Sunday, February 4, 2018

Polish Schoolchildren's Signatures

Anyone who had family in what was Poland of 1926 (which includes parts of modern-day Ukraine and Lithuania, as well as much of modern-day Poland and parts of what used to be Russian Empire, Galicia, Czechoslovakia and East Prussia among others) needs to be aware of an incredible resource hosted by the Library of Congress.

In 1926, in honor of America's 150th anniversary of independence, Polish schoolchildren wrote their signatures in "admiration and friendship for the United States."  Children of all religions participated--Jewish names are interspersed with Ukrainian, Polish, and Czech children's names.
Page of signatures from schoolchildren in Horochow, Poland (now Horochiv, Ukraine), 1926

The above page is from the school that my grandmother would attend--but unfortunately she was only 4 years old in 1926, so she was not yet in school.

While this website has an incredible amount of information, it isn't the most user friendly site.  The best way I found to navigate the site is as follows:
  1. Use the index to towns here.  Make sure to use the Polish spelling of the town, not the modern-day spelling.  
  2. Assuming you find your town or one nearby, note the volume number and page number from the index.
  3. Go to this page and find the volume you found above.
  4. Then find the page(s) for your town.
Page of signatures of schoolchildren in Torczyn, Poland (now Torchin, Ukraine), 1926.  Lejzor Garber is likely related to me.
Because 1926 falls in between generations of my immediate family being in school, I haven't found many known relatives (yet).  But hopefully this information will help many others find signatures of their family members and be able to definitively place them in a particular town in 1926.  Comment below if you find anything!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).


  1. Thanks! I found a first cousin once removed, in Lomza, Poland.

  2. I found my father’s signature as a 9 year old boy. Such a blessing.
    Margot Bester.

  3. I found my father’s signature. Such a blessing. Thank you.

  4. Thank you! I followed a link to this page, and it has been priceless. It's very poignant to see my aunt's name in what would have been her seven-year-old handwriting. Also discovered on the same pages some names that can help me, I believe, in my genealogy search. Again, thank you!

    1. I found my dad's younger brother Iwan's signature in the page for Kasperowce. Very moving as he was later conscripted by Red Army and died of starvation in a German POW camp in East Prussia.

    2. Oh, I'm so happy you found that!