The 1929 Polish Business Directory Project
Jewish Records Indexing – Poland in cooperation with JewishGen
A valuable source of 20th century genealogical data on the Internet is: Ksiega Adresowa Polski (Wraz z w.m. Gdanskiem dla Handlu, Przemyslu Rzemiosl I Rolnictwa) Directory of Poland, including Gdansk, for trade, industry, handicraft and agriculture (1929). Access the Table of Contents.
The Jewish Records Indexing – Poland / JewishGen 1929 Polish Business Directory Project provides access to the data for each town in the Directory. Thousands of directory pages have been scanned and converted into Adobe PDF files providing the ability to search by town name and click on the resulting link(s) to see high resolution images of the actual directory pages.
About the Polish Business Directories
The Polish Business Directories of the 1920s and 1930s have thousands of pages of information about people in current and former areas of Poland, including regions now part of the Vilna area of Lithuania, the Grodno area of Belarus, and Volhynia and East Galicia, now parts of the western Ukraine.
These listings not only tell us how our families earned their living but often they are the only accessible source of 20th century information about our relatives.
Entries typically include the name of the business or proprietor, and the address or street name. The directory has an section with a list of Industries/Businesses with translations from English to Polish, French to Polish, German to Polish and Russian to Polish. Within the directory pages, Industries/Businesses are listed in Polish with a French translation, and range from doctor and banker to midwife and stall-operator at the weekly marketplace. Each town listing starts with information about the town, the larger the town, the more comprehensive the description.
Researchers having access to this business directory from other years are encouraged to check them against the data for their towns in the 1929 directory and to provide a list of entries that are not included in the 1929 edition. Data from other years will be identified by the year of publishing of the directory.
Information available in business directory Searches
Business directory entries contain the following fields or combinations of fields:
- Surname with Given Name (or first initial)
- Wojewodztwo (province)
- Powiat (district)
A wojewodztwo (voivodie) was the geographic designation of Poland between World War I and World War II, roughly equivalent to a state in the United States or province in Canada. Powiats were districts, similar to U.S. counties. Powiats were divided into Uchastoks, more or less equivalent to U.S. townships.
Table of Industry/Business
Using the official translations provided in the directory, JRI-Poland has created a Polish/French/English Table of Industry/Business types. The table may be downloaded for personal research.
Researchers should note that the exact meaning of an Industry or Business and/or the way it is translated can change over time; it the industry or business is unclear, secondary sources should be consulted. English speaking researchers should be aware that the translations from the Polish are British English not North American English. Thus Elektromonterzy which is translated as Electrical Fitters in the directory, would be known as Electricians in the U.S. and Canada.
The evolution of the project
The JRI-Poland Business Directory Project was announced at the Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy in July, 1998. However, due to unanticipated administrative difficulties and associated costs with the original plan, the decision was made -- following the Jewish Genealogy Conference in August, 1999 -- to scan the microfilms of the directory and convert them to Adobe PDF.
In a further step to simplify the project, JRI-Poland and JewishGen reached an agreement to work in cooperation on the project and to post the entire directory on the web. This agreement was announced at the International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City (July 2000). This approach made the directory pages immediately available to researchers around the world.
The initial contributions
While the project was in transition, copies of some pages were made available to several volunteers so that various approaches could be tested. The following areas/towns were part of the initial database.
NOWOGRODEK WOJEWODZTWO: The indexing of the 40 pages for this area of former Poland (now in western Belarus and southeastern Lithuania) was done by Ellen Sadove Renck. There are more than 15,000 entries from towns and villages. The entire list of entries for this area may be viewed on the Nowogrodek Business Directory web site.
KRAKOW: Data entry by Julian Schamroth (Jerusalem). There are 9600 entries for more than 600 Industries/Businesses.
OSTROW MAZOWIECKA: Data entry by Judy Baston.