The Tarnowski Family Archives at the Wawel The Magnate Landowner Records


As I climbed the steep cobblestone and brick walk way this beautiful castle began appearing.. The Wawel had been the seat of Polish government and burial place for many of its ruling dynasties. The palace located on the 90 degree bend of the Vistula river and the south end of the old beautiful city of Krakow this is where I would find the landowner records for the Tarnowski family, former governing family for the town of Tarnobrzeg and many other villages.
The reason for making a pilgrimage, to this place, was because there weren’t many Jewish records available either in the town itself or at the regional archives in Sandomierzc. From the book, by Jadwiga Muszynska, on the Jews of Sandomierzc and Lublin counties I had learned there was census for Tarnobrzeg located at this archives. So, I processed to write them for details of they’re holding, and found out the records cover the period from 1310-1951, containing 4027 archival units and 122 linear meters of records. Wow, I was impressed. Plus the records were inventoried in a 900 page typed book, written during 1952-1968.
Later I would learn the inventory book was very easy to use providing you read Polish. The book contained columns for the record numbers, a description of the records, It’s dates, for what years and a description of the records, whether book form or just pages..
All thought the organization of book was done with no rhyme or reason. Not by years or type of records, nor alphabetization. It is easy enough to thumb though the pages and see each topic.
In preparation for this trip I had written them asking permission to use the records, and whether anyone spoke English. They did not answer, but my friend Barbara visited them and found out, someone spoke English and would be there on that date, when I would be In town. Note; the archives were closed during August.
So, as my trip of a life time began, I found myself meeting, Barbara in lobby of the small Saski Hotel, just off the old Krakow Square, it was 9 a.m. We walked about a mile to the Castle, climbing the steep walk way and turned to the left into the inter court. We found the door, easily, as Barbara knew where she was going.. The first thing I notice it was how cool it was inside and as my eyes got use to not as much light? I saw six desks, a xerox machine, three microfilm readers, and a map table When I turned to the left I saw a room lined with book selves and very large books. Barbara spoke to the man in Polish, he said “No,” my heart sank, but as we moved to the outer room and sat down, he bought the 900 page inventory book. I began, to thumb though, as Barbara filled a form or two. (see enclosers). I spied record number 194 my census for 1772, let’s order the next years.
The bundles came wrapped in brown paper, like a sack, tied with string or pieces of material, then two hard cardboard sheets the size of the pages. There they were, five bundles, each over two hundred years old. List of names of the Jews and Christian from Tarnobrzeg-Dzikow.. It was only 15 cents to microfilm these lists of residents, for each page. They don’t xerox 200 year old pages.. Fifty cents is charged, a page to do new documents.
One document, I found particular interesting, about was two Jews were required to bring the Torah scrolls into court, so they could swear, on them, like they do in court with the Bible. I asked for a copy of that.
Records numbers, 194-246, dealt with the village of Dzikow for the years 1772-1793, Except for the name lists, all other records dealt with administration. There were separate lists for the town of Tarnobrzeg. Each page was sealed with a wax stamp. Just a note about translation of words.. I found, much direct translation of words from Polish to English, miss leading. What I mean, is the word don’t mean what you think is implied. After about a dozen sets of brown packages, it was 2 p.m., the archive was closing, and We hadn’t had lunch. Tomorrow I would return without Barbara. At this point, I must point out, a translator is recommend, or at least a strong advocated even though Mr. Korolewicz spoke English.
Before Barbara and I left the archives, Barbara filled out more order forms for the next day.
Alone the next day, Mr. Kkorolewicz spoke English to me. He help me though the process. I think the trust had been developed. Although he questioned some of my choices of pages I ordered to be copied. Once I had to write out why I wanted a page copied. It turned out OK. I told him I taught and spoke on Polish genealogy.
I had copied, many types of records, some for property deeds, like record number 922. Record number 944, dealt with the brewery and the Jews right to sell liquor, was located in record group number 296. Record number 449 dealt, with a proclamation, signed by the Jews for the year of 1853.
I cannot list all the record groups I looked at. I always say, I never planned enough time. I could have easily stayed a week more. The records will be copied and mailed after the archives month long vacation, and this will be done at another location, either mailed to me by Barbara or by the archive. By the way the archive charges it’s citizen’s one price for coping another for foreigner. I should receive the records in September.
I would suggest, you research to see if your town was owned or governed by a magnate landowner, because there are many useful records beside birth, death and marriage records that could help your research. There is a list of these magnate records on the Avotanyu web[i] page. I do not believe the list is complete, because on the Avotaynu page, the Tarnowski archive, is listed, at the wrong location.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ [i] Avotaynu