The goal of this website is to develop resources (mostly indexes) for genealogists doing research on Polish ancestors here and abroad. Genealogical societies, sadly, often do not provide the vision and leadership to initiate and sustain projects of this nature. Ideally, the resources of this site will include records of Polonia nationwide.
The five US counties with the highest numbers of people with Polish ancestry were: 1 Cook (Chicago), IL, 2 New York, NY, 3 Wayne (Detroit), MI, 4 Erie (Buffalo), NY and 5 Milwaukee, WI. This isn't particularly surprising since these are areas in the industrialized north. Many immigrants found work in these cities. Now let's look at counties with the highest percentage of people with Polish ancestry: 1 Sherman (Loup City), NE, 2 Portage (Stevens Point), WI, 3 Nance (Fullerton), NE, 4 Presque Isle (Rogers City), MI and 5 Luzerne (Wilkes-Barre), PA .
In addition to seeing the content of all the fields (if the record provided that information), subscribers have had some additional search options besides the wildcard options that everyone is free to use. Generally the default options along with usage of wildcard characters is all that's needed. But some options available only to subscribers have been added and are the subjects of this article. At the bottom of each search form, there are three options, Normal, Soundex, and Look-alike.
As someone who reads A LOT of handwritten documents, I am aware of some of the common areas of confusion that can arise in transcribing names. But even though I am aware of them does not make me immune to interpreting the letters incorrectly! It's still incredibly hard. In a previous article, Coding by Sound, I summarized how names can be coded by how they sound. This is a valuable tool since names can often be spelled multiple ways and still sound the same.
Despite our best efforts, online databases contain errors! Most databases I have seen do not provide a mechanism for correcting them. Perhaps it's too complicated to do or someone may have a misguided notion that their entry is authoritative. In the latter case, preserving an error often makes the record inaccessible to all except possibly the most shrewd of researchers. Subscribers to this site have a mechanism for correcting substantive errors in most of the databases on this site.
Now it's easier for subscribers to find some of the records indexed on this website. If the image is online, the Parish/Location column may show a link to get you closer to the image faster. The link brings you to the first page of the appropriate online image collection (you may be prompted to log in to familysearch.org first). Enter the value in the LDS Image column of the index into the Image box and click Go (or press Enter). This should take you to the image containing the indexed record. Just two easy steps!
St. Joseph Church in Lockport, IL was founded in 1868 by German immigrants. There were few Polish families in this parish but is included here because it was my home parish and is part of my "family". The parish records don't start until 1874. There seemed to be a lot of crossover between St. Joseph and St. Alphonsus in Lemont. So, maybe the person you are looking for is in Lemont. Before St. Joseph's was established, the only other Catholic church in Lockport was St. Dennis-- another place to search out.
Many of the maps on this site have some interesting features that are not readily apparent unless you do a little experimenting. They are not your typical static maps like we find in print. These maps are interactive.