Samples of Vital Records



Vital Records

Submitted and translated by Susana Leistner Bloch

From 1784 the Austrian government started requiring registration of all birth, marriages and deaths.  At the beginning this was done, or supposed to be done by the Catholic Church.  For obvious reasons Jews were reluctant to register in churches and as a consequence no Jewish records have been found.  Later the Jewish community took over the responsibility for maintaining Jewish records.

When one views archival records of that time the differences in entries is obvious as these communities used a variety of forms and procedures in collecting and entering information.  In 1875 the collection of Jewish records was standardized and in 1875 a manual was published by the Austrian Government detailing the requirements for maintaining Jewish vital records in Galicia.

These are samples of documents acquired when I visited the Rzeszow Archives. The events (marriage, birth, death, etc.) are entered on a ledger. There are several entries on each page. Because of Poland's new privacy law, one can only request copies of documents of one's family. All other information is blocked off. Because of this, the following documents appear to be in two parts. In reality, they are continuous but had to be photocopied in two parts. Some of the documents have both German and English while others only have Polish. The following explanations are not a translation, only an approximate indication of what the entries mean.


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