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Jewish Records Indexing - Poland

How To Search
Our Database

The Award-Winning Searchable Database of Indexes to Jewish Records of Poland
JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization
under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

Changes coming during April 2022

JRI-Poland's website is changing!

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Three ways to give to JRI-Poland

An important note on funding the database:

To help fund JRI-Poland's indexing activity and growth, please contribute directly through our Donation page.

JRI-Poland fundraising is shtetl-specific so that you can direct your donations to support indexing records for your towns. Learn More.

(Please note: Donations made to JewishGen do not support the indexing of records that you can search in the JRI-Poland database.)

Hint: Save time by familiarizing yourself with the
Understanding Search Options and Search Strategies sections on this page.

Understanding Search Options

It is possible to search by surname, given name, and town or a combination of these. In addition, you can search by year ranges and record types. You can also specify a radius of, say, 50 or 100 kilometers from certain geographical coordinates. This can still focus your search, but also yield results from several different Gubernias.

  1. Search Parameters: Data Types
  2. Search Parameters: Search Types
  3. Geographical Region
  4. Radius Search
  5. Entry Range, Year Range and Record Types
  6. Output Options

1. Search Parameters: Data Types

Single Parameter Searches

The following parameters are now searchable:

  • Surname (in Surname fields)
  • Given Name (in Given Name fields)
  • Town (in Town fields only – see note below)
  • Any Field (Global text search in any field – will not accept numbers)

Note on Town searches:

Each Search Result table has a heading that identifies that town as a Town of Registration, one where vital records were registered. If you search for a town as the only search parameter, you will only receive search results that list the name of that town in another town's records. You will not receive results from its town of registration records. If you search for a town in combination with another parameter and use AND (see below), such as surname or given name, you will receive results from both the town of registration and from mentions of that town in another town's records.

When the Town name is known, it is recommended that you use the exact spelling of the town. For towns now in the Ukraine but formerly in Austrian Galicia, use the former Polish spelling.

Multiple Parameter Searches

You can search the database for up to four parameters. You can use the Operators AND or OR. Use of AND results in all entered parameters included in the response to your search. Use of OR results in one of the entered parameters included in the response to your search. For example:

  • Search for surname KATZ, AND given name Chaim, AND town Lodz, which produces results for Chaim KATZ in the Lodz records or any other town records where Chaim KATZ and Lodz are referenced. (This will include mentions of Chaim as the father in a record, when such information is available.)
  • Search the surname KATZ AND surname LEWIN, which produces results where an entry includes both KATZ and LEWIN.
  • Search for surnames KATZ OR COHEN, which produces results where either KATZ or COHEN are entered.
  • Search for given name Malka AND town Lodz produces results where both Malka and Lodz are referenced.
  • Search for given name Judka AND Lejb produces results where both Judka and Lejb are referenced (not only the double name Judka Lejb).
  • Search for given name Judka OR Lejb produces results where either Judka or Lejb are referenced.

2. Search Parameters: Search Types

You must select from the Search Types drop down menu to choose a method for interpreting the data. Choose from the following:

  • Sounds Like: This is a Daitch-Mokotoff soundex search. Daitch-Mokotoff converts the phonetic sound of the name or town into a numeric code. Click here for more information. Soundex searches can bring up many obviously false positives. To force the appearance of a specific letter in the search results rather than others with the same Soundex code, place square brackets [ ] around that letter. Example- a search for [BO]GANT will not result in any entries starting with WA as in WAGANT.
  • Phonetically Like: This search uses the Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching (BMPM) system. BMPM is an alternative to Daitch-Mokotoff soundex with fewer false hits. Click here for more information. (Note: The JRI-Poland Surname Distribution Mapper uses only the BMPM.)
  • Starts with: You must enter at least 3 letters to do a search. Example – a search for ROZEN would yield results for ROZEN, ROZENZWAJG, ROZENBAUM, ROZENFELD, etc.
  • is Exactly (SURNAMES): Search for the exact spelling of the name you wish to have displayed. A search for ROZENZWAJG would yield results with only that exact spelling. Other spellings with the same soundex would not appear in results, i.e. ROSENZWAJG or ROZENZWEJG. Note: Wildcards (* or ?) represent letters or groups of letters of which may or may not be a part of the name. Example – if you were uncertain whether your family name was ROZENZWAJG or ROZENWAJG (having different soundex codes) search ROZEN*WAJG.
  • is Exactly (Given Names): Searches for the exact spelling of given names may also display a limited number of givenname synonyms. E.g. Hersh, Herc, Hers, Hersz, Hirsh, Hirs, Hirsch, Herszhel, Tvi, Zvi, Zwi, Zwy, Zve.
  • Fuzzy: Search for names or towns which are different from your request by 1 letter or pair of transposed letters.
  • Fuzzier: Search for names or towns which are different from your request by 1 or 2 letters or pairs of transposed letters.
  • Fuzziest: Search for names or towns which are different from your request by 1/3rd of the length of your request letters. eg for surname KONOPIATY (length 9) results which are different from your request by up to 3 letters will be shown, for surname FRISCHWASSER (length 12) results which are different from your request by up to 4 letters will be shown.

3. Geographical Region

Searching by a geographical region is one way to focus your search in the general area where your ancestors lived. (To narrow your search further, use a town’s geographical coordinates to set the central point for a radius search.)

Looking up your town in JRI-Poland's Your Town section will provide the name of the Gubernia where your town was located during the period when the majority of the records were recorded. For Galician researchers, there is currently no master list of Wojewodztwa where your towns were located.

There is some data in the JRI-Poland database that is not referenced to any geographical area (the data in these collections include a broad area that covers many Gubernia/Wojewodztwa). For these collections, such as the Monitor Polski Announcements, Polish Aliyah Passports, or Russian-Jewish Fallen Soldiers of WWI, you must search the entire database – do not narrow your search by geographic region or coordinates.

Gubernia and Wojewodztwa where entries in the JRI-Poland database can be found:

Country/Region Gubernia/ Wojewodztwa Main Towns
Congress Poland Kalisz Kalisz, Kolo, Piatek, Wieruszow
Kielce Checiny, Kielce, Stopnica
Lomza Grajewo, Lomza, Ostrow Mazowiecka, Szczuczyn, Tykocin
Lublin Chelm, Kazimierz Dolny, Lublin, Zamosc
Piotrkow Czestochowa, Lodz, Piotrkow, Tomaszow Mazowiecka
Plock Ciechanow, Mlawa, Plock, Plonsk, Przasnysz
Radom Ilza, Opatow, Radom
Siedlce Biala Podlaski, Siedlce, Sokolow Podlaski
Suwalki Augustow, Mariampol, Sejny, Suwalki
Warszawa Gora Kalwaria, Pultusk, Radzymin, Warszawa
Russian Pale of Settlement Grodno Bialystok
Volhynia Kremenets
Austrian Galicia Krakow Krakow, Tarnow
Lwow Drohobycz, Lwow, Przemysl, Rzeszow, Sambor
Stanislawow Horodenka, Kolomyja, Stanislawow, Stryj
Tarnopol Brzezany, Jagielnica, Skalat, Tarnopol, Zloczow
Prussia   Bytom, Gliwice, Wroclaw, Torun

4. Radius Search

Our ancestors were mobile and you may discover that some of your family moved to a nearby sztetl or even many miles from your ancestral town. You can search a radius from the latitude/longitude of your town with a distance of 1 mile to 100 miles. Locate the coordinates of your town using the JewishGen Gazetteer.

This radius search allows you to cross the boundaries of Gubernia and Wojewodztwa, giving you a more flexible tool than using the Geographical Region restriction.

To search by radius:

  1. Enter the Latitude and Longitude of your town (example 5145, 1928 for Lodz).
  2. Select a radius of from 1 to 100 miles. (Entering 0 miles will not yield results)
  3. Geographical Region must be set to "All Regions"

5. Entry Range, Year Range and Record Types

These options allow a more focused search based on upload date, year of record and record types.

Entry Range: Select "ALL entries" for a full search of all data or Select a date to limit the search results to data added after a given month and year.

Year Range: Fill in years to limit search results to specific years of records. This is particularly useful in finding your family when there are many families with a similar surname in your town.

Example- Entering 1867 to 1882 would focus the search on entries recorded in those years. When searching for your ancestor’s year of birth, for example, always broaden the scope of the search. Births were often registered many years after the date of the event, and the ancestor may have been born earlier than family lore indicates.

Record Types: Select from this drop down menu to narrow your search based on Births, Marriages, Divorces, Deaths, Burials or Census/Book of Residents results.

6. Output Options

Output Format: Select the format in which your data will be displayed. If you have no preference leave the default "A table" selected.

Browser Window Output: Choose where your browser will display results.

Learn about building the database, history, current developments
and how you can help.

Search Strategies

The database search features provide an invaluable tool – both for expanding your overview or focusing searches and solving dilemmas associated with getting too many results when a search involves large towns and common surnames.

Please review the following tips to insure you are getting the most from your JRI-Poland database searches:

  1. Surnames and towns with accented characters
  2. Searching Surname in a specific town
  3. Narrowing your search when there are too many results
  4. Searching data that is not specific to a geographical area
  5. Reviewing the search results tables
  6. Surname Distribution Mapper

1. Surnames and towns with accented characters

If your ancestral surname is sometimes written with accented characters, do NOT enter these accented characters in the surname or town fields. If you do try to search using accented characters, you will not get back the results you are expecting!

There are a variety of accented characters used in Polish surnames. In some cases, they sufficiently modify the pronunciation of a name to also change the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex code for that name.

For example, a vowel that contains an ogonek (a little hook) beneath it causes the vowel to be pronounced with an "n" or an "m." Example: the "e" in Ostrolęka is written in Polish with an ogonek under the "e" and the town name is pronounced Ostrolenka.

If your town name or surname has an ogonek, to get best results:

  • Do NOT search by including the ogonek in the name. Instead, convert the name with the ogonek to the phonetic sound, then do a Daitch-Mokotoff soundex search.
  • Do NOT do an exact surname search.

When you do a Daitch-Mokotoff soundex search, the results will show entries for all soundex variations of the name. Therefore if you search for the town WENGROW or the surname WENGROWSKI it will provide results for:

Or if you search for PIONTEK you will get results for

It is important to remember that the data entry was done based on what we saw or thought we saw in the index. Therefore, if the 19th century clerk did not put the ogonek in a name when he wrote it out, we did not do so either. There may be versions of the name in our database that do not contain the ogonek and are not phoneticized with an "n" or "m". Therefore it is best also to search for the name without including the ogonek in the spelling.

For example, a town search for WEGROW or surname search for WEGROWSKI will get you some listings for those names spelled without the ogonek. But it will not get you listings for WENGROW or WENGROWSKI.

The ogonek is the ONLY accented character for which one should search phonetically in the JRI-Poland database.

For example, the name JASKOŁKA with a slashed L is pronounced JASKUWKA in Poland. But you should search for JASKOLKA, not the Polish phonetic JASKUWKA, even though the name contains the slashed L.

2. Searching Surname in a specific town

There are two different methods of accomplishing this. Let's search for JASKOLKA from Lomza.

Method 1: Enter the surname JASKOLKA and then skip down to Search by Distance from Town of Registration? Central Coordinates. Enter Radius = 1 mile. Look up the latitude and longitude of Lomza, Poland using the JewishGen Gazetteer and enter those numbers (5311, 2205). Click Start Search.

Method 2: Enter the surname JASKOLKA as the first parameter and enter the town Lomza as the second parameter. Make sure that "Match ALL of the above (logical AND)" is selected. Click Start Search.

3. Narrowing your search when there are too many results

There are a few ways to narrow your search. You need to select one of the following that best matches your search.

  1. Select the Gubernia or Wojewodztwa where your target person lived. Click here for more information.
  2. Perform a radius search of 10, 20, or 30 miles from the town where your target person lived. Click here for more information.
  3. Perform a multiple parameter search using Surname and given name or surname and town. Click here for more information.

4. Searching data that is not specific to a geographical area

To obtain results from these projects and similar ones, you must search the entire database - do not narrow your search by geographic region or coordinates. You must search the database and ensure that Geographical Region is set to "All Regions".

5. Reviewing the search results tables

It is important to review ALL the search results, table by table.

  1. There may be references to your towns in other town records. a. If you are really only interested in one town, Lodz for example, then specify Lodz in the search. ALL records returned will be for Lodz. b. If you are interested in a family from Lodz and with connections to Lodz, do NOT specify the town name and be sure to check search results for ALL towns.
  2. Examine ALL results; do not stop halfway through and ASSUME there is nothing more of interest.
  3. Note: in some cases, the town names in the search results tables will not appear alphabetically.
  4. Town columns in search results tables may show only the initial of the town name in the table header.
    I.e. "G" = Grajewo.

6. Surname Distribution Mapper

The Surname Distribution Mapper is a unique tool to supplement traditional data searches. It helps researchers understand graphically where their family names first appeared in the 19th century records and spread throughout Poland by decades from the early 1800s into the first part of the 20th century.

JRI-Poland is an independent non-profit tax-exempt organization
under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.