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Polish Letter Writing Guide

Polish genealogical research often requires writing to Poland for information. This is especially true when the Genealogical Library (FHC) does not have records for the locality where your ancestor lived or when the microfilmed records at the library do not cover the time period you need.

 

In order to get information from local parishes, you must write directly to the parish. When writing to local parishes, it is best to write in Polish. All Polish state archives can be reached by writing in English to the Directorate of State Archives. You can also get information from local civil records offices by writing in English to the Directorate of State Archives. The Directorate will forward your request.

 

If you wish to write directly to the local civil records office, you should write in Polish. If you need to write a letter in Polish, use this Letter-Writing Guide. Read the sentences in English and choose those that best express what you want to say. Be sure your sentences are consistent and fit logically together. It is best not to ask for too much at once (one or two items, particularly in your first letter). Once you are satisfied with the way your letter is organized, type your letter in Polish using the equivalent Polish sentences. Some word processing software allows the special Polish characters to be entered into the body of the letter, if not, add the little dots and slashes with a pen. Be sure to give your own return address.

 


How to address your letter

Local parish

Catholic: Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
Orthodox: Parafia Prawoslawna
Lutheran: Parafia Ewangelicko-Augsburska
[Post Code*] [Town], woj. [Province**]
POLAND

Local Civil Records Office

Urzad Stanu Cywilnego
[Post Code*] [Town], woj. [Province**]
POLAND

* Use the Post Code (ZIP) if you have it; otherwise make sure that you include the wojewodstwo [Province]. The Post Code can be obtained from the Oficjalny Spis Pocztowych Numero Adresowych.

** To determine the Province [województwo] use the latest Polish administrative map.

 

Examples:

Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
36-140 Sokolów Malopolska
POLAND
Parafia Rzymsko-Katolicka
Sokolów Malopolska
woj. Rzeszow
POLAND

Remember, if you address your letter to a parish or local records office, you must write the letter in Polish.


Directorate of State Archives

 

Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwow Panstwowych
ul. Dluga 6, skr. poczt. 1005
00-950 Warszawa
POLAND

 

You may write in English to the Directorate of State Archives and your request will be forwarded to the appropriate local civil records office.


How to send Money

This Letter Writing Guide includes several sentences regarding payment or the sending of money. When writing to the Directorate of State Archives or to the local civil records office do not send money. They will bill you for their services which can be quite expensive. When writing to a local parish you may send money, if you wish. A donation of $5 or $10 is appropriate. The safest way to send money is in the form of a New York bank draft which can be obtained at your local bank. Some researchers send cash. If you do not feel comfortable sending money through the mail you may indicate your desire to make a donation and ask how they would like to receive it. Money should not be sent to parishes as payment, but always as a donation.


GENEALOGICAL TERMS AND SENTENCES

1. Names of months:

 

(Dates are written day-month-year e.g., 21. marca 1885 r.)

January stycznia
February lutego
March marca
April kwietnia
May maja
June czerwca
July lipca
August sierpnia
September wrzesnia
October pazdziernika
November listopada
December grudnia

 

2. Greetings:

Dear sir, Szanowny Panie, [Civil Records Official]
Dear Father, Drogi Ojcze, [Catholic or Orthodox]
Reverend Priest, Szanowny Ksieze, [Catholic or Orthodox]
Dear Pastor, Drogi Pastorze, [Protestant]

 

3. I live in the U.S.A., but my ancestry is from Poland and I would like to know more about my Polish ancestors.

 

Mieszkam w Stanach Zjednoczonych, i jestem polskiego pochodzenia. Chcialbym [chcialabym, if you are female] dowiedziec sie wiecej o moich przodkach.

 

4. I am preparing a history of my ancestors in Poland and need information from your vital records.

 

Spisuje historie moich przodkow z Polski, i dlatego potrzebne mi sa pewne dane z ksiag metrykalnych.

 

5. The following individual is my ancestor who was born in Poland. I have given all the vital data about this person that I have.

 

Nastepujaca osoba, ktora urodzila sie w Polsce, jest moim przodkiem. Podaje wszystkie dane jakie o niej posiadam.

 

6. The following individuals are my ancestors who were born in Poland. I have given all the vital data about them that I have.

 

Nastepujace osoby, ktore urodzily sie w Polsce, sa moimi przodkami. Podaje wszystkie dane jakie o nich posiadam.

 

7. Give as much pertinent information as possible. Use only those items below for which you can give accurate information relevant to what you are requesting. Do not give information about events which occurred after the ancestor left Poland.

 

name and surname: imie i nazwisko:
date of birth (approximate): data urodzenia (w przyblizeniu):
place of birth: miejsce urodzenia:
full name of father: imie i nazwisko ojca:
full maiden name of mother: imie i nazwisko panienskie matki:
first name of mother: imie matki:
full name of husband: imie i nazwisko meza:
full maiden name of wife: imie i nazwisko panienskie zony:
first name of wife: imie zony:
date of marriage: data slubu:
place of marriage: miejsce slubu:
date of emigration: data emigracji:
religion: wyznanie:
Orthodox: prawoslawne Roman Catholic: rzymsko-katolickie
Jewish: zydowskie Greek-Catholic: grecko-katolickie
  Evangelical-Lutheran: ewangelickie

 

8. Please send me a complete extract of the birth or christening record (1) of this person. (2) of these persons.

Prosze o przeslanie mi pelnego odpisu swiadectwa urodzenia lub chrztu (1 ) tej osoby. (2) tych osob.

 

9. Could you please check your birth records from (year) to (year) for the birth record of this person?

 

Prosze sprawdzic czy macie w aktach od roku (year) do roku (year), swiadectwo urodzenia tej osoby.

 

10. Please send me a complete extract of the marriage record (1) of these persons. (2) of this person's parents.

 

Prosze o przeslanie mi pelnego odpisu swiadectwa slubu (1 ) tych osob. (2) rodzicow tej osoby.

 

11. I would like to know more about the family of this person and if you would provide the names and birthdates of the brothers and sisters and an extract of the marriage record of the parents, I would be very grateful.

 

Interesuje mnie rodzina tej osoby i bylbym wdzieczny [bylabym wdzieczna if you are female] za podanie mi imion, nazwisk, oraz dat i miejsc urodzenia rodzenstwa, jak rowniez przeslanie mi odpisu aktu slubu rodzicow.

 

12. I believe that (name) died in your area about (date). I would like a complete extract of the death record.

 

Mysle ze (name) zmarl [zmarla, if it is a female who died] w Waszej okolicy okolo (date) roku. Prosze, o przeslanie mi pelnego odpisu aktu zgonu.

 

13. Could you please tell me what year your parish opened and the date when records are first available?

 

Chcialbym [Chcialabym, if you are female] dowiedziec sie, kiedy parafia zostala zalozona a takze od kiedy istnieja ksiegi parafialne?

 

14. If it is possible to receive photocopies of parish entries, I would be greatful.

 

Jesli istnieje mozliwosc otrzymania kserokopii wpisow do tych ksiag, to bylbym wdzieczny [bylabym bardzo wdzieczna, if you are female] za ich przeslanie.

 

15. If you do not have the necessary records, I request that you provide the address of the place where such records can be found.

 

Jesli te akta nie sa w Waszym posiadaniu to prosze o podanie mi adresu, gdzie sie one znajduja.

 

16. Please let me know the cost for your help and how I can pay.

 

Prosze takze o poinformowanie mnie, jakie sa koszta Waszej pomocy i w jaki sposob moge je uregulowac.

 

17. Please let me know how I can make an offering to your parish in exchange for your help.

 

Prosze takze o poinformowanie mnie, w jaki sposob moge przeslac ofiare pieniezna dla Waszej parafii by podziec za okazana mi pomoc.

18. I enclose $ (amount) as an offering for your parish.

 

Zalaczam (amount) dolarow jako ofiare na Wasza parafie.

 

19. I need the information from the parish register of the Evangelical Lutheran parish in (Polish name of parish/town); in German, (German name of parish/town) I will be most grateful if you would inform me where the records of this Evangelical parish are presently to be found.

 

Potrzebne mi sa dane z ksiag metrykalnych ewangelickiej parafii w (Polish name of parish/town), po niemiecku (German name of parish/town). Bede bardzo wdzieczny [wdzieczna, if you are female] za podanie mi, gdzie mozna obecnie znalezc ksiag metrykalne tej parafii.

 

20. My ancestor was a Greek Catholic in (parish/town) . I would like to locate the christening and marriage records of the Greek-Catholic parish. Are these records available in your (1 ) parish office? (2) archive? Has an Orthodox church taken them? If the records are not available to you, could you provide the address where the records may be found?

 

Moj przodek byl wyznania grecko-katolickiego w (parish/town). Potrzebne mi sa dane z akto chrztu i slubow grecko-katolickiej parafii. Czy sa one dostepne w (1 ) Waszej parafii? (2) Waszym archiwum? Czy kosciol prawoslawny ma je w swoim posiadaniu? Jesli nie macie tych akt w Waszej parafii, to czy moge otrzymac adres, gdzie sie one znajduja?

21. In order to prepare a history of my family, I need Information from the Jewish records of birth, marriage, and death from your community. If you know where such records were kept and where they are presently located, would you please inform me?

 

W celu uzupelnienia historii mojej rodziny, potrzebne mi sa dane z zydowskich ksiag urodzin, slubow i zgonow z Waszej okolicy. Jesli Panstwo wiecie gdzie takie akta byly spisane i gdzie sie obecnie znajduja, to prosze uprzejmie o poinformowanie mnie o tym.

 

22. I would like to locate any relatives who may live in your town. My ancestor was (full name). He resided in (place of residence) before he left for America in (year) . If you know any persons of this name or relatives of the family, I would be grateful if you would give this letter to them so that they can contact me.

 

Pragne odnalezc krewnych za w Waszej miejscowosci. Moj przodek nazywal sie (full name) i mieszkal w (place of residence) przed swym wyjazdem do Ameryki w roku (year). Jesli znacie Panstwo ludzi o tym nazwisku lub ich krewnych, to prosze o przekazanie im tego listu, aby mogli oni sie ze mna skontaktowac.

 

23. I thank you in advance for your assistance.

Za wszelka pomoc w tej sprawie bede Panstwu bardzo wdzieczny [wdzieczna, if you are female].

 

24. Closings:

with regards, z wyrazami szacunkiem,
respectfully, z powazaniem,

 

25. My address:

 

Mój adres:


The following sentences may be used in writing follow-up letters.

 

26. Thank you for the information you have sent. It has helped me very much.

 

Dziekuje za informacje, które mi Panstwo przeslaliscie. Bardzo mi one pomogly.

 

27. I need further information about one of the individuals you mentioned in your letter. This is (name).

 

Potrzebne mi sa dodatkowe dane o jednej z osób o której mi Panstwo napisaliscie. Jest to (name).

 

28. I have already received from you the following data about this person:

 

Juz od Panstwa otrzymalem [otrzymalam, if you are female] nastepujace dane o tej osobie: [see number 7] 

 

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