Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 Essential Books for Polish, Michigan, and Detroit Genealogical Research

The 10 most essential books for researching my Polish ancestors with ties to Detroit and throughout Michigan are:

First Names of the Polish Commonwealth: Origins & Meanings by William F. Hoffman. Polish Genealogical Society of America (1998), Paperback. This book, along with its companion on surnames (below), have been vital to my Polish genealogical research. I'd be lost without them. Sometimes when I'm challenged with difficult-to-interpret handwriting I'll pull out this book or its companion and find variations on name spellings or endings in Polish that I had not considered. Very helpful!

Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings, Second Edition, Revised by William F Hoffman. Polish Genealogical Society of America (2001), Edition: Rev. 2nd, Paperback. (See above)

In their words : Polish a genealogist's translation guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian documents by Jonathan D. Shea. New Britain, CT: Language & Lineage Press, 2000. viii, 392 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm. This book, and its companion listed below, are arguably the most indispensable books in my genealogy library. If not for these books I would have been lost and unable to translate the Polish vital records necessary for my research. Absolute must-haves for those researching their ancestral roots in Poland.

In their words : Russian a genealogist's translation guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian documents by Jonathan D. Shea. New Britain, CT: Language & Lineage Press, 2002. x, 486 p. : ill., maps ; 28 cm. (See above)

Poles in Michigan Vol 1 by Poles in Michigan Associated. The Poles in Michigan Associated (1953), Paperback. This book helped me to understand the beginnings of the community of Polish immigrants to Detroit. Lots of good information here. I only wish there was a Vol. 2, but I have not found one.

Polish Customs, Traditions and Folklore by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. Hippocrene Books (1996), Edition: Revised, Hardcover. This is a great book for anyone whose family history has roots in Poland. It gives lots of interesting information about the life and culture of our ancestors.

Wiedza Powszechna Compact Polish and English Dictionary by Janina Jaslan. McGraw-Hill (1993), Edition: 1, Paperback. When I'm trying to translate the Polish language this is my go-to book. I have several other Polish-English dictionaries but none better than this one.

301 Polish Verbs by Klara Janecki. BARRONS (GBS) (2000), Paperback. This book goes hand in hand with the Polish-English dictionary listed above. The Polish language has many verb endings that are confusing to say the least. This book shows the conjugation of 301 verbs and helps translations make sense.

Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego i innych krajów słowiańskich by Filip Sulimierski. Warszawa, F. Sulimierski; skł. gł. w red. Wędrowca [etc.] 1880-1904. I own this one on CD and it has proved invaluable to me in looking up the locations of ancestral villages in Poland. It provides general information about even the smallest of Polish villages. It's helped me find many remote villages that don't appear on most maps.

Michigan genealogy : sources & resources by Carol McGinnis. Baltimore, MD : Genealogical Pub. Co., 2005. This one is my latest acquisition. Thank you, Miriam, for suggesting it! It has so many resources listed that I never knew about. How did I ever get by without it? If you're researching in Michigan, get this book!