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Introduction to Polish Genealogy: About

Strategies and resources to research your Polish family history.


Tracing Polish ancestry can be challenging, especially navigating border changes, language barriers, and political turmoil. This guide aims to provide introductory historical context and strategies to research Polish family history. Primarily focused on NYPL collections, this guide also includes information about geographical resources, an overview of naming conventions, language help, and tips about accessing international records. 

This guide features tips and resources for accessing information resources, including links to print and digital collections accessible at The New York Public Library (NYPL). Access to some databases requires that you have a NYPL library card - you can apply for one online or at any branch of The New York Public Library. 

Look for books, microfilm, periodicals, archive collections, and more at NYPL Classic Catalog

Search archive and manuscript collections, including Family Files, at and the NYPL Classic Catalog.

Explore maps, photographs, city directories, and other digital resources free online at NYPL Digital Collections

Search for genealogy databases and other online resources at NYPL Articles & Databases: Genealogy

Sign up for an online genealogy class at NYPL and access additional research guides and blogs at

Research from Home

The Library's Research Collections and Services are available remotely to help researchers access information and materials. 





The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy collects publications documenting American history on the national, state, and local levels, including extensive holdings on New York City history. The Division has a renowned collection of family histories and other genealogical collections, with a particular focus on the New York region. Included in the collections are published works from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society library, photographs, vertical files, postcards, and other visual ephemera. 

Got questions? Our research librarians are here to help! Send us an email at, or click the link in the profiles on this page. Or, set up a virtual appointment. 

Reference Librarians

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Irma and Paul Milstein Division Reference Librarians
476 Fifth Avenue
(42nd St & Fifth Ave)
First Floor, Room 121
New York, NY 10018