This online index is a compilation of death notices appearing in the Dziennik Chicagoski, Chicago’s Polish daily newspaper, for the years 1890-1929. The Polish Genealogical Society originally published indexes for the years 1890-1929 as a series of four books, which are available for sale by PGSA and available at many libraries in the United States.
- About the Index Format
- About the Scope of the Indices
- How to obtain copies of death notices
- To translate a death notice use the Obituary Translation Guide
- About the PGSA Library Research Policy
During these years the newspaper was in its infancy, and death notices were neither numerous nor as detailed as they would later become.
In order to maintain consistency, the online index will not include the names of all relatives mentioned in each death notice as was done in the printed version of the death notice index.
By this time, the circulation of the newspaper more than doubled, which meant that not only was the Polish population in Chicago growing but also that more and more Poles were choosing to have death notices printed in it.
Zmarli (also called Umarli): this was a list of Poles who had died recently, and was an “official list”, presumably from whatever agency kept vital statistics for Chicago at that time. Zmarli merely list the deceased’s name, date of death, age, and address.
If a death notice entry was a Zmarli this fact is noted in the comments column of the online index. Any information not given is noted with”–” in the appropriate index column.
If any relatives with different surnames are mentioned in a death notice, they have been listed as cross-references in the comments column. The same is true if any maiden-names (nee) or aliases (aka) are mentioned.
A standard feature of the newspaper throughout this decade is the Notatki Reportera (Reporter’s Notes). Sometimes these Reporter’s Notes mention the deaths of people who never appeared in any death notice; sometimes the notes give additional details about the circumstances of the subject’s death. These entries are noted as Notatki Reportera in the comments column of the online index.
If an death notice entry was a Zmarli this fact is noted in the comments column of the online index.
Users of the printed index volumes will notice a difference in the online format from what appeared in print. In order to maintain consistency across the multiple volumes comprising the death notice index, cross-references have been standardized as “see Surname, Given” in the comments column.
Scope of the Indexes
To all Chicago researchers and others who might have occasion to refer to the death index of the Dziennik Chicagoski:
Having used these index books quite successfully to find obits of relatives, I assumed that all my Chicago relatives with obviously Polish-sounding names would be listed. When my great-great-grandmother didn’t show up, I was quite stumped. An e-mail from Fred Hoffman confirmed that not all deaths were listed. They charged money to place the obit,and not everybody had the money. Separate lists of “zmarli” appeared without details, presumably at no charge. Tom Hollowak indicated that in the early volumes the”zmarli” lists were included in the index, but he thought this practice may have been dropped in later years as they became more numerous. It was his guess that far less than 25% of the relevant deaths were caught in the index. He also thought that some believed that placing an obituary was unnecessary, since all the friends, relatives,and parishioners would know of the death anyway.
This is mentioned not as a limitation of the index volumes, which do a wonderful job of doing what they say they do, which is point to the display-type obituaries in the newspaper. I mention it to caution other researchers that just because someone we’re looking for isn’t in the index, it doesn’t mean they weren’t there. This can also apply to the death index available on microfiche at the LDS libraries. This can also apply at cemeteries, where pauper funeral records may have been removed after 25 years. This, I am told, was the practice at St. Adalbert’s where “term” graves were re-used after 25 years.
How to obtain copies
Please fill out Obituary Request Form.