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The PUR Collection


The Polish government created the agency Państwowy Urząd Repatriacyjny, commonly abbreviated as PUR, to oversee the resettlement of the population after the war. The bureau created a wide variety of documents consisting of the following:

  • Registration Lists of Repatriates and Resettlers (at each assembly point, or in Polish punkt etapowy). These are sometimes referred to as Napływ Repatriantów i Przesiedleńców in the book Migracje ludności na ziemiach zachodnich i północnych w latach 1945-1950.
  • Village/Town Record (Ewidencja) of Repatriates and Resettlers
  • letters concerning individuals
  • memos about the living situations, transportation, and conditions of the population
  • statistics regarding the population, number of transports, amount of farmland, livestock and equipment both preexisting on the land and brought in by the new Repatriates and Resettlers.

Of course, all items are of interest to the genealogist. However, the most important and informative documents are the Registration Lists and the Village/Town Records (Ewidencje) of Repatriates and Resettlers.

The PUR Collection is not found in one place. The collection of papers is found all over Poland, mostly in the various State Archives. The PUR documents are usually housed in the State Archive nearest to the location to which the documents pertain. The key to the PUR collection is that they are sorted by county (powiat) and not by individuals’ names.

Therefore, the most important (and challenging) part of using the documents of the PUR collection is determining the powiat where someone settled after the war. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to make this determination. Often, most people from one village in the Eastern Territories settled into one new village in western Poland. However, this is only a generalization and certainly not the rule. While examining the Registration Lists of Repatriates and Resettlers, I could easily see that people from a particular village in the Eastern Territories were relocated to many different villages and towns. This fact will, of course, make your job much more difficult. However, I have put together some research techniques to help you find your repatriated and resettled ancestors.

Additionally, one must keep in mind that the internal boundaries of the powiaty (counties) and województwa (provinces) changed over time. In some cases, these changes caused documents from a particular county’s PUR collection to move from one state archive to another.  For more information, visit PUR: Finding Location of Resettlement and Finding the Records.

The main point to always remember is to keep your initial search for the location of the resettlement to be as broad as possible. Of course, one need not restrict your search for direct ancestors. Broaden your search to collateral relatives, that is siblings of your parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Extend your search to cousins, even distant cousins. You should be searching not only for your own ancestors and family members, but for anyone who came from your ancestral village in the Eastern Territories and who resettled in western Poland. Finding a fellow villager’s relocated home may lead to the finding of your own ancestor. To get even better results, search for any surnames you know to have been prevalent in your ancestral village or parish. Avoid such popular names as Kamiński, Adamowski or Maciejewski. Nearly every region will have dozens of families with this name, which will make your research immeasurably more difficult. Focus on the less common names.

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