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Teodor Żychliński : Złota księga szlachty polskiej. T. 1-31. Poznań, 1879-1908
Teodor Żychliński : Kronika żałobna rodzin wielkopolskich 1863-1876 r. Poznań, 1877
Teodor Żychliński (1836 - 1909) was an officer in the Prussian army who, after retiring, became both a journalist and a Polish conspirator. In the meantime, he conducted research in heraldry and genealogy.
In 1877 Żychliński published Kronika żałobna rodzin wielkopolskich od 1863-1876 r., which contains short biographies of well-known people (not only from Wielkopolska) who died during this period. The text includes reprints of obituaries, remembrances, and short family genealogies (which were not always accurate). In 1879 he started publication of Złota księga szlachty polskiej. The following annuals were published each year until the author's death.
Złota księga szlachty polskiej consists of two main parts: descriptions of families (Monografie historyczno-genealogiczne); and current almanacs of Polish nobility (Kronika Rodzin and Nekrologia). There are also occasional appendices.
The volumes do not always follow a pattern, nor is the quality always consistent. One must keep in mind that it was a commercial business for the author. Although some genealogies are well-documented and based on primary source materials, others are compilations and reprints from other publications. Some are stories, based on fictitious sources, designed to flatter noble families. However, later volumes are of greater quality, because the author found a few experts with whom to work. Some families sent him reliable and accurate information about their genealogies. He wrote several of the last volumes by himself when seriously ill; consequently, they are again of poor quality. Also, lists of Polish and Lithuanian dignitaries and their families, written by Teodor Żychliński, Jr. and Józef Mycielski (published in the middle volumes), are compilations which repeat mistakes. The most dependable (although persistently panegyric) are Kronika Rodzin and Nekrologia, because they refer to current events which could be verified at any time.
Although there is much information in Złota księga szlachty polskiej, details should be used very carefully because sources are not always trustworthy.