Recruitment Record Database - Background
by James J. Czuchra
Copyright © 1996 by the Polish Genealogical Society of America, all rights reserved
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 to fight with France.
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. [See Polish Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. X, #1, Spring 1987, pages 1, 3-4, "World War I Polish American Military Records," Jospeh T. Hapak, a brief history of the Polish Army in France; and 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.]
Most of the recruitment papers for these persons are preserved in the archives of the Polish Museum of America. The recruitment papers for an individual usually consist of a set of three forms, A, B, and C.
- Form A is an intention to volunteer and contains the name, address, age, and marital status.
- Form B is a medical examination report for the volunteer.
- Form C: The most genealogically significant information appears on Form C. It includes date and place of birth and usually the name and address of a parent or other close relative.
So what about the index? The index is arranged alphabetically by name so that you can easily find persons of interest. The city and state give the place the person was from when volunteering. This is helpful to narrow the choices if the person of interest has a common name. The last column is labelled "Form" but serves as a location code. It describes which record group the information will be found in.
There are three groups, A, C, and L. Group A is a collection of form A papers described above. Group C is a collection of form C papers. Each of these collections are bound into volumes. To locate the record, the page number, volume, and record group must be provided. Group L is a collection of loose papers. 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 three times — having paperwork in each collection.
Obtaining Copies of the Recruitment papers
To obtain copies of the recruitment papers, include the information given in the index with a donation of $10.00 USD per name payable to the Polish Genealogical Society of America (PGSA). Please mail your request to the following address.
Polish Genealogical Society of America
Attn: Haller's Army Search
984 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622-4101
Much of this article appeared in the Polish Genealogical Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 1, #3, Summer 1993, pp. 10-11, "Polish-American Military Records Organized" by Jim Czuchra. The article includes photocopies of representative forms.
Many of the expenses incurred in the creation of the Haller's Army index were paid for by the Polish Genealogical Society of America.
This index is broken into a series of 42 files. To find the specific file that includes the name you are seeking, please refer to the Haller's Army Index on the PGSA website.
If you prefer to browse these 42 files, please use the links below.
Update from 17 June 2021 by The Polish Museum of America:
All reproduction requests, along with payment (fees starting at $25) are to be directed to the Polish Museum of America. The Polish Genealogical Society of America website provides very clear instructions with a PDF of the formal request form: https://pgsa.org/polish-