Vital records are the natural starting-off point for researchers. These birth, death, marriage and divorce records for Galicia can be located in a variety of archives – scattered in different places, even for a single town. The ways records were divided after the war often didn’t follow any kind of logic.
To learn what archive has metrical records for your town, the best place to start is Miriam Weiner’s Routes to Roots Foundation: www.rtrfoundation.org. Go to the “search the database” tab there, or use this direct link: http://www.rtrfoundation.org/archdta.shtml.
If your town’s vital records are held in Poland and are over 100 years old, odds are they have been indexed by JRI-Poland or are in the works to be indexed.
If, however, the records are scattered between Polish and Ukrainian archives, the Ukrainian-held ones will not be found on JRI-Poland. Gesher Galicia has started indexing these records, and those for towns including Drohobycz, Lviv (Lemberg/Lwow), Zbaraz, Brody and more are searchable on our All Galicia Database.
These records are not duplicates of what is found on JRI, but are different records covering different events in time. To get the full picture of your family’s history you need to search everything you can find. JRI-Poland and Gesher Galicia have embarked on a project to provide the most accurate inventory of the LDS films of the Jewish vital records from the Central State Historical Archives of Ukraine in Lviv. The inventories have been created and updated by volunteers who have viewed the films and we believe these are the most accurate inventories available. To view them click here.
Some of the funding from GARP will go towards these indexing projects. If you wish to fund a vital records indexing project–or organize one for your town–please let us know. These can be costly projects, due to the greater number of records, but using volunteers to do the indexing can make the project more financially manageable. We can work with you to organize this!
Many of these records have been filmed by the Mormons, so you can view the images at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or order films to be sent to your local Family History Center.
Jewish Census Records from Galicia
A few census records do exist for individual Galician towns from the 19th and 20th centuries, and “inventories” (similar to census records) from the 18th centuries. Gesher Galicia has individual town census records dating from 1775/6 (Zbaraz, Grzymalow) 1880 (Rava Ruska) 1890 and 1910 (Tarnopol) 1939 and 1941 (Stanislawow) to name a few. Some pre-date the taking of surnames by the Jews and in those cases either patronymics, occupations (baker, stallkeeper, etc.) or personal qualities (stary, i.e. old) are used to identify the people with the same given name. These invaluable documents usually list the age, place of birth and occupation of the residents. Census records have been found in historical archives, magnate archives in libraries, in the USHMM microfilm collection in Washington, DC and at the Central Archives in Jerusalem.
Current Census Projects – Tarnopol & Stanislawow
We currently have a partial 1890 and full 1910 Jewish Census for Tarnopol. The Tarnopol 1910 Census is completed and will be going online in early January. Qualified donors to the project can receive password links to view the entire census images and/or view an Excel file with all the data in advance of it going online. Visit our Tarnopol 1910 Jewish Census Project page for specifics here:
http://www.geshergalicia.org/projects/tarnopol-1910-census/Donation levels are:
$180: You will receive a password to view the census images and a copy of the Excel spreadsheet once ready – most likely by late December.
$100: You will get a copy of the Excel spreadsheet in late December and 20 scans of census pages requested from our staff starting in February.
$50: You will get 10 pages of scans you request from our staff starting in February.
Use the DONATE button on our home page for donation information.
Both the 1939 Stanislawow Census and 1890 Tarnopol Census Project will be started soon, with the goal of completion in a year of less. If you are interested in contributing to that work, go to our donations page. Your support is most welcomed.
We also have complete lists for every Galician town with a Jewish community of schoolteachers, rabbis, cantors, and sochets for a variety of years. These are currently being indexed with the information to be included in the AGD. We also have a list of children born in the years 1913-1925–which we refer to as a “children’s census”–for Grzymalow and it is included in the AGD.
If you know of any records of this type, even those held in private collections, or if you want to volunteer to index, please contact us.
Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people research their Jewish family roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire province of Galicia, which is today southeastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. Our organization's primary focus is researching Jewish roots in Galicia, but the diverse community records in our databases contain names that span all the ethnic and religious groups who once lived in this region.