Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia at a Glance

By Lisa A. Alzo Premium
Being familiar with the modern geographic jurisdictions covering places your ancestors lived will help you orient yourself and find their records. Here’s a quick look at the countries of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, from our essential guidebook for discovering the lives of your Eastern European ancestors, The Family Tree Polish, Czech and Slovak Genealogy Guide by Lisa A. Alzo.
Click each map below to open a larger version in a new window (images may load slowly).

Poland at a Glance

  • Official name: Rzeczpospolita Polska (Republic of Poland)
  • Short name: Polska
  • Capital city: Warszawa (Warsaw)
  • Area: 120,726 square miles
  • Bordering countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
  • Formerly part of: Austria/Russia/Prussia (1770s–1918)
  • Modern geographic divisions: 16 województwa (“voivodeships,” or provinces); historically, powiaty (counties)

Czech Republic at a Glance

  • Official name: Ceska Republika (Czech Republic)
  • Capital city: Praha (Prague)
  • Area: 30,450 square miles
  • Bordering countries: Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovakia
  • Formerly part of: Austria/Austria-Hungary (1300s–1918); Czechoslovakia (1918–1993)
  • Modern geographic divisions: 14 kraje (regions), divided into 76 okresy (districts)

Slovakia at a Glance

  • Official name: Slovenska Republika (Slovak Republic)
  • Short name: Slovensko (Slovakia)
  • Capital city: Bratislava
  • Area: 18,933 square miles
  • Bordering countries: Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine
  • Formerly part of: Hungary/Austria-Hungary (1000s–1918); Czechoslovakia (1918–1993)
  • Modern geographic divisions: seven kraje (regions), divided into 79 okresy (districts)


From the May/June 2016 Family Tree Magazine 

New course: Find Your Polish Ancestors

This 4-week Family Tree University course starting May 10 will help you find your Polish ancestors by debunking myths, explaining history, and pointing you to the most useful family history records.