Important news for family historians — the Polish State Archives (PSA) and Jewish Records Indexing – Poland (JRI-Poland) have entered into a new multi-year agreement to expand access to Jewish records.
JRI-Poland hosts a searchable online database of records from more than 550 towns, going back to the late 18th century.
According to a news release, the agreement, signed Feb. 15, will enable JRI-Poland to expand its current online database of indices to five million records, the largest database of Jewish vital records online. Indices to more than one million additional records are expected to become available within a year and will dovetail with the opening in Warsaw of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
In a statement, the PSA announced that it is beginning a massive effort to digitize all vital records in their more than 30 Regional Archives. These will be available — free — on their National Digital Archives and Regional Archive websites.
JRI-Poland will link its search results to the PSA’s digital images of the Jewish records. As a result of the massive indexing undertaken by JRI-Poland since 1995, the indices to Jewish records will form the bulk of all digital image linking on the PSA website.
In addition, the announcement said, JRI-Poland and the PSA will institute a new Order Processing System to simplify the process of obtaining copies of archival records. JRI-Poland will have the administrative responsibility for processing orders for records from branches of the Polish State Archives. Researchers will be able to place orders by clicking on record index entries of interest in the JRI-Poland search results and paying by credit card via the JRI-Poland website. The Order Processing System will eventually be phased out as digitized records become available online.