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Ordering Material from the Radom Archives

Susan Weinberg shares her experiences ordering materials from the Radom Archives spanning birth, death and marriage records, Books of Residents pages and identity papers.  She also discusses the contents of the original Books of Residents pages and the on-line archive resources.


I - Travel to Radom: Using the Radom Archives
A private researcher relates his experience using the Radom Archives while visiting Radom and successfully identifying information despite no Polish language skills.

Susan Weinberg relates her recent experience in using the Radom Archives, the types of information she located and descriptions of information on the Jewish community of Radom which she found and has provided on this site.  She also relates her experience getting records from the past 100 years at the USC.

Radom Archive
Information on the Radom Archives: includes contact and access information.Use Google Translate to translate from Polish.

The Head Office of the State Archives
There are several databases that can be accessed through this site, SEZAM (inventories), IZA (population registers), PRADZIAD (civil records) and ELA (registers of population)  . While English translation is available for the site, the database is in Polish.  you can identify Jewish records by searching for a few key words; Mojz eszowe, Starozakonnych and Zydow all are words which mean "Jew".


Routes to Roots Foundation
A search for Radom will surface documents held in the Archives.  While not as current as the State Archive database, it is in English and offers a good starting point.  A search for postcards and photos can also be done from this site.

Jewish Historical Institute Genealogy Assistance
Yale Reisner and Anna Przybyszewska Drozd are located in an office across from the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.  From there or via e-mail they can assist you with a variety of materials on Radom.  Such materials include lists of property owners, old Radom phonebooks and photographs. Contact them at familyheritage@jhi.pl.  While you can contact them in English, the site above seems to only be available in Polish. On the names tab of this Kehilalink, you will find a list of surnames of individuals for whom they have photographs, perhaps one of your family members.


Radom Library
The Radom Library offers digital access and a number of its documents come from the Radom Archives.  There are several documents there that will help you identify addresses at which family may have lived.  One is called Nowy Informator and lists property owners from 1902.
You will find the addresses and names with many Jewish names among them.

Another useful source is the Telefoniczna dla Generalnego Gubernatorstwa
.  This is a telephone book from 1942 of the different areas in Poland that were under German control at the time.  It includes Krakow, Lublin, Radom and Warsaw.  You can find Radom beginning on page 55.   It is followed by the small towns that surrounded it.  Keep in mind that many people did not have telephones.

And for those who speak Polish you can find
many Polish newspapers at the library, some from the war years and earlier. 













ORDERING FROM THE RADOM ARCHIVES
by Susan Weinberg



The first time you place an order with the archives it can feel a bit intimidating, but the results can be well worth the effort. Jewish Records Indexing - Poland  (JRI-Poland) provides useful instructions for general ordering from archives. The following instructions are provided based on specific experience with the Radom Archives.

First you will need to determine what you want to order and how to communicate that to the archives.  You will also want to determine at which archive it is held. The following information relates to the Polish State Archive in Radom which holds material that is over 100 years old.  There is also the  civil registration office (USC)  which holds more recent materials. My experience has encompassed ordering birth, marriage and death records (B-M-D) as well as the original pages of Books of Residents and identity papers.  The JRI-Poland Database will provide information on both B-M-D records and Books of Residents. B-M-D records identify the name, year, type of record and Akt. You will also find the fond number at the top of the section.  Books of Residents identify the name, fond, signature and card number as well as descriptive information. You will want to provide this information to the archives in order to obtain these materials. 


While the Book of Residents data in JRI-Poland is helpful, the actual pages provide additional information typically in the notes ("uwagi") column..  The records in the JRI-Poland search results only contain data on individuals born at least 100 years ago, whereas the actual records will include all members of the family.  Check JRI-Radom Indexing to see if what you are seeking has been indexed.  .

Each Book of Residents record spans two pages, generally in Russian depending upon the period reported.  To see the type of data contained, click on each side of the image below.  On the left side the men are listed in the first column, women in the second.  The page starts with my great-grandfather Meyer Wajnberg.  Following the first row across you will see his parents names, Sima Wajnberg and Malka Rozenberg, in the third column. Following this is his birthdate and Sienno, his place of birth.  Now click on the right side where you will see a record from Sienno which is referenced by number in the second column.  The last column is where you will see that he died in Radom in 1928 at the age of 75.  You can see that there are additional entries in faded ink which I have been unable to decipher.


The second record is for my great-grandmother, Szajndla, daughter of Josek Rubinsztajn and Laia Bekierman and reveals that she died in 1920 at the age of 70. On another page I learned that her mother Laia lived with her youngest son until her death at age 92, a lengthy lifespan for someone born in 1812.  The fifth entry in the far right column reports on the marriage between my great-aunt Bajla and Szmul Cukier and the final entry in the last column is for my grandfather shortly before he immigrated.  My hunch is that it reports on his emigration plans.  The information in this column can only be accessed from the original pages.



       Sample Book of Residents Page - click on each side to enlarge

 

In addition to the material which you can identify through JRI-Poland, the archives also hold identity papers.  You can find examples of these on the Pictures page.  These date back to 1941 when Jews were required to complete an identification form, a rather sad document as we now know it was a year prior to their murders.  I provided a list of names to the archives for which they requested birthdates.  I received about 10% of what I requested.  The records provide parents' names, birthdate and address and often the only photograph that we can access for our family members. These records are housed under
„Naczelna Rada Starszych Ludności Żydowskiej Dystryktu Radomskiego w Radomiu. Dział Dowodów Osobistych” which translates to "Supreme Council of Elders of the Jewish population of the District of Radom in Radom. Department ID Cards "

In addition to these records, you can pursue other records identified at the
The Head Office of the State Archives website.  There are three databases that can be accessed through this site, SEZAM (inventories), IZA (population registers) and PRADZIAD (civil records).  While the databases are in Polish, you can identify Jewish records by searching for a few key words; Mojz eszowe, Starozakonnych and Zydow all are words which mean "Jew".  You may find such gems as a file titled, "wykaz starozakonnych, którzy przybrali nowe nazwiska" which roughly translates to "list of Orthodox Jews with new names".  The date is 1822-23 which is when Jews had to take last name (reference number 459).

Once you identify what you want to order you will want to place your order by e-mail.  The e-mail I have used most recently is
poszukiwania@radom.ap.gov.pl, but check the Radom Archive site to assure that this is current. I request a CD in TIFF format at 600dpi and the quality that I've received has been excellent.While you can write in English, the response will be in Polish. Their communication may be to ask for more information or to inform you that some of the requested information is held at the civil registration office.  If they can work with what you provided you will receive wire instructions from them and the amount of the order in zlotys. They will give you the equivalent amount in dollars and you can send the amount in zlotys or their dollar equivalent.  There will typically be a charge at your bank for an international wire in addition to the order itself. I have encountered delays in my orders which have usually taken at least 6 weeks to arrive.
 
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MY TRIP TO RADOM:Using the Archives I

Pictures none of us ever saw, of people none of us ever met

Courtesy of private submitter


In April 2009, my travels took me to Poland where I visited concentration camps, the shtetls where my ancestors used to live and the archives in which their records are housed. Two of my grandparents were brought up in Radom, one of them was born there and the other in a small village nearby.

 

As in other Polish towns, there are two relevant archives : the PSA and USC. The PSA (Polish state archive) holds mainly information that is older than 100 years. It holds this information from Radom itself and from other smaller towns and villages around. In addition there is some Holocaust related material there. 

The USC (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego - civil registration office) holds all the records that are less than 100 years old from Radom only. The Polish law states that papers less than 100 years old are to remain classified. Any access to them requires proof of relation to the people in the document.


If driving in Poland it is recommended to use a GPS.  Below are GPS instructions for the two archives:


Archive type Town Area GPS north GPS east Address
USC Radom Radom 51.3984168 21.1539335 5 Sniekiewicza Henryka
PSA Radom Radom 51.4032881 21.1432414 1 Rynek

I actually went to the Radom PSA 3 times on different days of that trip, each time with additional information looking for additional records. There were two very nice archive employees there that went out of their way to help out when they realized I am a Jew with Radom ancestors. While their English was far from perfect, by working with both of them simultaneously we managed to understand each other.

 They helped me find a few records that were not yet indexed by JRI-Poland but over a 100 years old (from 1907-1908). Than they brought me a book containing the indexes of Jewish ghetto IDs. There I was able to find long lost faces, pictures of my great-grandparents, my great uncles and aunts, and of my father's cousins. Pictures none of us ever saw, of people none of us ever met. The IDs also contained additional information including birth date, birth place, family information and even about their place of residence in the Ghetto. I found a lot of precious details there, things I could never have found otherwise.

The USC is a far more strict archive. There you need to prove your relation to people in order to receive any information. I found a young woman there who speaks English fluently and was very happy to help under the conditions of the Polish law. I came there with a notary letter clearly stating the names of my ancestors as others warned me that I would get nothing without it. They showed very little interest in that letter and it took some convincing (and begging) before I could get the information.

 

After leaving them detailed information about my family (even though I now know it was partly inaccurate), I was told to leave and come back 2 days later.  When I came back I had a big surprise - they found dozens of BMD (Birth, Marriage and Death) records about my family. These gave me many details I knew nothing of.

 

The old Jewish center of Radom is today being destroyed and rebuilt. The roundabout in Walowa St. (Ulica Walowa), for example, is the center of a large construction area nowadays. It was the center of the Jewish area 70 years ago. The old area is changing, but along with it evidence of the way our ancestors lived is also about to vanish.

 

Visiting and taking pictures of a house my family once lived in, I noticed the owner of the house looking at me nervously from the house. As I was leaving the place, the local police arrived and went in there. I believe he called them because I was taking pictures of the house. Naturally I didn't stick around to find out. The locals are probably afraid of Jews claiming the houses once owned by their ancestors.

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MY TRIP TO RADOM:Using the Archives II

  Courtesy of Susan Weinberg




On a recent visit to Radom, I spent several days at the Archives (PSA) and found much information on both my family and the broader Jewish community.  The Archives are located at 1 Rynek facing a small square. They are in a grey building which I believe was once the town hall.  You can park on the street in front of the Archives, but will want to purchase a ticket for your car from the machine at the end of the street for the amount of time you anticipate being there.  When you enter the Archives you will first go through a gate and turn to your right.  You will see lockers where you should deposit purses, briefcases and jackets.  You can take a computer into the room and if you get a table by the wall you can plug it in.  Pencils are available at the front desk as they do not want you working with pen.  You cannot take photographs, but you can purchase copies for 3 zlotys or scans for 6 zlotys.  The people who work there are very helpful and understood some English. 

Prior to going to the Archives I did extensive preparation by searching within the Polish Archives on-line catalog for which the link is on the archives tab.   This required the use of translation software as the catalog is in Polish.  The Archives do not have Internet access available for patrons so it was fortunate that I printed out the information on which I wished to search.  You will want to record the fond and identifying information from the desired record and they can then locate it for you.


While the Book of Residents is available on JRI-Poland it spans the period from 1860-1930.  Even though it covers periods up to 1930, JRI-Poland cannot put information out that is from the last hundred years due to privacy issues.  That means that if you pull the original record at the Archives you will likely find birth, marriage and death dates after 1907.  You can then obtain the record from the USC where civil records after 1907 are located.   They will want you to verify your relationship before providing the information although they seemed to accept my provision of family trees as adequate proof of relationship. One of your first approaches should be to search what is available on JRI-Poland so you can easily locate the original Book of Residents records for family members. Record the identifying numbers to assist you in locating family members.


By ordering original Book of Residents pages, I had found the death dates for my great-grandparents and went to the USC to obtain their death certificates as well as another family member's marriage record.  The USC does not give you a copy of the record.  Rather they complete a form with the relevant information which for marriage records included age at marriage, parents’ names and date of marriage.  The USC is not really an archive so most of the people who frequent it are seeking copies of current records.  As a result the costs are higher so you may wish to use it judiciously.  A record costs 22 zlotys which is roughly $7 at this writing.  I had e-mailed the USC at usc@umradom.pl ahead of time to determine which of my records they had available and received a response in English.  I then asked for the person who I had corresponded with when I went to the USC which simplified the process considerably.  


Back at the PSA Archives (which holds records older than 100 years), I requested access to the Book of Residents from 1840 which is the earliest Book of Residents that is available.  They provided me with a handwritten index by surname.  Within each surname is listed the given names in each family grouping.  I had previously found the records for my great-grandparents and their children in the Book of Residents through JRI-Poland.  By going back to the earlier 1840 records, I found the page with my great-great grandparents and their children, several of whom I had been unaware. 


In the on-line catalog you will find several types of records within which to search.  I had the most success with the records located in ELA which has a number of subcategories. While the on-line catalog states that it does not have lists of names or information on specific people, it does in fact have lists of names.  I explored the category of “dow” which is for passports and identity papers.  Here I found the record of the greatest interest to me. .It was titled “wykaz starozakonnych, którzy przybrali nowe nazwiska”.  If you’ve worked your way through Polish birth, marriage and death records you know that the word “starozakonnych” with some variation is used to signify a Jewish person.  What intrigued me about this record is that it was dated 1822-1823 which is the date I knew that Jews had to take surnames in lieu of patronymics.  When I translated the record title it translated to something along the lines of “the list orthodox who ? new names”.  I was hopeful that this file would tell me the last names taken and the earlier patronymic and to my delight it did exactly that.  Even better, it did so in a clearly legible handwriting, a gift we can only hope for.  There was my great-great-great grandfather’s patronymic Berek Herskowicz and in the adjoining column “Rubinsztajn”, the name which I knew he had taken.  This file provides a key to allow you to work back into patronymic records.  My great-great-great grandfather lived from the period 1774-1839 and his father’s name in the patronymic takes me back to the mid 1700s.  This file was just a few pages so I copied the entire record.  You can find it on the Names tab of this site.  Use it as a cross-reference for the patronymic birth records from Radom (available through Kielce Radom SIG Journal) to link them to their later names.


In 1813 there was an interesting file which listed both Jewish and Catholic persons in Radom and the amount they were assessed for a new hospital.  Remember that this is prior to surnames for Jews so again I needed to cross reference it with the patronymic/surname key.


Another find was a listing of synagogue members for both the Radom synagogue and the synagogues in the surrounding areas.  This record was typed in both Polish and Russian, an unusual discovery from a period when virtually everything was handwritten.  Again this offered a level of legibility that is not always available.  The record was from the late 1800s and included my great-grandfather’s name. You can find that listing on this site under the Names tab. 


Some records give you a flavor for the activities in the community.  One record was a list of names with slash marks by each one, some with only a few and some with many.  I inquired of the archivists and was told that it was a vote in the synagogue on the leadership.  It looked like Wajnryb was the winner.


In addition to the “dow” category mentioned above,  I also located Jewish records in “gosp”- households, “pod”- tax rolls and “wyb”- electors’ registers.  Look for the word “Żydów” which means Jew.  I looked at records from the war years which listed out those who were murdered at various locations, but all the names appeared to be Polish.  I would encourage you to work with the entire catalog as there are likely additional records to those that I located in the limited time that I had available.


The other file which you will want to explore takes you to more recent times, identity papers.  While most of them are from the Nazi era, there were also some records from the interwar period.  An index is available by name so you can identify the records in which you are interested.  Some will have accompanying photographs and most will offer parents’ names.  An interesting sidebar arose when I stopped in to the genealogy office of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.  They informed me that they had photographs of Jews from Radom that appeared to have gotten detached from identity papers.  You will find a list of the surnames which they have on the names tab of this site and contact information if you would like to determine if they have the specific person you are seeking.  

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© 2010-2016  Susan Weinberg
Please contact Susan Weinberg with your additions and your comments!
 Last updated October 13, 2016
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