Iwona's Sources - Finding Living Relatives - Update

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Finding Living Relatives - Update

The editor of Rodziny suggested to me that many of our readers are interested in learning how to seek out living relatives in Poland. I have already written once about the subject, in the Winter 2013 issue of Rodziny. This time, let me explain more precisely the conditions for access to information from the central holdings of the Polish government's administration. Searches for living relatives can be con­ducted via an administrative route; but this method is hemmed about with numerous regulations that serve to protect personal data. To obtain any kind of information, both the office and the person we are look ing for must give their consent.

At present, personal data for all Poles is found in two central collections of the De­partment of Citizen Affairs in the Ministry of Internal Affairs: by PESEL number and by personal identification documents.

The Centrum Personalizacji Doku­ mentów or Document Personalization Center (often referred to by the acronym CPD) possesses a database organized by the PESEL numbers that are issued to each citizen of Poland. This register was com­ piled in the 1980s and deals with persons living in and registered in Poland.

CPD does not possess archival records, civil registry records, or registration cards, and can give no information on current places of residence. Information of that sort can be obtained in the territorial registra­ tion offices and the civil registrar offices.

CPD provides access to data from its register only to the persons involved, or on the basis of requests from organizations with legal interest: public administration organizations, courts, insurance, legal of­fices, police, border guards, prison staffs, military intelligence, and so on.

Persons who do not fall into the afore­ mentioned categories can apply for infor­ mation under the condition that they verify their interest in the facts in connection with settling an administrative matter, and the person involved gives his or her consent.

The second collection of personal data comes from the Register of Identification Documents, and access to it requires the same conditions as described above for the PESEL number database.

For that reason, genealogical searches for living relatives do not have widespread application here.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Interior Affairs did not answer my question as to where, physically, the archives of the old Centra Address Bureau on Kazimierzowska Street in Warsaw are located now. If I acquire that information, I will certainly pass it along for the readers of Rodziny.

The address of the Document Personalization Center is:

Centrum Personalizacji Dokumentów MSW
Wydzial Udostepniania Danych
ul. Pawinskiego 1 7 / 21
02-106 Warszawa

Editor's Note-Iwona's earlier article on this subject included the following informa­tion. "You need only mail an application form, along with official papers proving you are related to the person sought, to the Pol­ish national address office, officially called Wydzial Udostepniania Informacji Depar­ tamentu Spraw Obywatelskich MSWiA (Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnetrzych i Admin­ istracji) [Information Disclosure Division of the Department of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration]."

I asked Iwona to update this because in 2011, the Polish government reorganized the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Admin­istration into separate entities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Administration and Digitization. I wondered if the reorganization affected access to data on Polish individuals. Apparently it did. We will pass along any further updates from Iwona.

Iwona Dakiniewicz, Lodz, Poland <genealogy@pro.onet.pl>

[with translation assistance from William F. Hoffman]Top of Page

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Last Updated on July 6, 2017