa LDS films are now accessible on the databas, including: 4,435 new Warszawa indices. This encompasses District I - Birth, Marriages and Deaths, 1860; District III - Birth, Marriages and Deaths, 1860; District IV - Births 1860, 1862, Marriages 1860, 1862 and Deaths 1860; District VI - Marriages 1862-1864.
- Researchers are encouraged to make a donation to support their towns' indexing and placement on the database; click here for details. JRI-Poland is a 501(c)(3)independent non-profit tax-exempt organization under IRS code (US).
- JRI-Poland's database is hosted on JewishGen.