Information about Church records books
The Archdiocesan Archives in Katowice conduct genealogy search for people who would like to obtain information about their ancestors and relatives. The three series of church records which are in our possession apply in geographical manner to the borders of the Archdiocese of Katowice, as established in 1992. Our Archives have gathered baptism, marriage, and death records from 62 parishes, reaching from Radzionków and Ruda Śląska to the north, Mysłowice, Chełm Śląski, and Miedźna to the east, Wisła Mała, Pielgrzymowice, and Gorzyce to the south, Golejów and Knurów to the west. Parish records from the area of the Diocese of Gliwice (i.e. Bytom, Zabrze, Tarnowskie Góry), the Diocese of Sosnowiec (i.e. Jaworzno, Sosnowiec, Będzin), and the Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec (i.e. . Bestwina, Strumień, Czechowice-Dziedzice) are to be found directly in specific churches or Diocesan Curias according to their territories. Diocese of Gliwice ul. Łużycka 141-101 Gliwicetel. +48 032 230 71 42 firstname.lastname@example.org://www.kuria.gliwice.pl Diocese of Sosnowiec ul. Wawel 1941-200 Sosnowiectel. +48 032 293 51 51 email@example.com://www.kuria.sosnowiec.pl Diocese of Bielsko-Żywiec ul. Żeromskiego 5-743-300 Bielsko-Białatel. +48 033 819 06 00 firstname.lastname@example.org://diecezja.bielsko.pl The records in our possession have been transferred to the Archdiocesan Archives from individual parishes in two stages, based on decrees issued by Metropolitan Archbishop Damian Zimoń. During the first stage, which assumed parish priests to transfer the church records of three series, from the 17th, 18th, and the whole of the 19th centuries, about 1200 archival units (record volumes) poured in to the Archives. After having issued the second decree in June 2008, the Archives have been enriched by approximately 700 records reaching from the beginning of the 20th century until the end of World War II, yet there are still more to come. It is worth mentioning that the Archives are not in the possession of all the records produced in individual parishes. It is caused by the fact that many of them have been destroyed during war operations, especially during WWII, fires, or theft. What is more, some records are still in their original parishes because, for example, they started in 1939 and are in use up to this day, or their entries end in 1970s. In these cases the censorship of 1945 does not show the actual state of our records (i.e. baptism records from parish of Radzionków reach 1948, but its death records reach 1945, and marriage records – 1929. All of the other records are in Radzionków). Our Archives records concern Catholics, however, individual records of mixed marriages (i.e. catholic-evangelical) can also be found here, as can baptism records of children coming from such relationships. What is also interesting, there were situations that a catholic priest baptized Lutheran children in a catholic church. In 1770 miner’s children twins from Emanuelssegen (nowadays – Murcki) were baptized in Tychy, where the girl left the building as a catholic, whereas her brother became a Lutheran. In the 17th century the parish priest of Niemiecka Wisła was the only catholic in it, all the rest of the flock, including the sexton, were Lutheran. There are parts of records which concern conversions from Lutheran or Hebrew to catholic. The language used in records in the 17th, 18th, and even in the beginning of the 19th century was Latin. The acquisition of this area by Prussia after the Silesian wars of 18th century (1740 and 1763) didn’t immediately result in the change of language in the records (German language was also the official language in Austria). Some entries in the records from that time have been written in Polish, which was caused by ethnic specification of this region of Upper Silesia, but also by the fact that some priests had been educated in seminaries in Małopolska or they simply came from it (Bytom and Pszczyna deaneries had their metropolis in Cracow until 1821, it was transferred to Wrocław after Pius VI issued a bulle called De salute animarum). During the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th the language used in records was German. In 1922 Polish was introduced to the records in the lands disconnected from the Wrocław Archdiocese, lands remaining in Germany still used German.
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