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Eastern European: Church Records
Register (Fees/Dates)
Other Info
Church parish registers are the most popular and useful source for tracing ancestors in Eastern Europe. Often these are the only records in which to find information about our ancestors and their families in the old country, and as such, form the foundation of genealogical research. In most cases, our Eastern European ancestors were not landowners nor mentioned in probate records. Census records are sporadic, while tax lists and other records are scant, incomplete, and difficult to access, if they exist at all. This makes the local records of birth, marriage, or death kept by the local church the records of choice for documenting most East Europeans, especially before the late 19th century. In this course, you will learn the value of church records (both Christian and Jewish), what types of records are available, how to access them, limitations and privacy restrictions. In addition, you will learn about general search strategies, key terminology, how to deal with foreign language challenges, and other obstacles, and tips on reading and interpreting birth, marriage, and death records.

Course Content

Module 1
Overview of Parish Registers

  • History of Parish Registers
  • Timeline
  • General Considerations
  • Identifying the Correct Parish
  • Accessing Records
  • Additional Tips

    Recommended Reading & Resources

    Module 2

    Locating Parish Registers
    Where to Find Parish Registers

    Accessing East European Church Records
  • Limitations of East European Church Records

    Church Records Overview by Country
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Ukraine

    Search Strategies & Tutorials

  • Free FamilySearch Account
  • FamilySearch Records
  • Global Search
  • Refining your search
  • Browse All Collections
  • FamilySearch Catalog
  • Other FamilySearch Resources

    Recommended Reading & Resources

    Module 3

    Baptismal Records
  • Contents of Baptismal Records
  • Example Records
  • Example Search for a Czech Baptismal Record

    Recommended Reading & Resources

    Confirmation Records
  • Contents of Confirmation Records
  • Example Records

    Module 4

    Marriage Records
  • Contents of Marriage Records
  • Example Records
  • Example Search for a Polish Marriage Record

    Death/Burial Records
  • Contents of Death/Burial Records
  • Example Records

    Module 5

    Jewish Records & Their Research Challenges
    Brief Background on Jewish Records

    Availability of Jewish Records
  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Czech Republic
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia
  • Soviet Union (Russia), Ukraine, and Other Areas

    Tips for Using FamilySearch
    Searching JewishGen Databases

    Twentieth Century Wartime Records
  • Example Records

    Recommended Reading & Resources

    Module 6

    Challenges, Laws & Rights of Privacy

    Privacy Laws
  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Prussia
  • Russia

    Denominations & Special Circumstances

    Common Church Abbreviations
  • Special Circumstances

    Reading Tabular Records
    Common Genealogical Terms
    Recommended Reading and Resources


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