The following book review was written by and is copyright by Roberta (Bobbi) King. Please do not republish this elsewhere without the author's permission.
“Sto Lat” is Polish for “one hundred years,” the title of a celebration song often sung on birthdays. This introduction to Cecile Jensen’s book Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy (by Cecile Wendt Jensen, Rochester Hills, Michigan: Michigan Polonia, LLC. 2010) is the first of many translated Polish words and phrases the reader will encounter in this Polish research guide along with a bounty of document images: nearly every page has examples of research logs, charts, maps, photos, illustrations, and drawings, which give the reader a real sense of the Polish research journey and the people.
I recommend this as a first-buy book for beginning Polish researchers, then consider buying one of the several recommended books Ceil describes in her early chapters. An especially nice section describes the several Polish genealogy societies where a researcher can find additional help.
Ceil covers the broad aspects of the documents and sources, aiding the beginning genealogist by offering information about the history and value of the record groups. She explains the origins of the record sets, their reasons for being, and the information offered to the genealogist. If a non-Polish researcher picked up this book and read through it, the information would be valuable even to the general researcher. As a certified genealogist, Ceil is solid in her knowledge of the records, and her professional teaching background results in a readable, interesting narrative that is neither boring nor dull. There are some grammatical errors (“Church of Latter-Day Saints” should be “Church of Latter-day Saints”) but these few flaws do not detract from the quality of the content.
Book chapters cover fundamental research, military records, immigration and naturalization records, geography, gazetteers, and maps, record keeping and handwriting in Polish, case studies and historical documents, heirlooms, documents and family collections, and research both digital and traditional. There are over one hundred research web sites cited in the book, and with a 2010 publication date, this new book has web addresses that stand a very good chance of being up-to-date.
Ceil’s text is easy to read, lines are nicely spaced, with narration that is easy to follow and understand. Ceil graciously acknowledges the editorial and production assistance of her colleagues, but her own teaching background has resulted in an excellent and interesting research guide.
You can read more about Ceil and her book, (and her several published books) at http://mipolonia.net.