Project: Poland/Resource Library

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About Poland

Administratively, Poland is divided into areas called Voivodeship, Powiat, and Gmina.

"A województwo ([vɔjɛˈvut͡stfɔ]; plural: województwa) is the highest-level administrative subdivision of Poland, corresponding to a "province" in many other countries. The term "województwo" has been in use since the 14th century, and is commonly translated in English as "province." The word "województwo" is also rendered as "voivodeship" (/ˈvɔɪˌvoʊdˌʃɪp/) or a variant spelling."[1]

"A powiat (Polish plural: powiaty) is the second-level unit of local government and administration in Poland, equivalent to a county, district or prefecture (LAU-1, formerly NUTS-4) in other countries. The term "powiat" is most often translated into English as "county". A powiat is part of a larger unit, the voivodeship (Polish województwo) or province."[1]

"A powiat is further subdivided into units known as "gmina," (Polish plural: gminy) in English, often referred to as "communes" or "municipalities." Major towns and cities, however, function as separate counties in their own right, without subdivision into gminy. They are termed "city counties" (powiaty grodzkie or, more formally, miasta na prawach powiatu) and have roughly the same status as former county boroughs in the UK. The other type of powiaty are termed "land counties" (powiaty ziemskie)."[1]

"Please Note: different powiaty and gminy sometimes have the same name in Polish, since the names of different towns may have the same derived adjective. For example, the counties with their seats at Grodzisk Wielkopolski and Grodzisk Mazowiecki are both called powiat grodziski, and those with seats at Brzeg and Brzesko are both called powiat brzeski. In English this ambiguity either does not occur (Brzeg County and Brzesko County) or can be avoided by using the complete name of the seat (Grodzisk Wielkopolski County and Grodzisk Mazowiecki County)."[1]

Fast Facts

  • Capital and largest city: Warsaw 52°13′N 21°02′E
  • Official language: Polish
  • Regional language: Kashubian
  • Minority languages: Belarusian, Czech, Lithuanian, German, Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Yiddish
  • Government Type: Parliamentary republic
  • Current President: Andrzej Duda
  • Current Prime minister: Mateusz Morawiecki
  • Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, Polish National Anthem
  • Area: 312,679 sq km (120,696.41 sq mi)
  • Water (%): 3.07
  • Population estimate (2018): 38 million
  • Gross Domestic Product: (PPP): 2016 estimate, Total: $1.051 trillion
  • Currency: Złoty (PLN)

Resources For:

Poland's History

Military History


Poland and the United States

Geography/Maps of Poland

Poland's Monarchy

Polish Culture

Polish Language Resources

Polish Naming Conventions

Polish names consist of one or two given names, followed by a family name (surname). Polish surnames are hereditary and generally patrilineal (passed from the father to his children). Polish surnames are affected by gender endings; for example, with the family name of Kowalski, the male name would be written as Kowalski, while the female name is written as Kowalska. [2] If a wife takes a husband's surname which ends in -ski, her new surname will end in -ska.[3]

Resources for Polish Names

Cemeteries in Poland

Related/Other Resources

G2G Posts Related to Poland/Polish Genealogy

Records Search by Subject

Birth, Marriage, Death Records

Census Records

Land Records

Polish Immigration and Emigration

FamilySearch Polish Categories: Direct Links

Page Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Voivodeships of Poland, Wikipedia
  2. Polish Naming Conventions
  3. Surname origins

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