Sunday, July 8, 2012

Polish Newspapers Detroit, Michigan

As in most of America the Polish population played a important factor in the population growth in Detroit, Michigan.  The language barrier provided a opportunity for the establishment of Polish newspapers to cater to the local population.  This leads to a new place to locate information on your ancestors.

When searching our family history the general assumption is the information about our ancestors will appear in the English speaking newspaper in their community.  For recent immigrants and non English speaking ancestors this is not the case.  We often overlook researching our ancestors in the local ethnic newspapers.  In the history of Detroit there were four Polish newspapers.  These papers played a important part in the lives of Polish in Detroit as well as staying in touch with their Polish homeland.  It is here that you will find the records of births, marriages and deaths.  They often did not get covered in the English speaking paper.  It often took generations to learn the English language.  Blending into the English speaking population often took decades.

The newspapers that were published in Polish, time period and location of copies are as follows.

Citizens Weekly- 1935- 1973 State Archives of Michigan, Lansing, MI
Dziennik Polski- 1904-1941 State Archives of Michigan, Lansing, MI\
The Polish Daily, 1904-1941, State Archives of Michigan, Lansing, MI
Glos Ludowy, 1942-1969, 1972-1979, State Archives of Michigan, Lansing, MI

The information you will find in these newspapers could be the key to locating origins of your Polish families back in Poland.  Remember that the term Polish often applied to the language and not the place of origin.  Included in these groups would be people that came from Russia and Prussia.  The common denominator between all these groups is that they spoke some form of Polish and were often lumped together with the people that came from Poland proper.  They were often identified by the area within Poland they came from as well.

The language barrier for us can be difficult, but many language word translators exist on the internet.  They identify the common words like birth, marriage and death in Polish and translate to English.  By no means do you have to know how to read Polish.  Just like the English written newspapers of the time the events of the time appeared in the same sections and often the same pages from day to day.

In the upcoming weeks I will be working on the other language groups and the papers that existed in this area.  As always I look forward to your input.  Don't be afraid of leaving comments.