Dear Researcher

Part I: How the PGSA Can Help You

The Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA) welcomes your recent request for information about your family. The PGSA does not have family records, and our host, the Polish Museum of America Library, does not keep genealogy records. Rather, we are an educational organization, helping people learn how to research their family’s history. Although we cannot do genealogical research for you, we are happy to help guide you in this complex and exciting process.

Although there are published histories of a few families, and many people share family information, most genealogical research consists of searching a variety of sources to assemble information about your family. Many of us have been involved for years; the more we find, the more we want to know.

Here are some things we at PGSA can do for you:

Welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy!

Part II : Getting Started WITH GENEALOGY

  • Start with the present and work backward. Begin with your own memories; query family members. Collect family records, pictures, and memories.
  • Begin learning how to do genealogy. Like driving a car or taking up chess, you need to know something about the process to achieve the best results.
    • Any public library is likely to have a useful genealogy collection, which will help you learn more about family research. In most public libraries, look in the non-fiction section in the 929s. For Polish genealogy, we recommend Polish Roots , by Rosemary Chorzempa; supplement it with the more recent Finding Your Polish Ancestors (LaBudie-Szakall and Zalesky).
      • Look for old newspapers, local history, census records, and picture files.
      • Use the library’s computers to access genealogy on the Internet.
    • There are many lectures, courses, and seminars on how to do genealogy that will provide with a systematic approach to genealogy. Likely sources:
      • Local, national, and ethnic genealogical societies. For example, the PGSA offers an annual genealogy conference.
      • Community colleges and adult education institutions.
  • The Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) provide access to thousands of microfilmed records from around the world, including the U.S. and Poland. To identify local LDS Family History Centers (FHC), consult the telephone book or the LDS Website at www.familysearch.org.
  • Consult available censuses (1790 through 1930).
    • Many libraries and Family History Centers offer direct access to the census through Ancestry, Inc. or Heritage Quest; ask at your local libraries and FHCs.
    • Census microfilms are available at the National Archives (www.nara.gov ) and its branches. University and large public libraries may have census microfilms.
  • There are many websites devoted to genealogy.

We hope these suggestions will help you begin your research.

–The PGSA Volunteers