From the New Bookshelf at the FHL

Kruski, Jason.  A Guide to Chicago and Midwestern Polish-American Genealogy.  Baltimore MD:  Clearfield Company by Genealogical Publishing Company,  2012.  ISBN 978-0-8063-5577.           Email:

This informative and easy to follow guide, presents in 107 pages how to research a Polish lineage: 

  1. What records to look for and why these records are important.
  2. How to read and interpret the records.
  3. How to compensate for record losses.
  4. How to deal with misspelled names and places of origin.
  5. How to locate relatives in nearby residences, towns, and states.
  6. What records to search first for maximum effectiveness.
  7. What websites are helpful and why.
  8. Which websites are preferred and why.
  9. Which databases supplement and complement each other.
  10. Why a search of the original documents is preferred–even though the record may be in Polish.

Each chapter is based on the author’s personal experience researching Chicago and surrounding areas for his own Polish ancestry.  For example, he discusses in Chapter 9, “Determining the Polish Village of Origin.”  Special internet indexing projects are listed with websites and descriptions to help you select the project most helpful for the area where Polish ancestors come from and the dates of their emigration.  He includes migration patterns as part of the relevancy of each record and index.

One of the most valuable segments is the discussion of the various partitions that Poland underwent as other countries took control of Polish territory, changing place names and modifying languages in records as well as speech.  Jason Kruski also tells you how to determine in which partition the records you need can be found.

This guide will also tell you how to search the records of Chicago, a city of vast potential for tracing your family tree:

  1. What records are indexed online.
  2. What websites are reliable and why.
  3. Which databases to search first, and then how to follow up the searches online and offline.

This amazing little guide includes no maps, no illustrations, no glossary–all of which would have enhanced the book.  Even without these, the short list of archives, websites, special studies of Poland and Polish genealogy give you other places to check.  If you have Polish ancestors who came to the US Midwest, you will want your own copy  of this new guide.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  The margins on WordPress are not consistent today.   Do you suppose that our technical equipment sometimes has a mind all its own?  Stay tuned for other  follow-ups on my presentations on How to Research your Ancestors in American Cities offered last week at the Family History Expo in Springfield Illinois and  and the upcoming Family History Expo, 7-8 September 2012 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, Kearney Nebraska.  City research presents unusual challenges that rural lineages do not.



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