Writing to Poland for Records

Polish genealogical research often requires writing to Poland for information. This is especially true when Family Search and other sources do not have the records for your village or do not cover your specific time period. In these cases, writing directly to the parish or local civil registrar is a viable course of action.

    First, the parish priest is unlikely to read English, or read it well; therefore, it is best to write in Polish with English below. Civil offices might or might not have an English speaking employee, so writing in Polish in addition to English is advised.
    Second, in the past these communications were by post. Today, many parishes in Poland have websites and email. To locate parish contact information, refer to the Geography – Parish Search entry under the Research Sources tab on this website or attempt a Google search.
    Third, many priests do not have the time or desire to provide genealogical data, even if you visit the parish in person, the result being you might not receive a response. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    It is best not to ask for too much at once. Consider only one or two items, particularly in your first letter.
    Do not forget to include your return address and email address.
    Be sure to include the Postal Code; otherwise, be sure to include the name of the województwo [Province]. The Postal Code can be obtained from an alphabetical list on the Polish post office site found HERE.
    In addition to the postal code, the above referenced postal site provides the województwo/province for each village and city.

    FamilySearch has an extensive section on how to write requests to Polish parishes and civil registration offices for copies of vital records.
    You can reach it HERE.
    This “Letter Writing Guide” enables you to construct a request by selecting from sets of standard sentences in English and Polish to build a short, but complete, communication. Read the sentences in English and choose those that best express what you want to say. Be sure your sentences are consistent and fit logically together. Note that at certain points you need to insert the name of the person, date, etc.