Michał Pawiński, Akta stanu cywilnego w Królestwie Polskim w pierwszej połowie XIX w., w: Archeion, t. 104, wyd. NDAP, Warszawa 2002, ss. 203-220
"Michał Pawiñski, Civil status records (BMD books) in the Kingdom of Poland in the
first half of the 19th c. Upon the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland, commonly referred to
as the Congress Kingdom, legal provisions binding on its territory were those enacted during
the existence of the Warsaw Duchy. Among those provisions, the Napoleon’s Code (NC) was
of fundamental importance for the issues discussed. Another legal act coming from that period,
worth mentioning, was the King’s Decree of 23 February 1809: Official Price List for Secular
and Church Registrars. A new Civil Code of the Kingdom of Poland (CC KP) was enacted on
13 June 1825 and it entered into force as of 1 January 1826. Regulatory acts to the above
mentioned provisions included decisions of the Governor, the Administrative Council, ordinances
of government commissions, referred to as rescripts, orders, resolutions, decisions, etc.
Civil status records were drawn up by registrars competent in respect of the place, in which
a given fact emerged, being the requisite to prepare a relevant certificate. The NC did not
specify who was competent to make civil status certificates, leaving this issue to be resolved
under applicable regulatory acts. The aforementioned Official Price List became such a regulatory
act and pursuant to that document (Article 4), church registrars were released from the
execution of actions in conflict with the character of their vocation, such as announcing civil
divorces, publishing the banns and solemnizing marriages contracted between persons previously
divorced under the civil law. Such actions were to be performed by presidents of towns and
mayors. Civil status records of persons of the Jewish faith were usually drawn up by parishpriests.
The situation was similar in the case of persons of other non-Christian faith. Vicars,
apart from keeping civil registers of vital records were also drawing up documents required
under the church law. Both types of documents were totally independent.
The principles connected with civil status records presented in the article survived on the
lands of the Congress Kingdom for over 100 years, undergoing only some superficial modifications
after 1850. In practice, the way they used to be drawn up, verified and used was often not
quite letter-bound, as mentioned several times in the work. Both the legislator and the hitherto
doctrine often paid attention to that phenomenon. Most popular and important illegal activities
consisted in drawing up civil status records by parish-priests in handy notebooks (diaries) to be
entered into the register at a later date. Sometimes, resting satisfied with certificates, civil status
registers were not kept at all. Certificates were recorded by unauthorised persons (curates, organists,
etc.), signed in blanco, arbitrarily corrected by persons who were receiving them, notes attached
to the records were not signed, etc. Persons responsible for keeping the registers, while
making several entries on one day, used to specify the date only for the first entry made, with date
as above reference in respect to the remaining ones. It significantly hindered making any official
copies later on. Inaccuracies in the spelling of dates, names and surnames were common.
During the two inter-war decades, the above mentioned regulations faced increasing criticism.
They were claimed to be outdated, incoherent and burdensome for the State. They remained
binding until 1 January 1946, i.e. until the entry into force of the decree of the Polish
National Council of 25 November 1945, entitled the Law on Civil Status Records."
Źródło: Archeion, t. 104