Monday, May 8, 2017

I have no clue but I am very happy about it

UPDATE: Thank you Tim Firkowski for letting me know these records are actually in RUSSIAN! I did tell y’all that I had no clue and I also told you that I would probably need to learn some Russian too.  So here are some additional resources:
FamilySearch’s Russian Word List
FamilySearch’s Russian Alphabet Key
Reading Russian Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The Russian Alphabet
Reading Russian Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Russian Names, Dates, and Key Words
Reading Russian Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Russian Records

The Polish Archives in Łódź just sent me scans of seven death certificates. I can’t read one word of Polish and I don’t even know which one belongs to which person yet but I don’t care. The most important thing is I now have a new resource for a very important branch of my family, my maternal grandfather’s line.  These death certificates are just a start. The Polish Archives also has birth and marriage records and my grandfather’s family was in the area that became Poland since the early 1700s at the least.

All I have to do is learn a bit of essential Polish and I am well on my way. Chances are I will eventually need to learn some essential Russian also.  I do have German covered though.

My starting point is FamilySearch’s Polish Word List and their Polish Alphabet Examples. The handwriting on all seven death certificates is very clear which will make things much easier.

Look what else I found:
Reading Polish Handwritten Records Lesson 1: Polish Letters
Reading Polish Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Names, Dates, and Key Words
Reading Polish Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading Polish Records

I can’t say enough about how great a resource FamilySearch is.



  1. Oh boy! More things to learn. That's what I love about family research.
    That's how I felt when I looked at German records for the first time. I learned a few key words and was well on my way.
    Have fun.

  2. Michelle, more great resources for your bookshelves (or to find in a library) are "In Their Words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents" by Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman
    Volume I - Polish (392pp)
    Volume II - Russian (509pp)
    Volume III - Latin (411pp)
    Volume IV - German (over 600pp to be published in 2017)

    They are packed with helpful examples, word lists, language help, and more.

  3. Right?! I'm amazed all the time at the free resources available at FamilySearch.