24 July 2009

Book: Translating 19th-century Polish records

If your family research centers on Poland or areas where Polish was the language of record, here's a book which may help your quest. It has been around for some time, but this new third edition (August 2009) has been expanded and enhanced.

"A Translation Guide to 19th-Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents (including Birth, Marriage and Death Records" is the full title, but many refer to it simply as "The Guide," by Judith R, Frazin.

It is more than what the title indicates. The book helps readers locate Polish ancestral towns on a modern map, determine if old vital records exist, learn how to acquire them and decipher and translate the records.

- Suggestions on how to locate an old Polish town on modern maps
- Tips: finding 19th-century documents/indexes from Polish towns
- Sample vital-record documents - script/block-letter versions
- Step-by-step guide to extracting data from documents
- List of given names in 19th-century documents
- Tips: find out what records are at the Polish State Archives
- Information: how the Polish language works
- Translations: column headings in old Polish census records
- Model sentences in Polish for genealogical correspondence
- 15 vocabulary lists (Age, Family, Occupations, etc.)
- Hundreds of new words and phrases
Both the author and the book will be at the Philly 2009 conference. Frazin will present a workshop - Discovering the Treasures in 19th-Century Polish-Language Records - on the conference's opening day (Sunday, August 2) at 10am, followed by a book signing at 1.30pm.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois is publishing the 472-page book; the price is $41. See sample pages here (PDF format), including the full table of contents.

Read more here, and find out how to order it.


  1. Do you have an opinion on how this book compares to the guides by Shea/Hoffman sold on Avotaynu? Do you think I need both the Polish and Russian guides?

  2. Anonymous8:24 PM

    Nice post on extracting data, simple and too the point :), For simple stuff i use python to get or simplify data, data extraction can be a time consuming process but for other projects that include documents, the web, or files i tried http://www.extractingdata.com which worked great, they build quick custom screen scrapers, extracting data, and data parsing programs