Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Research

mp01Sto Lat? I have to admit, most of my ancestry comes from western Europe. For other reasons, I have studied German and Spanish. However, I have little experience in Eastern European languages. So, when I read the title Sto Lat, I was clueless as to the meaning. Thank goodness for Google Translate. I found the translation, simple and straight forward as can be: One Hundred Years. Of course, if I had opened the book first I would have instantly known the meaning.

Author Cecile Wendt Jensen introduces her book, Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Research, with a quote from a Polish celebration song: “Sto Lat! Sto Lat! Niech zyje, zyje nam” (May you live a hundred years). Jensen offers the hope that through her 30+ years of expertise, genealogist of Polish descent may find at least 100 years worth of family history using the techniques taught in this book.

Sto Lat incorporate research practices for both tradition resources as well as those found on the Internet. The volume is a lavishly illustrated. Common research questions are answered and suggestions are offered to help novice and advanced researchers alike. Answers are also given to more difficult questions, like: What do I do when the village name is not on a map? Jensen helps family historians find their ancestors both in Poland as well as those who emigrated to the United States.

The book is highlighted by a plethora charts, sample documents, and illustrations; as well as, the author brings the content alive through numerous case studies.

About the Author

Cecile (Ceil) Wendt Jensen is a native Detroiter. Her grandparents arrived in Detroit in the 1880s and 1890s from Russian Poland, West Prussia, Posen, and Galicia. Cecile has taught in public schools for 30 years in traditional and electronic art, art history, and social studies. She is a certified genealogist and develops Web sites, videos, CDs, DVDs, and databases for genealogists of all ages. She is also an International speaker and serves with the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Polonia: Communities and Societies

  • What do Polish Genealogy Societies offer?
  • What if my Polish ancestors were not Roman Catholics?

Foundation Research

  • What were my ancestors’ Polish names?
  • Where did they live?
  • How do I read the records?
  • What should I look for in the U.S. Census?
  • What genealogy information is in the City Directory?
  • Finding birth records
  • How do I find my parents’ birth certificates?
  • How do you find marriage records for genealogical research?
  • Government and Society Records
  • Religious Records
  • Where do I find death records?
  • What information was asked on a Social Security application?

U.S. Military Records

  • Surname Study
  • What was the Blue Army (a.k.a. Haller’s Army)
  • My grandfather was a Polar Bear!
  • What if our soldier was buried overseas?
  • A U.S. military gravestone in Poland?
  • What is the Old Man’s Draft?
  • Polish Army Veterans Association of America, Inc.
  • Immigrations and Naturalization
  • Where can I find Manifests and Naturalization Records?
  • How do you find your ancestors’ passenger ship manifest?
  • Where can I find passenger list information?
  • Steve Morse One-Step Webpages
  • Are there departure port records?
  • The voice of Edmond Stachurski (1892–2000)
  • Interpreting Passenger List Annotations
  • Are there any other stories about the passage?

Geography, Gazetteers, and Maps

  • What was my ancestors’ village like?
  • Where is Pacanow?
  • Where was Russian Poland?
  • Where was Prussia?
  • Where was Galicia?
  • What part of Poland does my surname come from?
  • What do I do when the village name is not on a map?
  • What is a Gazetteer?
  • Are there maps of landowners?
  • How do I find maps for pre-Wold War II?

Record Keeping and Handwriting in Poland

  • History of Sacramental and Vital Records in Poland
  • Are the records different for the 20th Century?
  • I can’t read the handwriting!
  • Are there sample translations of Polish Napoleonic Records online?
  • How do I read an old German document?

Case Studies and Historical Documents

  • Case Study: Who was the rich man in the Adamski family lore?
  • Will the archives have records about the Adamski family?
  • What can be found in the budget books?
  • Are there any other records regarding peasants?
  • Does the manor still exist?
  • Case Study: What types of local resources are available in the region?
  • Case Study Borderlands: What happened to the records?
  • Case Study Russian Poland: Do Jewish Records still exist?
  • Case Study Galicia: How do you find records for Austrian Poland?
  • Case Study of World War II: Who are Displaced Persons (DPs)
  • Case Study: Concentration Camps

Heirloom, Documents, and Collections

  • What is the best way to store old paper items?
  • What if your documents are curled or rolled up?
  • How do I protect Photographs and Negatives?
  • How do I care for Fabrics?
  • How do I safeguard my Digital Data?
  • How do I select an appropriate museum or archive to donate my collection?
  • Are there donation guidelines?
  • Are there any Polish-American repositories interested in Genealogy?
  • What type of records does PARI hold?
  • What type of records does PARI collect?

Research—Digital and Traditional

  •  How can I find people who would like to collaborate on research?
  • Are there other online resources for genealogy?
  • What do I do when I come to a “dead end” in my research?
  • Are there any software programs for genealogy?
  • Is Martha Steward my Cousin?

Web Addresses



Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Research is available from Family Roots Publishing; Item #: MP01.

One thought on “Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Research

  1. On my wish list to buy!

    I have personally seen Ceil’s genealogy presentations and spoken to her.

    She is knowledgeable, informative and her personality alone make her work worth seeing (or reading as the case may be).


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