Catholic vital records from the Galician partition are written in Latin or Ukrainian (in East Galicia) and some entries will have later records and notes written in Polish. Jewish records are generally in Polish or Yiddish.
Vital records that are/could be available:
- Birth & Baptism
- Marriage Banns
- Death & Burial
- Status Animarum (a “census-like” listing of residents in a village)
Where to Start
You must know what religion your ancestors were:
- Greek Catholic (Uniate)
- Lutheran / Protestant
- Roman Catholic
Additionally, you must also know what village and/or church parish your ancestors came from. Records in Poland and Ukraine are available in local archives near where the village is.
If you don’t know the location of your ancestors village, this information can be found in US records such as naturalization paperwork, church marriage records and passenger manifests. Many times the village name can be spelled incorrectly so it is best to take the village name from these records and compare to a Gazetteer, such as the Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia by Brian J Lenus, available at the Hoffman Research Library, or Gesher Galicia’s Galician Town Locator.
Once you have the location and name of the parish center for your ancestor’s religion, start your search for records.
- Is the parish indexed on Geneteka?
- What is available at the Polish State Archives, National Archives, Historic Archives or State Archives of Ukraine? Keep in mind that some records will be scanned while others will only be available by visiting the archive itself.
- Are any records available on at FamilySearch?
- Is there a Church archive (such as Archdiocesan Archive) that would hold this parish’s vital, also known as metrical, records? For Polish Roman Catholic Galicia, the Archdiocesan locations are Kraków, Tarnów and Przemyśl.
- If there is a current church in the area, are records still available there? Visit Parafie provided by The Polish Genealogical Society.
- In Poland, records post-1890 will also be available at the local USC (local registry office). Search online at Google for today’s gmina plus USC and many will have an email address. (e.g. Majdan Królewski USC)
Some locations will have records online, others will have records in an archive that have not yet been digitized, and other locations will have absolutely nothing available.
Don’t give up hope if you’re not having luck! Contact PGS-MN and one of our genealogists can try to point you in the right direction!
Additionally, check out our Galician Research Strategies page to see examples.