Book and Magazine Reference Recommendations

General Genealogy

  • Ancestry’s Guide to Research
    by J. Cerny and A. Eakle. Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Publishing.
    A great book for beginning genealogists!
  • Tracing Your Ancestry by F. Wilbur Helmbold.
    Another good resource for American genealogy.
  • The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy
    by Val D. Greenwood. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1001 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD, 21202
    Often the text of choice in courses in American genealogy. The National Genealogical Society uses it as its basic text in their home study courses.
  • Voices in Your Blood by G.G. Vandagriff.
    Narrative, humanistic approach to American genealogy by an author of Polish/German ancestry.
  • Handbook of Genealogical Sources
    by George K. Schweitzer, Ph.D., ScD, Knoxville, TN:407 Regent Court, Knoxville, TN 37923-5807.
    A very detailed, step-by-step handbook for locating American genealogical sources with precise information on how to get information from them. Barbara Fink is especially in awe of its thoroughness.
  • Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives
    by Staff of the National Archives. National Archives and Records Service, Washington D.C.
    The National Archives houses major U.S. genealogical resources: censuses, naturalization papers, ships lists, etc. This book tells you what’s there and how to access it.

Polish Genealogy

  • Polish Roots
    by Rosemary A. Chorzempa. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.
    Basic American and Polish Genealogy. Good reference and informative Polish history resource.
  • Essentials in Polish Genealogical Research
    by Daniel M. Schlyter. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
    A MUST. Explains basic research but, most importantly, explains what Polish resources are to be found in the Family History Library and how to use those resources. This library is the most comprehensive genealogical resource library in the world. Their Polish holdings are numerous and excellent.
  • The Study of Obituaries as a Source for Polish Genealogical Research
    by Thomas E. Golembiewski. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
    Contains glossaries for terms describing causes of death, religious titles, abbreviations, common family relationship terms.
  • Index to the Obituaries and Death Notices Appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski
    compiled by Thomas Hollowak and William F. Hoffman. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America. Four volumes covering the years 1890-1929.
    The Dziennik Chicagoski was the prominent Polish language newspaper in Chicago. Wonderful resource for those whose families ever lived in Chicago. Also a good resource for finding accepted spellings of Polish family surnames.
  • The Latin Church in the Polish Commonwealth in 1772
    by Stanislaw Litak. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
    Excellent resource for finding an ancestral village church. Church sites expanded over the years, but these churches generally continued to exist. Includes village index and maps.
  • Roman Catholic Parishes in the Polish People’s Republic in 1984
    by Lidia Mullerowa. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
    For more recent church locations. It also includes village and town index and numerous maps.
  • A Translation Guide to 19th Century Polish-Language Civil-Registration Documents: (Birth Marriage and Death Records)
    compiled and edited by Judith R. Frazin. Northbrook, IL: Jewish Genealogical Society of Illinois, c/o 1025 Antique Lane, Northbrook, IL 60062
    A step-by-step blueprint for Polish-to-English translations of these key documents. Especially good genealogical vocabulary indexes in English-to-Polish and Polish-to-English. Although helpful in all Polish research translations, it is extremely helpful to those whose ancestors came from Russian Poland before the records were required to be written in Russian.
  • Following the Paper Trail: A Multilingual Translation Guide
    by Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman. Teaneck, NJ: Avotaynu, Inc., P.O. Box, Teaneck, NJ 07666
    A more encompassing though less detailed guide to translating civil and church records. Also has genealogical vocabulary terms for each language. Among the many languages included are German, Latin, Polish and Russian.
  • Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings
    by William F. Hoffman. Chicago, IL: Polish Genealogical Society of America.
    A fun read and a comprehensive explanation of our incomprehensible ancestral surnames. Includes an index of some 30,000 common surnames.
  • Euro-Reiseatlas Polen (Poland) by R.V. Verlag.
    Published in Germany but available at genealogical bookstores. Best atlas of modern Poland. Almost all the villages and towns in existence are included. A worthwhile purchase. 1:200,000 maps.
  • Polish and Proud: Tracing Your Polish Ancestry
    by Jon and Len Gnacinski.
    May be out of print but is available at the Chicago Polish Library and Museum. Particularly good for its Polish letter writing guide in which you need only “fill in the blanks.”
  • Slownik Nazu Geogisiczn by Rospond.
    This out-of-print dictionary may be found in genealogical libraries and the Polish Library and Museum in Chicago.
    This is a dictionary of Polish names for formerly held German-named locations. It is essential for research to know both the Polish and equivalent German name of your ancestor’s town or village if it was ever under German control.


We are including a few suggestions that may be of help to those who have an interest in researching their Polish heraldry.

  1. Over the years many excellent articles about heraldry have been written in the various newsletters, journals and bulletins of the PGSA. Look through the above-mentioned Index for the location of these articles.
  2. The Polish Library and Museum in Chicago has a number of books on heraldry. Of special note are Herbarz Polska (Armorials of Poland) by Stupnicki and Herbarz Polski by Kasper Nesieki. These are both written in Polish.