Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Index

by James J. Czuchra

The Polish Roman Catholic Union of America (PRCUA) was founded in 1873. It began selling fraternal insurance in 1886. While it started in Detroit, its headquarters were moved to Chicago. The PRCUA is also known as the ZPRK as it is often found in Polish newspaper death notices.

Early death claims (before about 1912) are names entered into ledger books. This is of little genealogical value except perhaps to establish that an ancestor was a member. Death claims afterward are valuable since a death certificate is usually part of the claim. If the person became a PRCUA member prior to 1912, it is unlikely that an insurance application exists. It is possible to find applications in the claim packets of members who joined after 1912. The application is usually a good genealogical source, since it may shed light on the Polish place of birth and information about the number of people in the applicant’s family.

I prepared the index by entering information from the available ledger books which had been stored in the basement of the PRCUA building. The ledgers are now part of the Polish Museum of America Archives. The Volume/Page in this index refer to pages in these ledger books. So, an index entry does not guarantee that a claim packet exists. The following are not available:
1. Early records (1887-1912) were ledger entries only – without documents.
2. Some documents were destroyed by water or other damage.
3. Later records (claim #50200 and over) and cash surrenders are not accessible.

The significance of the Date field is determined by the Notes field. A blank Notes field in the index means the entry is an adult death claim. If there is a j, it is a juvenile death claim. If there is a c, it is a cash collateral/surrender.

When the early claim packets were (digitally) scanned in the mid-1990s by the PRCUA, they created their own index which was based on extant death claim packets only. I discontinued further indexing of the ledger books at that point. The PGSA was the recipient of the packets after they were scanned. Due to the high cost of storage, they were transferred to a university archive in Connecticut.

In about 2010, I inquired about the availability of PRCUA records which had not yet been scanned yet for genealogical research. These records are now covered by the PRCUA privacy policy which is highly restrictive. James Robaczewski, the then Secretary-General and Treasurer of the PRCUA, said that the records would be scanned before disposal of the originals. So, while the information is not available to researchers, it is still preserved.

Polish Roman Catholic Union Records Index

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).