The archive in Stettin. Photo by Jan Savage.
Church and Civil Registers are online at PRADZIAD. The direct link in English is: http://www.archiwa.gov.pl/pl/data-bases/388-vital-records-and-civil-registers-pradziad.html
These Registers are also online at the German website:
On the left side of the page under the heading "Diese Site übersetzen" you can select "English" or another language if you wish.
Pommerscher Greif e.V. has also added a direct link to all the microfilmed LDS church records alphabetically by village/town under each Kreis. They then list alphabetically all the online church books from the Szczecin Archives.
The direct link for the church books is:
The direct link for the Civil Registry Office in Szczecin, Poland is:
The Stettin archive also requires advance reservations. There is a daily fee and a Polish form which needs to be completed before research. There is a limit to how many books can be requested in one day. Researchers are observed on a monitor.
NOTE: AS OF 15 JANUARY, 2012, RESEARCHERS ARE PERMITTED TO PHOTOGRAPH RECORDS USING THEIR OWN DIGITAL CAMERA (without flash).
If you are only visiting for the day and have a rental car be sure it is in a gated, guarded (and insured) parking lot. One is located a few blocks away from the archives.
Last time to order books is 2:30 p.m. each day, even on Monday's when Archive is open until 6 p.m.
The church book for Gross Raddow, Kreis Regenwalde was not in good condition. It had no cover, and was a big thick book, about 4-5 inches thick, held together with the string of the old binding. Sections were loose and pages were out of order, It was difficult to follow through family lines while jumping around years.
The problem I had is even though I had specifically requested the Gross Raddow church records in advance, when I arrived I was given the civil records. These civil records have been microfilmed by the LDS and I had already searched them at my local library. I had not only done my research as to what records they had at the Szczecin Archives before going on this trip, but had received copies of birth records from the Gross Raddow church records from them by mail months before my visit. After I finally convinced them that it was
the Church records for Gross Raddow I wanted, not the civil records, I was shocked to learn the these church records are stored at another location and that it took three to five days for them to arrive at the Szczecin Archives. We could not drive to the other town where they were stored, as they could only be viewed at the Szczecin Archives.
I don't know what other records may be stored at this or another location, but be prepared for the unexpected at this Archive. I suggest you not only be very specific if you want to see church records and for what village and time period when you make your reservations but highlight or emphasize the word, "church". They have a publication which lists the village church books available with the dates and contents of their archive.
Note: Be sure if you pay for a photocopy done by the archives that they put their official stamp on it. This "official stamp,” is given as the reason for the cost of the copies
Watch out for "Special Holiday's." I planned on returning to do more research but the archive was closed on Friday for a "Special Holiday." I never found out what the special holiday was. I took the name of the person working in the research room and his phone number and had our polish guide telephone the archives and speak directly to him to be sure the Gross Roggow church book was there before driving back to Szczecin.
Be aware of time needed to order books, - order your next books/records at least half an hour before finishing with book you are working on or else will be just sitting and waiting for your next book. Archives can suddenly limit you to a number of books you can research per day.
The reference book used by the staff at the Szczecin Archives is an old edition. It did not show church books that we knew were at the archives. You must prove to them that they have the records or you will not be able to order the church books and look at the records. Joanne took a photocopy of the title page and the page listing the records for Labuhn, Kreis Regenwalde and had to show them these pages to get the records. Another person asked for these records a month later and did not get them - they did not have, "proof."
Stettin/Szczecin Archive Information by Sullivan Richardson, 1 May, 2011
Stettin/Szczecin Archive Information by Sullivan Richardson, 1 May, 2011.
I visited the Archiwum Panstwowe (Staatsarchiv) in Szczecin, Poland in March, 2011 which I want to report about.
First of all, I want to thank all of you who made suggestions as I was planning my visit. Everything worked out great!
I was there the week of March 7th through March 11th.
Notwithstanding the published hours, here's when the archive was open:
Monday - 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM
Tuesday - 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday - 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM.
I made an "appointment" by email before I arrived, which really helped them to be ready for me. The church books I wanted to look at were already pulled and waiting for me.
Here are my suggestions to anyone planning a visit:
1. First, search the database of "church books and civil records" at http://www.pommerndatenbank.de/. (Thank you, Gunthard, for this wonderful resource!) This should help you confirm that the records are at the Stettin archive. I'd print the results page out and take it with you! The reason is, the column called "signature" is actually the book number at the archive. It will help you to know which volumes (books) to request. (I referred to this page quite often during my visit, to request additional volumes.)
2. Next, check the archive's PRADZIAD database to confirm that they also show that they have the records. Here is the link:
I suggest you search for both the German name and the Polish name of the town you are interested in. (If you don't know the Polish name, check the www.kartenmeister.com database - Thanks, Uwe, for this resource!) Sometimes, items are listed under one name but not the other. The search results should be consistent with the pommerndatenbank results, but the book numbers are not listed. These results will also show whether the books are physically stored at the Szczecin location or whether the archive has to arrange for the books to be brought in from another location. (Apparently, the archive has some satellite offices.)
3. Send an email to the archive at: email@example.com, telling them when you'd like to visit and what records you'd like to look at. For this email, I actually "cut and pasted" the results of the PRADZIAD database search into my email, so they'd know exactly what I was looking for. If you know the book numbers you'd like to start with (from the pommerndatenbank search), include those in your email, so they can pull the books ahead of time. You can write the archive in either English or German. It took about a week for them to respond to me. If you get a response in Polish, use http://translate.google.com/ to translate it. If it appears to confirm your visit, print it out and bring it with you. Note: The man who responded to my email was Witold Mijal, who is in charge of the reading room where you will look at the records. If you don't get a response by writing to the "sekretariat" email address above, try writing Witold directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. I was at the archive at 8:30 the first morning. (It was an easy 4-block walk from my hotel. You don't need to rent a car to get around town.) After stepping inside the front door, I was greeted by a guard at a window in front of another locked door. I showed him the print-out of the email confirming my visit (step #3), and he not only let me in, but he escorted me to the reading room, which was up one flight of stairs (no elevator that I could see).
5. In the reading room office, I met Witold (who speaks Polish and German) and his younger assistant (who speaks Polish and English). I found them to be very helpful during my visit. After showing my passport and filling out a few papers, I was given access to the books so I was able to get right to work. There is technically a limit of 5 books at one time that you can have access to, but since I knew the book numbers from step #1, this was not a problem. Also, since they don't rush to refile the books, you may find that they'll keep the extra books you're interested in right there in their office.
6. Witold seemed genuinely interested in my work. Even if you don't really speak German, I suggest you learn a few phrases in German to explain why you're there, bring a pedigree chart to show what your family connection is, etc. Being a non-native German speaker himself, I found him to be very patient with my efforts to speak German with him.
7. It was easy to request additional books from the storage area, but they like to have a few hours notice. Also, although no photography is allowed in the reading room, it was easy to request photocopies, which cost about $1 or $2 each, depending on the size of the pages.* Again, you should plan ahead and allow them several hours to make the copies, since they like to plan their time and make all the copies at once. Other than the optional photocopying charges, there were no costs to use the archive.
8. The tables in the reading room had adjoining electrical outlets, in case you wish to plug in a charger for a computer. For my part, however, I found it faster to copy things down by hand on preprinted forms I had designed, and then input the data into my computer program later. Of course, how you do it is totally up to you!
9. There are a number of places to eat within easy walking distance of the archive. There is also a large, modern, indoor mall about 1/2 mile north of the archive (the Galaxy Centrum), which has anything and everything you might want, including a food court, Internet cafe, shopping, entertainment, or just a place to sit and relax other than your hotel room. Szczecin is undoubtedly a beautiful city to visit during the summertime, but in March, it got quite cold after the sun went down each day.
* Joyce Gardner note - in 2009 I was given a choice of having photocopies or having the records photographed and put on a CD. At this time the archive preferred to have the records photographed because it is more archival friendly to use a camera without flash than having them photocopied. The cost of several records on a CD was $3.00 in 2009. When Sullivan Richardson visited the Archive in March, 2011 putting his records on a CD was not mentioned to him. As he wrote in a follow-up e-mail to me, "They never did offer to
make me a CD,, but that doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't do it if you asked. Interestingly, I recently sent Witold a follow-up email and asked if he would look up a specific record for me. He responded by emailing me back and attaching some .jpg pictures of the record that were apparently taken with a digital camera. So I guess perhaps that is still an option if you request it, but I have no way of knowing for sure or what it would now cost." My advice is to ask if they will photograph your record/records and put it on a CD for you and be sure to ask the cost for this