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Ukraine Tours › Documents

Ukrainian/Galician Archives:Records,Research and Resourcefulness by Alex Dunai

[ Presentation made by Alex Dunai to the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) Conference in New York 2006 ]



Majority of researchers are familiar with the “traditional” birth, marriage, death records stored in the main archives of Eastern Galicia – Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil.                                                                                                                                             However the information contained in the above records is not enough to know “how it was” in “those” days. Life is not limited with birth, marriage and death, there are many things beyond that and we all are keen to know what it was like when our grandparents lived, where exactly did they live, what kind of job did they have, what income, etc  etc.

The main purpose of this presentation is focusing on other types of records, which sometimes can substitute the missing vital records, provide researchers with additional valuable information that is not presented in the well-known vital documents and in general to shed more light on our ancestors’ life.                                                                                                                                   There is no doubt that Census records are of great importance for genealogy studies. Very often they contain information that would be hard or even impossible to find in other sources.

Unfortunately only little part of the Census records or at least are known to be located in the Galician archives.                         Majority of those records are only partly saved.                                                             

                                                                                In IVANO-FRANKIVSK (STANISLAWOW) archives one can find census records dated 1857, 1880, 1900 and 1939 for the city of               Stanislawow.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Census 1880 has only volumes for the letters from A to J.

Census 1900 is saved only for the 2nd district of the city.

Census 1857 is in better condition – majority of volumes where Stanislawow inhabitants were listed along with their domestic animals, are saved,

Census 1939 is extended, arranged in street order document.

This Census is very special because the registration cards were filed on August 30,1939 and in September 17,1939 Soviet troops occupied Eastern Galicia as a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

So this is the most "recent" and most full source of information on all Stanislawow inhabitants before WW2.

TERNOPIL archive has Census 1910 of Jewish people of Tarnopol - completely saved, extensive document. As a rule day,month,year and exact place of birth that includes name of a shtetl and district are listed there. This information is very important because very often children of the couple were registered in different places.

 The second volume of Jewish census of Tarnopol for 1880 is stored in Lviv historical archives.

All those documents contain similar kinds of information:

A)names of family members and their relative connections;

b) date of birth;

c) place of birth;


What's important, usually in the CENSUS records not only those persons who lived in that place constantly are noted but also those people who lived there temporary. Very often this kind of listings helps to find out where a family was originally from.

As to census records from other towns and villages of Galicia, the only documents I know are partly saved census records of 1819 and 1880 for the town of Zholkiew that is stored in the State Archive of Lviv Oblast

The State Archive of Lviv Oblast (a different one than the Lviv Historical Archive) is particularly promising in terms of finding unknown documents of great genealogical value.

One of the types of records that are systemized well enough are applications for last names change, permissions for marriage and divorce, confirmation of Polish citizenship dated 1921-1939.

Those are documents of the civil registration department of Lwow Wojewodstwo Government (Fond 1,opys 26). Here is a sample of such record:

Arnold Feigler correct Klinghoffer applied for permission to change his last name to Klinghoffer in 1922. He works as a manager at “ S.Nadel and K.Katz” factory of Boryslav that produces drills. Usage of a double last name affects business.

Applicant is legally married and has a 5 year old daughter, he is an owner of the house in Drohobych..

Arnold Feigler correct Klinghoffer was born in 1890 in Michalowce, Drohobych county as son of Reizel Feigler and Leib Klinghoffer.

His wife Debora nee Lecker was born in 1890 in Drohobych, her parents are Moses and Hencia.











The documents of such kind can be found in other archives but as s rule they are disseminated in the Courts and local governments’ documents.

For example there are thousands of sheets on the cases about the changes in vital records waiting for description and analysis in Ternopil regional archive.

The next type of documents which are important for genealogic research are applications for issuing passports for traveling abroad and IDs.

Such documents are best systematized in Ivano-Frankivsk archive.

It took archivists several years to arrange the applications in alphabetic order. These documents date back to 1919-1939 and they were written by the residents of Stanislaw, Kolomyia and Bohorodchany Counties. Apart from the important information about the date, place of birth, parents, family members, address and occupation the applications have photos of the applicants.

 It should be noted that such applications are saved in other regions that were part of Poland in 1919-1939.

One can find them in Lviv, Ternopil archives as well as in Rivne and Lutsk archives.They should be looked for in the documents of Magistrates and local governments. 



One more important source for genealogical research is landownership and cadastral records and maps. Three main types of these documents are stored in Lviv historical archive. These are Josephine and Franciscan Cadastral Surveys and the document of Galician Land Tax Commission.

 Josephine cadastral Survey is the first document of this kind in Galicia compiled in 1785-1788 when the Austrian rulers had to get taxes from the newly obtained lands.

The cadastres were created for every separate settlement (community) and contained such documents as  land registers-the detailed description of the land property, the name of the owner, the size of the plot, the kind of the plot, (for example pastures, arable lands) and the profit they bring.                                                                                                                                                              Franciscan Cadastral Survey was compiled in 1820 on the basis of Josephine Cadastre taking into account the changes of the ownership and taxation of the plots of land.

The documents of Galician Land Tax Commission of the Ministry of Finance of Austria are of special significance. This is FOND 186 in the Lviv historical archive which contains 23632 files, more that 10.000 of which are the cadastral maps of towns and villages of 20 circuits of Galicia such as Brzezhany, Zholkiew, Zloczow, Kolomyja, Lwow, Przemysl, Sambor, Stanislawow, Stryi, Tarnopol, Chortkow, Rzeszow, Sanok, Yaroslaw, Yaslo, Bochnia, Nowy Sanch, Krakow, Tarnow, Wadowice.

The maps of every settlement are provided with the journals of registration of land parcels indexed by the number of the plot and the ABC index of the parcels owners. In both cases the number of the map sheet with these parcels is obligatory indicated.

The cadastral maps were mainly created in 1846-1850.

First the drafts of the plots were drawn circa 1846.   

 The next stage was the creation of black-and-white maps in which you can often find the name of the owners written on the drawing of the parcel.

 Finally, the colored versions of cadastral maps were arranged, where the green color was used to show gardens, light green for pastures, grey color was used for forests, the arable lands stayed uncolored, the red color was used for brick houses and the yellow color was used for wooden houses.


 One of the main questions that appear in front of a researcher who was lucky enough to obtain a bunch of B,M,D records dating back to the 19th century and containing the numbers of the houses where family used to live for decades, sometimes for 100 years and more, the house where several generations of ancestors were born,- How can I find the place where my ancestors lived?   Cadastral maps are the only sources which can help you to find the answer to this question.

 The most helpful is the second variant-the black-and –white map. As the rule both the numbers of the houses and the numbers of the parcels are indicated there, the houses being  marked by black color and the parcels by red color.

The colored maps have only the numbers of the parcels-i.e. to indicate the location of the certain house you have to find the number of the parcel where the house is situated. To do this you have to use journals of registration of land parcels and the alpha (ABC) indices of the parcels owners.

 How to find the house or the place in the town or the village? First and foremost, while studying maps you have to pay attention to the geographic location of the house. Then you have to find the landmarks such as Market Square(Rynek), Church,Synagogue, cemetery, school, river, bridge etc. to help you identify the place. Take into consideration the fact that all the cadastral maps of Galicia, a well as maps of other parts of Austro-Hungary use the scale 1 inch to 40 Klafters corresponding to the scale 1:2880.(1 Klafter = 189.7 cm)

You can see   a copy of a birth record of Joseph Ber Katz who was born in Stryj on December 20,1857  in the house # 32  and a fragment of Stryj Cadastral map(Fond 186) which shows precisely that house #32 was situated in the street that goes from Rynek (Market Square) in the direction of the Synagogue.

Those who have been to Stryj may remember that Rynek and Main Synagogue are on their places and using a modern map in addition to the Cadastral map it’s easy enough to find the place.  The cadastral maps are provided with the card file which makes the research easier.

Apart from the Lviv archive a certain number of cadastral maps is stored in Ternopil archives disseminated in different FONDS.


The next type of documents I would like to mention are documents on the elections to Sejm and Senat(Polish  Parliament) that are common for almost all the regional archives of Western Ukraine : Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk,Rivne,Lutsk. However only in Ternopil(Tarnopol) those documents are united in a special Fond.

In the fonds of the archive there are 2286 files dated 1922-1939 for over 1000 towns of Tarnopol Province that used to include the following counties:

Brzezany County

Borszczow County

Brody County

Buczacz County

Czortkow County

Kamionka Strumilowa County

Kopyczynce County

Podhajce County

Przemyslany County

Radziechow County

Skalat County

Trembowla County

Tarnopol County

Zaleszczyki County

Zbaraz County

Zborow County

Zloczow County

 Those records contain voters’ lists for males and females of 24 and more years old where address, age or birth date and occupation are  usually listed:

List of electors to Seim & Senat for the town of Szczurowice,  Radziechow County, 1930










Name & surname




Resides since













   Sterlin Leizor


   Sterlin Feiga


      Sterlin Izak   





















Shop keeper






Mourning book of Ukraine

Another document standing apart and different from the “traditional” archival materials

is titled Mourning book of Ukraine. Such books were published for every Oblast(province) of Ukraine and each of them is arranged in alphabetical order list

of civil inhabitants who perished in the WW2.Jews comprised the big part of those.

Besides the name of the individual they usually contained some other details.

The main sources for arranging the “Mourning books were as follows:

-materials of the State Extraordinary Commission for investigation of the Nazi crimes;

-documents of the regional ZAGS (civil registry) offices;

-documents from archives of various state institutions;

-information and data from veteran organizations and local historians;

-information provided by Jewish centers and communities. Particularly significant and important was contribution of Yad Vashem .

Of course, because the registration of civil victims during the war was very incomplete, the  first “Mourning books” that started to be arranged and published only after 1992 have many misspellings of names ,some persons may be duplicated, etc. This is not unusual for this type of documents and certainly doesn’t diminish the value of the Mourning books.

The main difficulty concerning this source is the language: they were printed in Russian or/and Ukrainian. These books one can find in many Oblast archives, ZAGS offices and city/regional administration offices.

There were published over 140 volumes of mourning books that contain the names of about 4 millions of civil citizens of Ukraine who perished in WW2 and this work is still going on.

Below is an abstract from a Mourning book of Khmelnitski oblast.


Kordash  Genia Mendelivna [Genia daughter of Mendel],student. Shot by the Nazis

on August 5, 1942. Buried in the mass grave at the city of Kamenets Podolski.


Kordash  Izya Mendeliovich [Izya  son of Mendel],student. Shot by the Nazis

on August 5, 1942.Buried in the mass grave in the city of Kamenets Podolski.


Kordash  Kuka Mendeliovich [Kuka  son of Mendel],student. Shot by the Nazis

on August 5, 1942. Buried in the mass grave in the city of Kamenets Podolski.


Kordash  Mendel Moiseyovich [Mendel  son of  Moisey],official. Shot by the Nazis

on August 5, 1942.  Buried in the mass grave in the city of Kamenets Podolski.


Kordash  Sima Isaakivna [Sima daughter of Isaak],born in 1908,housewife. Shot

by the Nazis on August 5, 1942.Buried  in the mass grave in the city of Kamenets Podolski


Kordash  Kheiva Mendelivna [Kheiva daughter of Mendel],student. Shot by Nazis on August 5, 1942.  Buried  in the mass grave in the city of Kamenets Podolski


            Source:Mourning book of Khmelnitski oblast.City of Kamenets Podolski





Added on 2013-02-08 13:59:23.
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