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Advice for Members: Genealogy / Family History

Wroclaw 44 | 5,379  
20 Jun 2009 /  #1
PolishForums and Genealogy / Family History. (part 1)

Looking for a family name.

The first thing new members and guests like to do is check the existence and meaning of a family name. This is worthwhile because some names might have gone through a series of changes over the years.

In the past, when people moved from Poland to another country, they were required to give details to the local authorities. In most cases the members of staff working for these authorities had no knowledge of the Polish language. This meant that names were often transcribed phonetically. Added to this was/and still is the problem of using a different alphabet.

The thread: The Meaning Of Your Polish Last Name: by Polonius3 will help you in the search for a meaning to your family name.

Spelling of a family name.

The modern spelling of your name may make things seem difficult. But there is always an answer. Whereas the modern version might be a corruption caused by phonetics, it can be traced back by the same method. This is where a native speaker can knock down walls and give you something more to work with.

Am I really Polish ?

Many family papers and records might well give the impression that your family originated in countries other than Poland. For example: Russia, Prussia, Austria.
This is a result of history and changing borders: The Times of Partition. It is always wise to read up on the history of Poland. Don’t over do it though. Wikipedia is a good place to start, but please also consider the many well informed members and guests at PolishForums. Polish history is a popular topic, which means that, if you have a specific enquiery someone on the Forums will probably have an answer.

Other place names that can appear in family records include: Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine. Again, this is a result of history when Poland had expanded her borders.

The answer to this problem is not in the country of birth, but in the place of birth: village, town, city.

By using PolishForums Genealogy Resources thread you should find links that help to identify where a village is located. Keep in mind that as borders changed so did the name of some villages and towns. Members of this Forum are adept at coming up with answers to this type of enquiery rather quickly. And some relish the opportunity to help.

Part two will follow shortly.

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