Polish Magnate Landowner Records: Bringing “The Lords’ Jews” to Life

Polish Magnate Landowner Records: Bringing “The Lords’ Jews” to Life

with Pamela Weisberger & Natalie Dunai

Magnate records are often unstudied, but hold great genealogical and historical value. This talk covers a brief history of Galicia, explaining the symbiotic nature of the Magnate-Jewish interrelationship, where Jews sustained the economic institutions, while magnates furnished an environment for Jews to conduct religious and commercial activities. Magnate records are held in the Central State Historical Archive in Lviv and the Stefanyk National Scientific Library. Learn how to identify the magnates who owned the towns where your ancestors resided and access their files, along with the structure and contents of their record collections. View examples of “Inventories” dating to the 1700s using patronymics, lists of Jewish residents and tax-payers, contracts and occupation lists and records in 1853-1858 documents of the Austrian Empire State Commission on the liquidation of serfdom. Discover Jewish Magnates!  Your ”bubbe maises” about the great-grandfather who was a landowner (or even a Baron!) can be quite true.


Natalie Dunai, resides in Lviv, Ukraine. In 1991 she graduated from the Lviv University. Since 1996 she assists her husband Alex Dunai in genealogy research and since 2000 works full time as a professional genealogy researcher. She makes research in the archives all over Ukraine. Natalie combines archival research and tour assistance in her husband’s firm. She is fluent in English, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, reads handwritten German Gothic and Latin. Her particular area of expertise are 18-19 centuries’ property records and using ancient maps for finding modern locations.

Pamela Weisberger is president and research coordinator for Gesher Galicia, 1st V.P. of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles, and was co-chair of the 2010 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. She is a professional genealogist and internationally-known lecturer, having spoken to groups in the U.S. , Poland, Israel and Canada. She’s researched in archives throughout Poland, Ukraine and Hungary, specializing in map and newspaper resources. She holds a B.A. from Washington University and an M.S. from Boston University.

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.

Search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and Archival Inventory today, and learn about our terrific member benefits for genealogists, researchers, and families, starting at just $36/year. You can join online!