Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy
Cecile Wendt Jensen
A review by Jerome Biedny
This book is perfect for someone who has several generations of family here in the United States and knows even less about their roots in Poland. It will help you organize what you know and point you toward more information. The various pictured examples, pulled from eastern cities with major Polish communities, will be familiar to many readers. The ‘modern’ part of the subtitle is threaded throughout the book, culminating in tips for digital photographs and Web addresses.
Many of the subjects covered are relevant to non-Polish research as well. Her coverage of census records, city directories, etc. is very helpful. There are full chapters on Military Records and Immigration & Naturalization records. Then the discussion turn specific with excellent summaries of the changing geography of Poland during the Partitions as well as tips on reading old-style, hand written records. There is also good coverage on the care and preservation of documents, photographs and other heirlooms.
The most distinctive feature of the work is the Case Study chapter. The half-dozen examples span a range of typical family situations. They give great practical insights to research methods. But more, they offer hope that, no matter how little you may currently know about your family, if you use the right research methods, you can find out even more. This gives inspiration to the beginner and long-time searcher alike.
Unfortunately, the entire book was not fact checked. For instance, the information on our Society still lists us as being located in Golden Valley. But, on balance, this would be a great gift for the budding family historian with lots of energy, but not much previous direction.