Finding Kashubian Church Records
Map of Churches
Attached is a map from the 1500’s that might be of interest to you before you explore the information on this page.
Where to Start Searching for your Family Information
It is very fortunate that Catholic Church record indexes (and some civil record indexes) from the Pomorskie Voivodeship are available online through the Pomeranian Genealogical Association (PTG). This database does not include the actual records, but it does record the book, page, and record # of the original documents, which can be helpful in obtaining more details from other sources. This database is free to everyone and you do not need to sign in. Below is a brief summary of how to use the website.
When you open the website, go to the PomGenBase tab (see screenshot below).
From the PomGenBase tab, the drop-downs that will be of most help are:
For Christenings, Marriages and Deaths, type in:
- A range of years you are looking for (broadening the range is helpful if you are uncertain of exact dates). If you want to narrow to just one year, put the same year in both boxes.
- Which Parish/Registry Office you are looking for (sometimes it is most helpful to leave the default at All Parishes/Registry Offices as families sometimes moved from one parish to another). But if you know your family’s parish, you can always just narrow the search that parish.
- Surnames – you might get the most information by keeping it more broad. Insert a just a surname rather than getting specific with first names. You can always add first names if the surname alone isn’t helpful enough. For the Parent surname for Christenings or Bride and Groom surnames for Marriages, you can either start with entering just one of their surnames or both.
- Search Method, try “Similar” rather than “Direct” or “Rough” – this seems to provide the most options as we know that names are often spelled differently from one record to another. As an example, if you type in Olszewski and check “direct” under Search Method, a woman’s name could be listed as Olszewska and would not be picked up under direct, but it would be picked up if you checked “similar.”
When you are looking for a child on the baptism page, a suggestion is to initially type in the Father’s surname but not the child’s first name. In doing so, you may also be able to identify other children in the same family and the year they were baptized.
In the example below, you can see three different sets of parents names listed in different years, which identifies children’s names and the year of their baptism. Note the different spellings of Anna’s Surname (one of the mothers). You will need to explore other records to validate that this is the same mother for all three children, but at least this record gives you a strong hint that it is.
For Marriages, you can type in the surname of the husband or the wife, or both. You might start with one spouse only, then check what names show up for the other spouse.
Sometimes you will see more than one spouse for a person. It was not uncommon for men and women to die young (due to disease, accidents, difficult childbirth, etc.).
If a couple had other children at home when a spouse died, the surviving spouse sometimes married again quickly (men needed someone to care for their children if the wife died, women needed a husband to bring in family income if the husband died).
Once you get a feel for the Baptisms, Marriage and Death records in this database, you will see how you can scroll between them to piece together what happened to a family. Then, you can use other sources to confirm the relationships and gather more information.
Death record index searches are similar to the baptism and marriage ones.
In the example above, the first two names listed are father and son. Micheal died in January 1850 at age 37. His wife gave birth to Joseph in March 1850, two months after her husband (Michael) died. Baby Joseph then died at age 1 year in 1851 (the additional information was obtained from other sources, but the PTG search was the initial data that led to a very interesting story beyond what is shown here).
Note the abbreviations for Age on this page:
lat = years
rok = year
dni = day
Parishes and Registry Offices
The Parishes and Registry Offices link takes you to the Pomeranian Metrical Books, which is helpful for the following reasons:
- You can see all the specific parish records and civil records that are available in the database
- You can see the range of years the information has been collected for births, marriages and deaths for each specific church. You can also see gaps in years that are missing (church fires and wars are speculated to be possible reasons).
- When you click on a church name in the first column, it takes you to a map of the location of that parish.
- Also, when you click on a specific church, you can see what Diocese holds the actual record and the book number in which the record can be found (most are held in the Pelplin Diocese).
While you do not get an actual record or the full date through this website, you can find the year that a person was baptized, married or buried. Then you can look for the actual record through other sources, knowing that you have it narrowed down to a year.
Where to Search Next
Because you can find many copies of actual records online, it is an efficient and practical way to obtain information from church records. A good place to start might be FamilySearch, since it is free (but you do need to register).
- Begin searching names and Baptism, Marriage and Death records of the family members you found on the PTG Index Website. In some cases, you can find a copy of the actual record directly through FamilySearch.
- Or you can start with a town with a church that you found on the PTG index site (eg. Brusy) and you may be able to find the church records that way.
Obtaining Church Records of the Pelpin and Gdansk Dioceses
Kashubian church records are maintained in either the Pelpin or the Gdansk Diocese. There are a few ways that you can access the records:
If you are traveling to Poland and want to find church records there, you can make an appointment with the Diocese (or sometimes directly through the church) but that can be very time-consuming and can keep you from exploring the churches, cemeteries and villages of your ancestors.
Contact information for Churches in the Diocese of Pelplin
Contact information for Churches in the Diocese of Gdansk
If the actual church records are not available through FamilySearch, or if traveling to Poland to search records is not possible, you might consider obtaining specific church CDs from Stanley Frymark. Stanley lives in Leśno, Chojnice in the Pomeranian Voivodeship. He has worked with the Gdansk Diocese and the Pelplin Diocese and has copies of the actual church records from those dioceses on CDs.
A listing of the church records that Stanley has access to from the Pelplin and Gdansk Dioceses can be found in the buttons below.
Once you have determined which CDs you would like to purchase, send an email to Stanley with your request at: email@example.com
CDs are $15 each (Stanley accepts U.S. checks for payment).
Checks should be mailed to him at:
Kashubian Churches – Photos taken in 2018