I’ve had genealogy blogs over the years but I wanted to create one that showcases the area my Polish great-grandparents came from: Galicia.
My grandfather was extremely proud to be 100% Polish and I was so fortunate to have spent so many years with him. I was able to ask questions about what he knew, his family, and what traditions they had. However, he only knew what had happened in the United States – the rest was a mystery.
It became my goal to find out where his parents were from. That took quite a few years! I remember having a family tree on Ancestry that had exactly 706 people on it, because I could only add family lines of those who had immigrated to the US.
I have now found the origin of my Polish great-grandparents. They came from the Tarnobrzeg and Kolbuszowa areas in today’s Podkarpackie voivodeship [state]. While I start with a focus on this area, my goal is to stretch as far as I can across Western Galicia.
I have divided this site into four categories to share: culture, maps, records, and databases.
Galicia was a multi-cultured land, as Paul Magocsci and Chris Hahn’s book of the same name describes. I’ll write on topics such as cooking, language, occupation, art, music, religion, and even politics. Culture is important in family history as it adds another dimension to your ancestors. Culture adds questions I want to try and answer to fill out the full story of my family, such as:
- Why would my 2x great-grandfather Wąsik have his occupation listed as servant on a birth record? Weren’t they all farmers?
- What kind of music did my 2nd great-grandfather Piwiński play on his violin?
- What kinds of national celebrations did my family take part in?
- Did my ancestors consider themselves Polish or Austrian?
A few years ago, I could barely pinpoint on a map where in Poland my family was from. However, the internet offers digitized maps from the 18th to the 20th century for Galicia. I absolutely love the fact that so many maps have been digitized! I will share where I have found maps of interest to Galician genealogists as well as additional records, such as landholder’s lists, to help bring the maps to life.
My favorite, and probably yours too! I get so giddy when I obtain new vital records, it’s similar to a child opening up a Christmas present. I have been able to trace my Polish family going back to before Galicia even existed – the late 17th century. If I can do it, you can do it (if that’s your goal!).
I have been to Poland numerous times for genealogical research and will share what knowledge I have for finding those elusive vital records. But did you know that there are more records to find than just birth, marriage and death?
The internet, archives and libraries across the world hold treasures waiting to be discovered. These include (but are not limited to):
- School records
- Military records
- Notarial records
- Immigration records
- Tax records
On a prior blog, I posted my indexed records of Galician vital records via Google Sheets. With this site, I have been able to find a way to make the databases searchable! While I’m not a programmer, I am pleased with being able to post this. The indexing will continue. So much of Galicia’s vital records ARE available but for many it’s the unknown of what shape the records are in and where to find them.
Additionally, I have created a map of Roman Catholic parishes in Western Galicia (keep in mind I’m starting out with just a small area). There will also be a search by village and what records are available online and on-site.
Lastly, I’m looking for your help. Did your ancestors immigrate from Western Galicia? If so, I’ll be creating an immigrant database to show who immigrated and to where. I need your help by adding your ancestor(s).
In order to get access to the databases, you need to sign up to be a member. It is free and I won’t sell your email address, you’ll only receive occasional updates when there’s a something new on the site. I volunteer to index and create this content and greatly appreciate any donation to further Galician genealogy!