Book Review: Korzenie Polskie, Polish Roots

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Korzenie Polskie, Polish Roots
by Rosemary A. Chorzempa. Genealogical Publishing Co., 2014. 270 pages.

This second edition of Rosemary Chorzempa’s book is a welcome update of what is simply the best Polish genealogy book out there. With several sections of new material particularly focused on online research, Polish Roots re-asserts its place as a singular and essential Polish research guide.

Part One: Research in America covers the American documents we can pursue: the trunk in the attic, ciocia kasia (talking to your family), church records such as parish anniversary books, cemetery, gravestone, and funeral records, obituaries, fraternal societies, alien and draft registration records, the U.S. Passport Office, and other resources. She writes excellent instructions for using the records of the Family History Library and Centers, she describes the Polish Museum of America Archives and Library in Chicago as well as several (American) Polish genealogical societies, and offers a list of local and regional repositories with Polish collections.

Part Two: Research in Poland offers information for the researcher going to Poland. First chapters give a history of Poland, with particular attention to the vovoids (provinces) utilizing maps, timelines, and explanation. Chapter six describes each vovoid in detail, followed by chapters for locating your ancestor using maps and gazetteers, and using the records of Poland. There is even a chapter detailing how to write a letter to a Polish repository with exact and correct Polish language wording.

Interest in genealogy inside Poland has increased. With the emergence of Polish genealogical societies, volunteers have indexed and published records online. One example:

BASIA (Database of Archival Indexing System),; The Wielkopolska Genealogical Society (WTG “Gniazdo”) has begun a project to transcribe and index vital records that have been released online by the Polish National Archives. The area covered is the Wielkopolska (Greater Poland) area, near Poznań.

Numerous online collections are described and cited.

Ms. Chorzempa gives historical nod to the diverse populations who occupied Polish lands: the Slavic, Prussian, German, Jewish, Caraïtes, Scots, Dutch, Irish, Armenian, Russian, Bohemian, Tatar, Tzigane, English, and Italian peoples.

She describes the Polish-related histories and records of the numerous sects of religions: Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Evangelical (Lutheran), Mennonite, Reformed (Protestant), and Hebrew.

Although a long time in coming, this second edition finds its way to a deserved and distinctive spot next to its sister on the genealogy book shelf.

Korzenie Polskie, Polish Roots by Rosemary A. Chorzempa is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at as well as from Amazon at


Another great source for Polish marriage information can be found at the Poznan Project Łukasz Bielecki and his volunteers have done a marvelous job transcribing and indexing these records.


Regina Markowicz July 7, 2015 at 6:14 pm

I just ordered the book on Amazon for $23.70 with free shipping filled by Amazon with my order of over $35. Hope it is good!


If people are looking for additional good books on Polish research, I recommend these two: 1) “Going Home – A Guide to Polish American Family History Research” by Jonathan D. Shea, A.G. and 2) “In Their Words – A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish Documents” by Jonathan D Shea & William F Hoffman.


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