Polish National Film Archives (Filmoteka Narodowa) needs your help!

by PGSA member Abbey Brewer

My cousin, Agata Zalewska, is the Film Collection Manager for Filmoteka Narodowa, the Polish National Film Archives in Warsaw. As a state cultural institution, Filmoteka Narodowa is charged with protecting national cultural heritage in cinematography and dissemination of film culture.
Since its inception in 1955, the Archives has been collecting and restoring all films made in Poland with the hope of finding copies of all films. It has an almost complete collection of films made from 1946 forward. Of course more early silent films are missing than later films.

As Polish Americans, we can be proud of the work Filmoteka Narodowa has done in preserving Polish cultural heritage. Today it has one of the largest film archives in Europe. It has restored 75% of Polish feature films made between 1930 and 1939. It is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives. Besides films, Filmoteka Narodowa has extensive collections of promotional materials, books, posters, stills and other materials related to films. It makes its materials available in its Library, through movie showings and festivals and lending, and through the production of print and digital media.

For instance, Agata gifted me with one of Filmoteka Narodowa’s publication of a DVD containing six restored shorts and an introduction about the early days of World War II for Poland especially Warsaw. It was very well done and included an English version with subtitles.

Agata’s interest at Filmoteka Narodowa is in finding missing Polish films. Although it has become harder and harder to find films and in many ways it is a race against time, Filmoteka Narodowa keeps turning up a gem here and there. There is no telling where a film, full-length, documentary or short, may be found. For instance in the late 1990s, a 1929 film was found in the Royal Archives in Brussels; and in 2003 a 1914 film was purchased from Filmmuseum, Amsterdam. I believe others have been found in private collections stored away in attics and forgotten.

If you have any materials that would be of interest to Filmoteka Narodowa, know where any are or might be, would you please contact me or Agata?

Abbey H. Brewer
1422 E. Brooklake Drive
Houston, Texas 77077 USA
[email protected]
713-882- 7229

Agata Zalewska
Filmoteka Narodowa
00-975 Warszawa
ul. Puławska 61
[email protected]

New PGSA Website Launch!!!

We are in the final stages of development of the new PGSA website. In order to test the new membership system as much as possible, you may get some notices from the new site regarding passwords, membership status, or other. These will have reference to a site at , and this should be a signal to you to ignore this message for now, as it is regarding activity on the development site. This Friday we will launch the new version of the website and membership system. This will affect you in a few ways:

1. For security reasons, we cannot transfer usernames and passwords to the new system. Once the new site launches, your username will be your membership email address and your password will need to be reset. You can reset your password by going to the new home page, clicking the Log In link, then using the “Forgot Password” link on the login screen. Use your membership email address as your username, and check your email a few minutes later for the password reset link. If you don’t receive that email within 30 minutes, check your spam folder. Once your password is reset, you’ll be able to login to the new site and receive member discounts once again.

2. In this new version of the membership system, renewal will work a bit differently than it has in the past. We have transitioned all active memberships from the old system to the new. When your currently active membership expires, you will renew by going to the main membership page and signing up for the subscription that best suits you.

3. Please note that this is a new system for everyone, including site administrators. There will inevitably be some issues during the transition and we intend to address them all as quickly as possible. Please be patient with us as we are learning the new system and doing our best to serve you well.

Ultimately this is a more robust and reliable system, and we are excited to bring this to the PGSA membership base. In this new version of the site, we will not immediately have the database searches available, however that improved search functionality (the ability to search all databases through one unified search) will be available in October.

Again, we are excited about this transition and do ask for your patience while we launch the new website and assist you with any issue you may encounter. We will send another note to the membership base when the new system is live with more detailed instructions on how to reset your password and report issues. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected]

Good Deal! Polish Surnames: Origins & Meanings CD

If you are looking for a wealth of information in as small a package as possible, this should interest you. This CD has all the information contained in the 2 print volumes (totaling 1,182 pages).

Volume I – Offers the history of surname development, typical name origins, suffixes, and the relationship of Polish surnames to Hebrew, Czech, German, Russian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian.

Volume II – Has a 50,000 entry index arranged by root names, it offers translations, derivations, and data on the number of Polish citizens bearing each name, and more.

CD: $25 (members $22.50)

Compendium of Polish Digital Web Sites!

Polish-ChurchPeruse this directory of 46 domestic and international sites presented as PGSA’s first step to inform and build awareness in the ability of our members to access Digitized Polish Vital Records via the internet. In addition, we will strive to mobilize our members to volunteer in the effort to transcribe and / or digitize Polish vital records before they fall victim to the ravages of time and are lost forever.

37th Anniversary Conference: Research Before and Beyond the Internet – Saturday, September 26, 2015



Before and Beyond the Internet Conference —

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Explore local entities, including unidentified old photos, to mine the golden nuggets!

2015 PGSA Conference & Bus Tour

Polish Chicago: From Fourth Partition to Suburbia


Dr. Dominic Pacyga, Keynote
Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dr. Pacyga was a featured contributor to the 2013 film –

The Fourth Partition
Polish Immigrants at the Dawn of the 20th Century

With their country erased from the map (1795) and partitioned between Russia, Austria, and Germany, around 4,000,000 Poles came to the United States between 1870 and 1920 in search of a better life. Their relocation is referred to as “the Fourth Partition.”

Dr. Pacyga will take us into the 21st century with their continuing migration.

Register today. Click here.

Book your hotel room here.

Before and Beyond the Internet Conference –

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dust off the box of old mystery photographs to identify them with Ellie Carlson’s expertise based on clothing, furniture, back-drops, and facial recognition.

Where haven’t you looked for brick-wall solutions? Ginger Frere will take you beyond the usual census and military records by seeking out neighborhood communities, local libraries, museums, historical societies, and local governments, in addition to NARA (National Archives and Records Administration).

Travel 4,500+ miles while remaining in your favorite chair! Ola Heska will show you how to obtain vital records from the Polish State Archives and find ancestors in the Polish Genealogical Society-Warsaw database. Bring your laptop/tablet.

Register today. Click here.

Book your hotel room here.

Chicago’s South Side Polonia Bus Tour –

Friday, September 25, 2015

See how our immigrant ancestors help put Chicago on the global stage. Through blood, sweat, and tears, Chicago rose to be “hog butcher of the world,” a dominating center of steel production, and site of the first planned industrial community in the United States. All this and more moved Chicago from small town to world-class city!

We’ll tour, visit, and reminisce sites including St. Adalbert parish, Union Stock Yards, St. Mary of Perpetual Help parish, US Steel South Works, St. Michael the Archangel parish, Pullman Palace Car Company, and more “Historic scenes through mobile means” via luxury coach bus with choice of Panera box lunch, and knowledgeable and exciting tour guides leading the way.

Sorry, sold out

Book your hotel room here.

Be sure to add the Notebook’s email address

Be sure to add the Notebook’s email address [email protected] to your address book or “safe senders” list as soon as you subscribe to the Notebook so it will be delivered directly to your in box. If you cannot find your monthly issue of the Notebook, be sure to check your “junk mail” or spam box for your email account. If you continue to have difficulty receiving the Notebook, contact your Internet Service Provider about the issue directly