Books of Residents and Census Records

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Books of Residents

In Congress Poland and Galicia, each community was required to maintain an ongoing census-like record of all legal residents of the community. The information was recorded in huge volumes called Księgi/Spis Ludności [Books of Residents], organized by house number. A new series was begun whenever the old volumes were filled up. The books were kept in the Polish language except for the period 1868 to 1914, when they were written in Russian.

Although many of these books were destroyed during the World War II, a surprising number have survived and are available in various archives.[i] In some communities, books from the mid-19th century have survived [Łodź from 1827], though for the most part, books are available for later dates, and there are many gaps.

The Księgi Ludności were maintained until 1932, when a new type of registration was mandated that kept information on all those residing in the community, not just those who had their formal legal residence there. These books were called Księgi Kontroli Ruchu Ludności [Books for Population Mobility Control], or sometimes Karty Meldunkowe [Registration Cards] or Rejestr Mieszkańcow [Register of Residents]. For all practical purposes, however, these, too, can be described as being Books of Residents.[ii]

Click on images below to see sample of Belchatow Book of Residents

Left Side of Page

Right Side of Page

Prior to 1932, information was kept on persons whose permanent legal residence was in that community even though they may no longer have lived there. This occurred when people moving to a different community did not go through the rather complicated procedure of formally changing their legal residence. Thus, if your ancestors do not appear in Księgi Ludności for towns where you might have expected them, it is possible they were registered in a nearby community.

In Congress Poland, the following information was usually recorded: name, names of parents, date and place of birth, marital status, official place of residence, means of support, religion, social status, and previous residence. In the "notes" column, one can find such information as the house or town to which a person had moved; when a daughter married, the date and record number of the marriage, as well as the name of the husband; the date of death, if someone had died; and the military status for men (in the reserves, exempt from service, etc.).

In Galicia the records contained similar information, but the parents names were usually not recorded nor was the maiden name of the woman.

Since the books were organized by house number (later by address), a ledger containing an alphabetical index of the names recorded was created for each series. However, such index volumes did not always survive and often were not maintained to the same degree as the Books of Residents registers.

In the books after 1932, more precise information was recorded--the act number of the birth or marriage certificate, the draft registration number, the I.D. card number of an individual, etc.

These records are very important for genealogical research, because, on one page, they show the birth, marriage, and death information for everyone in the household and often include information never recorded in metrical (vital) records - particularly birth information.

Census Records

In addition to Books of Residents, JRI-Poland has indexed Census records from a number of towns. Unlike the Books of Residents which were kept on an ongoing basis, each Census was a snapshot of the families living in the town at a specific time. In general, Census records did not survive to the same degree as Books of Residents.

Click on images below to see samples of Oświęcim census records:





The following table indicates most but not all of the JRI-Poland Books of Residents and Census projects. Not all the data is online because of lack of funding for certain towns or, in some cases, where the data is less than 100 years old and subject to privacy laws.

Contacts below can provide you with additional information on projects of interest.

Links to town names are for surname lists from the source documents.

Town Type Years Available Fond / Sygnatura Archive Contact Status
Augustow Books of Residents 1890-1900 527/525 Suwalki Lillian Faffer on-line
Bedzin Books of Residents 1885-1931 773 Katowice Jeff Cymbler indexed / not online
Bedzin Census 1787 IT 181 Katowice Fred Frenkel complete / not online
Bedzin Census 1791 IT 181 Katowice Fred Frenkel complete / not online
Belchatow Books of Residents 1906-1900 8/1-6 Piotrkow Tyrbunalski Roni Seibel Liebowitz on-line
Biala Podlaska Census 1939 4/24/1900 JHI Margalit Ashira Ir on-line
Brzozow Census 1869, 1880, 1890-91, 1900 70, 71, 73, 74 Sanok Brzozow Town Leader  
Chelmza Census 1823, 1826, 1834, 1840 94 / 1351 Torun Stanley Diamond  
Chodecz Books of Residents 1890-1932 527/525 Włoclawek Ken Drabinsky in process
Czermno Books of Residents 1898-1930 1 / 2-5 Płock   indexed / not online
Czerwinsk nad Wisla Books of Residents 1890-1900   Płock    
Czestochowa Books of Residents 1858-1861 1/207-213 Czestochowa CRARG on-line
Czestochowa Books of Residents 1870-1900 1-27/71-80 Czestochowa CRARG on-line
Dobra Books of Residents 1890-1915 - Konin Madeleine Okladek complete / not online
Dynow Books of Residents Births starting 1807 - Dynow Library Dynow Town Leader indexed / not online
Gabin Books of Residents 1890-1900  2/ 454 Płock Stanley Diamond on-line
Gostynin Books of Residents 1890-1900 3/209-211 Płock Julian Preisler on-line
Klobuck Books of Residents 1890-1900 495/1-2 Czestochowa CRARG on-line
Konstantynow Lodzki Books of Residents 1900~1931   Lodz Roni Seibel Liebowitz index only/not online
Krakow Census 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910 87,88,89,90 Krakow Judie Goldstein volunteers needed
Krzywcza Books of Residents 1850-1916 203/46 Przemysl Town Leader complete /not online
Kutno Books of Residents 1845-1850 108 (vol. 1) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents 1867 109 (vol. 2) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 128 (vol. 6) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 129 (vol 4 a) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 130 (Vol. 3) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 131 (vol. 1) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 132 (vol. 4 b) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Kutno Books of Residents ca. 1877-1932 964 (vol. 5) Kutno Richard Goldman complete / not online
Krzepice Books of Residents 1847-1900 397/5-6 Czestochowa CRARG on-line
Lancut Census 1821 18 Rzeszow Peter Jassem on-line
Lomza District Census 1897 19 Lomza Jose Gutstein on-line
Lubraniec Books of Residents 1890-1932 IT 181 Włoclawek Nicolette Berkley complete / not online
Lutomiersk Books of Residents 1885-1900 169 Lodz Roni Seibel Liebowitz index only / not online
Miedzryzec Podlaski Books of Residents 1885-1900   Private Robinn Magid not yet indexed
Nowy Sacz Census 1870 15/386-394 Krakow Howard Fink complete / not online
Nowy Sacz Census 1890 15/KsKnNS 1 Krakow Howard Fink indexing underway
Olkusz Books of Residents 1890-1915

  Olkusz Museum Desiree Gil

Indexing volunteer needed
1890-1915 basic index only / not online / awaiting funding

1931-1939 not yet indexed
Opatow Books of Residents 1890-1931
6 / multiple
6 / multiple
Sandomierz Judy Golan complete / not online / awaiting funding
Opoczno Books of Residents 1890-1915 524 Tomaszow Mazowiecki Debrah Kay Blatt In process
Oswiecim Census 1880
sygn. 74-80
sygn. 81-84
sygn. 85-88
sygn. 89-93
Oswiecim JRI-Poland in process
Ozarow Books of Residents 1890-1900 23 Sandomierz Suzanne Waxman complete / not online
Pacyna Books of Residents 1898-1930 1 / 3, 12-15 Płock   indexed / not online
Piasecno Books of Residents 1889-1933 2354-2354B, 2358A Grodzisk Maz volunteer needed not yet indexed
Płock Books of Residents 1878-1897 27862-228301 Płock JRI-Poland online
Polaniec Books of Residents 1890-1915 121 Sandomierz   not yet indexed
Przedecz Books of Residents 1890-1931 58 / 1-11 Torun Madeleine Okladek Sygnature 1 online
Przeworsk Books of Residents 1900-1900 - Other Stanley Diamond in process
Przeworsk Census 1921 - Other Stanley Diamond in process
Raciaz Books of Residents 1890-1900 Syg.121 Płock Flora Gursky complete / not online
Radom Books of Residents 1890-1900 Syg. 9814-9858 Radom Carol Isaacs on-line
Radziwie Books of Residents 1898-1930 1 / 27762-27764 Płock   indexed / not online
Rzeszow Census 1870 1 Rzeszow Rzeszow Town Leader complete / not online
Rzeszow Census 1890 1 Rzeszow Rzeszow Town Leader on-line
Sanok Census 1900 1 Sanok Sanok Town Leader on-line
Sosnowiec Books of Residents 1890-1931 776 Katowice Jeff Cymbler indexed / not online
Tarnobrzeg Books of Residents 1925 525/61 Sandomierz Suzanne Waxman complete / not online
Tarnobrzeg Census 1880 525/11 Sandomierz Suzanne Waxman on-line
Turek Books of Residents 1840-1915 27 Konin Madeleine Okladek complete / not online
Wyszogrod Books of Permanent Residents 1890-1915 6 / 50-53 Płock Stanley Diamond on-line
Wyszogrod Books of Temporary Residents 1921-1939 6 / 56 Płock Stanley Diamond on-line
Zarki Books of Residents 1890-1900 125 Czestochowa CRARG on-line
Zychlin Books of Residents 1890-1900 1201 & 227 Kutno Sheila Salo on-line

[i] To see what is available for your town, go to the Polish State Archives website. Click on "Databases. " On pull-down menu, choose "Registers of Population-ELA." Click on "Database." Put in name of town for "Tytuł spisu" [Title of record] and click on "Szukaj" [Search], "Miejscowość" [Location] lists the town name. Under "nazwa spisu" [title of record], choose "księgi ludności stałej" [books of permanent residents]. For Krakow, choose "spis ludności" [list of residents]. Click on either, and under "Daty" [Dates] will appear the years for which these volumes are available.

[ii] For more information on Books of Residents, see Bussgang, Fay and Julian, "Polish Books of Residents and Other Lesser-Known Sources"; Bussgang, Fay, "More About Polish Books of Residents' Registration," Avotaynu 16, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 14-15 [in conjunction with Bussgang, Julian, "The Polish Concept of Permanent Place of Residence," Avotaynu 16, no. 3 (Fall 2000): 12-14.]