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Roman Catholic Records of the Central State Historical Archive of Ukraine,  Lwów / Lviv   Bielawa Family (of Poznan region, not Galicia)
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Going Home: A Guide to Polish American Family History Research

Vital Records Tour-
Compare and Contrast the Birth/Baptismal Records of Three Central-Eastern Empires


In reviewing the 18th and 19th century time period, the structure and layout of the records from Galicia/Halychyna are similar to other regions in the Austrian (after 1867 Austro-Hungarian) Empire.  This fact certainly helps anyone researching other family lines from different parts of the Empire, such as today's Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, etc.  (Languages may be different depending on region and date.)

In comparison to other Central and Eastern European empires of the time, the records of the Austrian Empire are the quickest to understand and the easiest to read!  Take a look at some samples of records from the three largest and most populous empires in Central and Eastern Europe...the Austrian Empire (Austro-Hungarian Empire), the Russian Empire, and the Prussian (German) Empire.


Polish language birth/baptismal record from the Russian Empire, from what is in today's Poland.


Russian language birth/baptismal record from the Russian Empire.  As Latin was the lingua franca of the Catholic Austrian Empire, Russian was the lingua franca for most of the massive Russian Empire.  And after a tsarist decree in 1868, Russian was required for all vital records throughout the entire empire...including places where there wasn't a single ethnic Russian in residence!


The Russian Empire had its own style of a column format.  But take a look at the their version and compare it to the simplicity of the Austrian Empire's version.  The middle three columns are: "Status, name, patronymic (based on father's first name) and last name of the parents, and religion", then "Status, name, patronymic and last name of godparents", and "Who administered the sacrament of baptism".


In the case of the Prussian Empire, there was no single predominate document type.  There are church records in both paragraph format and column format (the column format being similar and easy-to-read as the column format in Galicia/Halychyna).  But unique to that Empire is the following civil registration form, which came to use at different times in the 19th Century throughout the empire.  (In the areas of the Prussian Empire now located in Poland, the civil registration format was used starting as late as 1874.  These records were kept in addition to the church records, though not according to church/parish jurisdiction, but to the administrative county, or Kreis in German.)  Although it's great to have an additional copy of a record, these civil registration forms were written in the challenging old style "fraktur" German.



Compare all the above to the simple, easy-to-use "classic" style from Galicia/Halychyna! 


from village of Usznia, Roman Catholic parish of Biały Kamień, 1860.


Though the format does look pretty easy, it doesn't mean that special care and some translation skills aren't needed.  For a detailed review and step-by-step analysis, visit my tutorial on the birth/baptismal record.
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