Inventories of Jewish Galician Records at the Central Archives of Historical Records (AGAD), Warsaw
In the early 1950s, a large consignment of archival material arrived in Warsaw from areas in the eastern parts of interwar Poland, which were by then in the Soviet Union. The contents included vital (metrical) records and community records from the main religious communities of the region—Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Russian Orthodox. These records had been kept by separate offices, according to religious affiliation. The books were from towns that—during the Second Polish Republic (1919-1939)—had been in the Wołyń (Volhynia), Polesie, and Nowogródek voivodeships, and the eastern part of Białystok voivodeship—as well as the voivodeships of Lwów, Stanisławów and Tarnopol, the three eastern “Galician” provinces. The Jewish element in this contingent, though—consisting of some 5,500 sets of vital records (both in bound form and loose) and index books of vital records, censuses, and community material and correspondence—came only from the Galician areas.
This material was then safely stored away in the Ministry of Information in Warsaw for 30 years. In the early 1980s, it was decided to bring out this forgotten storehouse of information. Those sets of records with vital information that were more than 100 years old were sent to the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw, AGAD (Archiwum Główne Akt Dawnych). Those less than 100 years old were earmarked for the Civil Registration Office (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego, USC) in Praga district, Warsaw.
Of the Jewish bound volumes of vital records, 1,750 went to AGAD. The remainder of those books, around 3,750 of them, were directed to the USC office. The division, though, was not done very accurately, with the result that AGAD received several hundred books that were, at the time, less than 100 years old. Since 1997, USC Warsaw has been transferring to AGAD those books that have become more than 100 years old. As of mid-2019, AGAD held in its Fond 300 4,101 Jewish vital record books and indexes of vital records books from 109 localities, all but four of them located in the eastern part of the former Galicia. USC Warsaw still holds around 700 Jewish Galician vital record books.
In 2015, an amended Polish law applying to Civil Registration Offices took effect, which allowed death and marriage records more than 80 years old to be made publicly available, while the restriction on birth records remained at 100 years.
The file with the earliest records in Fond 300 is Sygnatura (file number) 388, with death records from Kamionka Strumiłowa dating from 1789. The latest records are of two marriages in early 1943, from an index book of Jewish marriages in 1943.
Because of the lowering of the period to 80 years, during which Civil Registration Offices have to withhold marriage and death records, most of the Jewish marriage and death records that had earlier been held at USC Warsaw have now been sent to AGAD. The last bound record books to be transferred, with records going up to 1941 or records up to 1942, will be dispatched to AGAD in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Included among these batch will be a book of death records of 1941-1942 from Brody, a town which at present has no vital record books in Fond 300.
AGAD has made scans of over 98% of the books currently in Fond 300, and has added links to these to AGAD’s own online inventory. Gesher Galicia’s inventory has included the links to all the files that have been digitally scanned by AGAD.
For Gesher Galicia’s inventory of Fond 300, click here.
AGAD has a second set of Jewish records, Fond 424, currently consisting of 207 files. Many of these are also vital records, but in loose form (such as certificates and certifications of vital events), as opposed to the bound volumes in Fond 300. There are also community records (over 30 of them from Tarnopol) and marriage banns records (not necessarily in loose form).
Most of the towns with records in Fond 424 are from the eastern part of the former Galicia, while a few, such as Kraków, Lesko and Przemyśl, are from western Galicia. There are also a handful of towns now in Ukraine that were never in Galicia, including from the former Bukovina and the interwar Polish Volhynian voivodeship.
Gesher Galicia has scanned those files in Fond 424 with useful genealogical information, and has made them available in the members-only area of the Gesher Galicia website. Many of these scanned files have also been indexed by Gesher Galicia.
For the inventory of Fond 424, click here.