How to Search the Polish Archives

Added by Alyson Mansfield

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Listed in Free, Libraries & Museums & Archives, Poland


The Archives of Poland include four National Archives, 30 State Archives, and 40 branch Archives.

The Executive Office of the State Archives oversees the Polish Archives and has free, online search systems originating from different initiatives that search for archival collections.

  • IZA (Inventories of Archival) is a search system to inventories state archives as well as some private archives and museums and organizes inventories by specific fonds/record collections (no actual images). IZA results are brief and will link to SEZAM and ZoSIA, PRADZIAD, AND ELA

  • SEZAM and ZoSIA (created by separate archives and merged into one search system, often referred to as simply SEZAM/SESAME) is a search system similar to IZA in that it inventories collections throughout Poland, but it organizes inventories by archive or creator and lists all the fonds/records created by that entity. It gives a detailed historical background of the creator and collection (no actual images).

  • PRADZIAD (Database Registration Program vital records and Civil Status) is a search system that inventories civil and parish records and books at state and church archives throughout Poland (no images-see szukakawarchiwach.pl  for the images)

  • ELA (Population Database Records in Archival) is a search system to find censuses/lists/rolls/indexes/population records throughout Poland in the state archives (civil registration and parish registers searchable through PRADZIAD are not included)

  • Szukakawarchiwach.pl (Szukaka w Archiwach or Search the Archives) is a search system to find the actual images of civil registration records and parish records throughout Poland. Often you will first use PRADZIAD to find the archive where the records were created, then Szukakawarchiwach.pl to view the records online (no index)

  • Documentation Personal and Payroll is a search system that inventories business and wage employers in Poland from records kept at the state archives in Poland.

  • Registry books from resource AGAD online is a browsable resource at the Central Archives of Historical Records (a National Archive in Poland) where you can look at scanned images of parish registers and civil registrations in what is now eastern Poland, the Ukraine, western Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, and Austria.

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