Can you find your ancestors in Poland?

We thank Ernie Chorny for submitting the following article.

After World War II the Polish and Soviet governments put in place a policy to relocate Poles from Western Ukraine to Poland and simultaneously relocate Ukrainians from Polish territory to Ukraine.

Since theoretically there would not be any Poles in Ukraine it was decided to also move the Roman Catholic church records to Poland. While the church records listed marriage, birth and death information for Roman Catholics, they also included information on Greek Catholics where intermarriage had occurred between people of these two faiths. Thus in the case of a Greek Catholic Ukrainian man marrying a Roman Catholic woman, the marriage would be recorded in the Roman Catholic books. Conversely if a Roman Catholic man married a Greek Catholic woman, the record would be in the Greek Catholic books. No doubt there were exceptions to these rules.

So it is entirely possible that a Ukrainian person currently of the Greek (Ukrainian) Catholic faith could have a Polish grandmother.

Fortunately these records are available online

(Before going any further you need to know the Polish spelling for your ancestral village. Once this information is available, access the chosen website (see below). The language is Polish but that is not of concern.)


Scroll down the page to the heading “Hasla geograficzne”; under that heading is the list of villages with digitized church records. When you have found your village you will note that a word1 follows and then one or more 1 to 4 digit numbers. These numbers are the file or folder numbers for the data for your village.


With the relevant numbers noted, scroll down to the bold heading “INWENTARZ” then continue down until you see the desired village number (against the word “Sygn.”). Against the word “Tytul” are the villages included (often a group of surrounding villages is included with the “main” village”) and the years covered (against “Daty”). Click “galeria ze skanami:” and you will be presented with a screen of icons representing the digitized individual pages. Click (left button) on an icon to view the details of the page; scroll to the bottom and note the grey bar. Slide this bar to the right to view the full right hand side of the page. Above the grey bar is the name/number of the current page with arrow heads on each side. To go to the next page click on the right arrowhead. To return to the previous page click on the left arrowhead (or use the browser’s back arrow).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       GENETEKA

Here you can chose English instead of Polish (although some text will continue in Polish).

At the opening screen, click on “Ukraina” either on the map or on the listing on the right. On the next page, click on the British/American flag.

(If you want to get right to the search page for Ukraine in English then use             as an URL).

Your village may not be listed; in this case select the parish2 that it is in, enter the surname (Polish spelling) of the person in question and click on “Search”. You may want to check the “Exact search” box.

The result should be a listing for that name in all of the selected parishes. Where the name list is long only the first few are shown but you can click on the “show all” text at the bottom of each category to reveal the full list.

Since the whole parish is listed, it is necessary to choose the names which have the correct village shown. By hovering the mouse pointer over the highlighted letter “i” will reveal the actual village. If the village is the one desired then click on “SKAN” to reveal the listing. On some pages the village may be shown and putting the pointer on the “i” may reveal other information such as the names of the grandmothers.

The listings are the same as those accessed through the AGAD website.


Geneteka is easier to use as you can access the desired name directly. At least for some villages, the records have been digitized only for “recent” dates (late 1800s).

With the AGAD website the records start with the year 1784 or 1785. By starting with a particular folder (there may be several folders covering different year spans of event types – births, marriages or deaths) it is possible to find early ancestors and follow them to later years.

As you scan the pages you can checked for misspelled names which probably would not appear in your search of the Geneteka files. Some surnames evolve as time passes, e.g.: Gurski changes into Gorski.

Using one of the databases should not exclude the use of the other.


  1. wies = village

miasto = town

parafia = parish

  1. This information may be found in “Genealogical Gazetter of Galicia” by Brian J. Lenius ISBN 0-9698783-1-1. This
    book may be viewed at meetings of the Toronto Ukrainian Genealogy Group in Toronto.
  2. Some of the pages are very dark – to the point of not being readable. Some of the writing is smeared or small and
    cramped. When viewing the pages online there is nothing that can be done about this. It is useful to download the
    pages to your computed (for the PC – right click on the image then choose ‘Save image as ..’). The page images are
    jpg files and can be viewed with your favourite image viewer.
  3. A popular image viewer is “Irfanview” available as a free download at .

32 bit and 64 bit versions are available – 32 bit version will run on all PC operating systems from Windows 95 up.

Irfanview will let you –

– increase or decrease the size of the image: “+” and “-” symbols at top of page.

– sharpen the letters in a smeared image: press “shift/s”.

– lighten and increase contrast for dark images: click on “image” at top, scroll down to “Color corrections ..”
(“shift G” may be easier), adjust “brightness” and “contrast” as required. You can type the required values
directly into the value box – a value of “110” has been found useful for dark images.

– Slide the grey bar at the bottom to move to the right hand page (images cover two pages).

– move from one image to the next using the right and left pointing blue arrows at the top of the page.

– “Undo” under the “Edit” heading will reverse the last change made.

ENC 24-1-17


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *