Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Slownik Geograficzny Krόlestwa Polskiego = Geographic Dictionary of the Former Kingdom of Poland
by Sara Allen
Researchers studying Eastern Europe will want to consult the “Slownik Geograficizny Krόlestwa Polskiego i Innych Krajów Słowiańskich,” compiled by Filip Suliemierski between 1880 and 1902. Loosely translated into English, the title reads “Geographic Dictionary of the Former Kingdom of Poland and Other Slavic Lands.” A copy of this 15-volume set is available on 173 microfiche in The Genealogy Center (filed under Poland). This gazetteer is an A to Z compilation of places in Eastern Europe that were once part of Poland or had Polish inhabitants in the 19th century, including the partitions of Austrian and Russian Poland, but not German Poland. It also incorporates portions of these other modern-day countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The reader is cautioned that because of the 20th century turmoil in Europe, many place names, jurisdictions and boundaries have changed since the publication of the gazetteer. Therefore care must be taken to locate the places within their modern context. However, this source is still especially useful to genealogists because it names the parish location for most villages, which is needed in order to locate and research church and synagogue records in Eastern Europe. The dictionary also indicates those communities that had Jewish inhabitants at the time, which is helpful for those undertaking Jewish research.

Each entry in the gazetteer usually contains the following information: Type of locality (village, city, etc.), district, community, parish, population figures (including the number of Jews, if applicable) and more. For example, the entry for Drągi Wypychy notes that it is a village in the community and parish of Sokoly and district of Mazowieckie. In 1827, the village had 19 homes and 119 inhabitants. The gazetteer is written in the Polish language, and as of yet, has not been completely translated into English. There is a detailed translation guide at the beginning of Volume 1 that allows readers to translate key points of the entries, and was used to translate the Drągi Wypychy text above. Another option for translation includes copying out the text and entering the information into an online text translation tool such as Google Translate:

A digital version of this gazetteer is also available online at the University of Warsaw’s website ( Several online translations of selected entries are also available at the Polish Genealogy Society of America’s website (, Polish Roots website (, and other locations.

This gazetteer is just one of the many reference works The Genealogy Center owns for the European countries where many of our ancestors formerly lived. Careful examination of gazetteers, historical dictionaries, maps and encyclopedias for the area you are researching might help you solve geographical genealogy problems.

I know I seldom write about nationalities other than British Isles, German or USA BUT my hubby has paternal Ukrainian and Polish roots [surnames SANDALACK & SWYSTUN]. When I get sick to death of *my* families (haha) I spent time on his. The above is one of the newest I've seen for this part of the world. Best of luck guys!


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