2018 Meeting and Event Schedule Coming Soon!
Welcome to our website! The Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts was founded to:
We welcome your comments and questions and invite you to join us at our next meeting or event.
For more information, please go to About PGSMA or call 413-586-1522. Information about membership may be found in this brochure. We look forward to hearing from you.
Fall 2017 Meeting
Crossing the Ocean: Researching Family History in the Polish Archives
by Professor Jonathan Shea
This Presentation will examine the record keeping practices in all three partitions and show frequently encountered formats of sample vital records of birth, death and marriage. Additional record types will also be discussed such as parish censuses, military draft lists, inventories, cemetery research and others. Polish websites which contain indexes and digitized records will also be presented. The location of archival materials and access policies to archival collections will be discussed as well.
Free Beginner Genealogy Classes Offered Fall 2017
A free course sponsored by the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts covering all of the the basic elements of genealogy research will be taught this fall at the Polish Center of Discovery and Learning, 33 South Street, Chicopee It will be taught by Hillary Schau, a Professional Genealogist on Tuesdays, October 24, 31, November 7 and 14. The course will be offered mornings and afternoons. There will be a 10 am class and a 1 pm class for each of the four weeks. This class is limited to 16 people and registration is required, but easy to do!
Fall 2016 Meeting
CSI Meets Roots: Meet a Forensic Genealogist!
by Colleen Fitzpatrick
Forensic scientists and genealogists share the same goal – to find out who was who, and who did what and when. In explaining how to analyze photographs, to mine databases, and to use DNA analysis to reveal family history, Dr. Fitzpatrick focused on how forensic genealogy can and has been used to solve mysteries from our family’s past.
Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, is an internationally recognised forensic genealogist, the founder of Identifinders International. She has been involved in high profile forensic cases, including the identification of the Unknown Child on the Titanic and the Amelia Earhart project; she is now the Forensic Genealogist on the Abraham Lincoln DNA Project. Colleen has also been a key member of team that have exposed three international Holocaust literary frauds. Colleen's collaborations include the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the US Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Office, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, the University of Arizona, Harvard Medical School and other noted professional organizations. She is a Fellow of the Society of Photoinstrumentation Engineers (SPIE), an Associate Member of the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS), and an Adjunct Professor at Boston University.
Worcester, June 2016
Worcester 'Powiat': Polonia in Central Massachusetts
by Barbara Proko
Today more than 50,000 people in Worcester County self-identify as Polish Americans, the majority descending from immigrants who settled in Central Massachusetts a century or more ago. These ethnic Poles came not from a sovereign nation called Poland but from the German, Austrian, and Russian empires. Overlooking their disparate places of origin, they bonded to create a vibrant web of relationships in their new shared county—Worcester powiat, as it might be called in Polish.
In Clinton, Dudley, Gardner, Southbridge, Webster, West Warren, and Worcester, they organized Polish parishes. In other towns with significant Polish populations, such as Fitchburg, Gilbertville, South Grafton, and Uxbridge, they founded Polish homes and Pilsudski clubs. And they traveled countywide to support and celebrate their shared ethnic heritage at a broad range of religious, social, athletic, and cultural activities. What do we know today of their lives a century ago? How can we trace our own Polish families back from Central Massachusetts to Europe? This program will consider the chain migration that brought the immigrants from their places of origin through European and American ports to their ultimate settlement in Massachusetts, focusing on the myriad organizations and events that unified them here. Finally, it will identify a variety of helpful resources for documenting these Polish lives in Worcester County.
Sudbury, May 2016
Joint Meeting of PGSMA and Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Boston: Books of Residents & Other Valuable Polish Records
by Fay and Julian Bussgang
There are many valuable genealogical resources in Poland beyond vital records, some of which are now available online. The most informative are Books of Residents (Księgi Ludności). These are 19th–20th century municipal registration books that have survived for many towns. They contain detailed information about all the inhabitants in each household who had their legal residence in that community. Other useful documents include business directories, passport and I.D. applications, notary records, deportation to Siberia records, professional and military records. Fay and Julian Bussgang showed examples of data from these sources and explain how to access them. This talk focused on documents that are not connected to any particular religious group but apply to all who have roots in Poland.
Boston Polish Fest, May 2016
On May 1, 2016 the PGSMA was delighted to host a table as part of the cultural displays on exhibit at the Boston Polish Festival. Although the day was a bit cloudy and chilly, the turn-out at the event was large and diverse. Festival attendees included recent immigrants, those of Polish descent, and plenty of folks pretending to be Polish for the day!
Volunteers at our table spent the afternoon answering general questions about the Society, how to get started on research, and how to get past roadblocks. A few who visited the table were lucky enough to find out where their ancestral villages are on today's map of Europe, the meaning of a surname, or how to start turning an old box of photos into the roots of a family tree.
Those who visited the table also had the chance to find out more about upcoming events. Some lobbied for more events in eastern Massachusetts so they can advantage of the PGSMA. That feedback certainly will be considered as we plan future events. We thank everyone who visited our table at Boston Polish Fest 2016.
Lowell, September 2015
On September 20, 2015 the Lowell Polish Cultural Committee and the PGSMA hosted and PGSMA genealogical outreach at the Dom Polski in Lowell. A crowd of 75 attendees listened to speakers Alan Doyle Horbal and Sara Campbell present talks suitable for both the beginner and avid researcher.
After the talks, volunteers were on hand to assist with translations, research, and questions. The ever popular Map Your Ancestral Village display was manned by two volunteers.
The Lowell Polish Cultural Committee assisted with organizing, publicizing, and running this event. The group provided refreshments as well as a table of additional resources. The Dom Polski in Lowell hosted this event allowing those living in and around in the surrounding areas the opportunity to attend this event.