Haller's Army Recruitment Index

Recruitment poster for the Polish Army in France (aka Haller's Army)

An estimated 20,000 Polish persons answered the call to fight for freedom and the opportunity to regain Poland’s independence during World War I in the Polish Army in France (in Polish, Armia Polska we Francyi). They were recruited from among the Polish immigrants who came to America.

The Polish Army in France was also called “Haller’s Army,” after the general who commanded it, or the “Blue Army,” for the blue uniforms the soldiers wore. Since Poland was not independent and did not have its own army, Haller's army fought alongside France in World War I. This index was prepared from recruitment papers archived at the Polish Museum of America, in Chicago, IL.

Explanation of the Recruitment Forms

There are three groups of records first enumerated and then described later:
Group A is a collection of form A papers.
Group C is a collection of form C papers.
Both of these collections are bound into (book) volumes. To locate the record, the page number, volume, and record group must be provided. As far as I know, there are no online versions of Group C volumes and most Group A volumes as they had not been imaged.

Group L is a collection of loose papers. They are duplicates of those in Group A and Group C.
The page column of the index tells you which forms you can expect to find among the loose papers. A single individual might appear in the index multiple times– having paperwork in each collection. Copies of papers in Group L are available online at familysearch.org

Description of the forms;

Form A is an intention to volunteer and contains the name, address, age, and marital status. If you clicked on the link and brought up the image, you can see where the staples had been to bind the pages in book form. If you zoom in, you can see where the perforations are so that copies could be torn out. See an English translation of a blank Form A.
Form B is a medical examination report, in English, for the volunteer. These most often are found among the loose papers collection. They provide a physical description as well as medical information.
Form C is the final commitment paper and the most genealogically significant for researchers. Form C would include the date and place of birth and usually the name and address of a parent or other close relative. See an English translation of a blank Form C.
The forms are typically carbon paper copies of the original and in some cases do not provide a quality photocopy.

Haller's Army Recruitment Records Search Form

Enter information into any of the fields below. It is not necessary to fill in both fields. In fact, doing so is only recommended when the name is very common.

exact match: enter the name exactly the way you want it found (e.g., Adam will find ONLY Adam).

match first: enter the first part of name to be matched (e.g., Adam will find Adam, Adamik, Adamowski).

wildcard search: enter any part of the name (e.g., Adam will find Adam, Adamik, Adamowski, and Hadam).

Provided you are using "match first" or "wildcard search", you may use the % character to represent any number of letters and the _ (underline) character to represent one specific letter. Additional explanation here.

Explanation of the Index Format

by James J. Czuchra

The Surname, Given name, City, State columns are self-explanatory as to what they are. The City is usually the recruit's place of residence but it may be the city where the recruitment paperwork was prepared. The city and state are helpful to narrow the choices if the person of interest has a common name. The other column headings will now be explained.

A numeric entry in the Page column indicates a record in Volume of Form Type. Access to the record would require having all three pieces of information. The Form Type specifies the collection the record was found in, the volume refers to a specific bound volume within that collection, and the page is a particular sheet in the volume.

An alphabetic entry in the Page column indicates the type of form or forms available for that person in the 'L' (loose paper collection) Form Type. An M here means miscellaneous. While there are many miscellaneous document types, the most common are documents signed by wives or parents saying the the recruit had their permission to join. The Volume entry will be '0' or blank because these copies of the papers are not bound. A Volume of 0 means the index record was created in the early 1990s. A blank Volume field means the index record was added in 2020 during a reindexing initiative. These new records will have a number below the Form Type in the Form Type/# Pages field. This is the number of pages associated with that person's record. So if the number is 9, it is likely that there is more than one copy of the same papers. It is fair to say that for Form Type A or C, there is probably only one page even though the index doesn't show a number.

The following fields added during reindexing are only accessible to users of this website:

The Birth Date field is otherwise self explanatory but do not rely too heavily on it. Often the birth year is reckoned from the age and might be off by a year (and sometimes more).

The Birthplace field is also self explanatory. The birthplace is my best effort reading of the locale given in the original record. Be prepared to do additional research on the locales because most reflect civil divisions as they existed in the early 20th century. For example, Galicia refers to Austria-Poland, kr. Poland refers to Russia-Poland, and ks. Poznan refers to Prussia-Poland. Galicia is also known as Mala Polska (MP) in the records. If you see 'gub.' (gubernia) in the place name, it means this locale was in Russia-Poland. 'pow.' (powiat) is like a county, 'gmina' is like a township, 'poczt.' is the nearest post office. If you see 'POLAND' (all caps) in the locale name, this is its the modern civil description. You should have no trouble finding the POLAND locales by doing an online search.

The Status field refers to the recruits marital status: m for married, s for single, w for widow/er, d for divorced.

The Description/DGS field refers to how the LDS refers to the digital folder containing this record. The first part is the word description of the folder and the second part, the DGS, is an LDS collection number similar to a microfilm number but is specific to the digitized collection. This field is also a link to the first image of that digital folder.

The LDS Seq field tells you the starting 'page' number within the digital folder where documents for the recruit starts. Take note of this number and click on the link in the Description/DGS field. That takes you to the folder but now enter the number noted from the LDS Seq field to pull up the first image for the recruit.

Additional Information

I am a firm believer in going back to the original record (image) no matter what an index tells me. There is often more information in the original that was not indexed-- like the address of the nearest relative in the US and in Poland. The names and relationships of these relatives are often given. You may find that there is conflicting information to be resolved-- like when each time a name is written, it gets spelled slightly differently. Sigh! I go back to my old admonishment, 'An index is a finding aid, not a substitute for the original record.'

Place names with 'POLAND' (all caps) in them have been researched and believed to be correct. Keep in mind that many locales in Poland bear the same name and Google doesn't give you all of them. You have to figure out which is the correct one. It's also complicated by the fact that Poland has undergone many reorganizations of civil divisions over the years. In fact, that is why I don't include the województwo (province) names. I have found that if I include the powiat name as part of my Google search, I get the correct one.

New in August 2020: The LDS imaged much of the Form A collection and most of the loose papers and made them available on their FamilySearch website. (There appears to be a missing section among the W's (Wisniewski through the beginning of Wojciechowski.) All of the imaged loose papers have been reindexed and added to the index here. Users of this website can easily access the images and the additional indexed information like: birth date, birthplace, and marital status.

A total of 26,197 loose paper collections were reindexed. (When I give numbers here, they are not necessarily as exact as they appear for reasons I will not go into here.) Of those collections, 23, 097 had a form C that included some indication of a birthplace. A majority of those, 15, 088, were from the Russian partition (the Kingdom of Poland). There were 6, 242 from the Austrian partition (Galicia), at least 985 from the German partition (Prussia). There were 748 born in the United States, 31 from Canada, 2 from Brazil, 1 from Argentina. The rest were from other countries in central Europe.

Polish Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. X, #1, Spring 1987, pages 1, 3-4.
“World War I Polish American Military Records,” by Joseph T. Hapak, a brief history of the Polish Army in France

Searchers, the Newsletter of the PGS of Western New York, #8, January 1993, pp. 17-20. “Buffalonians in Polish Army,” compiled by Ted Smardz, a listing of Buffalo recruits.