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I am looking for a site/records for information on Jewish History in Europe of pre WWII era.

Mainly of birth and marriage records from Poland.

  • 3
    This should be rephrased to ask "Where can I find Jewish Historical Information Pre WWII in Europe?" – user47 Oct 10 '12 at 13:36
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Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland) is the best online resource for Jewish vital records from Poland. The site contains indexes to vital records, but not the records themselves.

There are two primary sources for the data on JRI-Poland:

  • Indexing of records that were microfilmed by the Family History Library
  • Indexes obtained directly through a JRI-Poland/PSA indexing project

There are also some additional types of records that supplement the vital records indexes. More details about the content of JRI-Poland are available on the Introduction page of the JRI-Poland website.

For areas other than Poland, the best online resource is JewishGen and the many Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that are either part of JewishGen or have an affiliation with JewishGen. The number and types of records available for each region varies greatly depending on accessibility to the records and how much work each SIG has put into obtaining relevant records.

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It will be helpful to know whether the Polish towns you're looking for used to be in the former Russian Empire, or the province of Galicia in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. As previously mentioned, JRI-Poland is your best bet if it was the former, and Gesher Galicia's All Galicia Database is your best bet for the latter.

If your Polish towns are in the extreme northeast corner of modern-day Poland, in and around the Bialystok area, then they probably used to be in the old Grodno Gubernia of the Russian Empire, and many of their records will be stored in the archives in Grodno (Hrodna), Belarus. Unfortnately, Belarus is a very closed country and practically none of their genealogical holdings have been microfilmed yet or otherwise made generally available.

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Two other sites with such records are Gesher Galicia and Genealogy Indexer. Gesher Galicia especially is gaining access to records in archives in Eastern Europe that have not previously been viewed or indexed, so there is a lot of potential interest there for you.

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While there is no question that Jewishgen is the single best resource for Jewish records (it also links to JRI-Poland), if you happen to have ancestors that lived in Vienna try the GenTeam.at site. It is free and has indices of Jewish records of birth, marriage and death/burial. If you find index records, you can then go to the Familysearch digitized film of those records to find the full corresponding record.

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