Estonia, Church Books and Synagogue Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Estonia, Church Books and Synagogue Registers, 1835-1940 .
Title in the Language of the Records
Eesti Kirik Raamatud
These records are in German, Russian and Estonia. This collection includes baptism, marriage, and burial/death records for various churches, such as Orthodox, Old Believer, Roman Catholic, and Baptist. The collection includes records from 1627 to 1953.
Estonia’s religious picture is influenced by the Soviet occupation and secularization. Estonia remains a Christian-shaped country, but only 23% of the population are members of Christian Churches. About 11% of the population belongs to the predominantly protestant religion, the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, and 10% to the Orthodox Church, the second largest faith. Other religious communities (Roman Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists and others) are much smaller.
In most churches, the sacramental ordinances of baptisms, marriages, and burials were performed by an authorized ecclesiastical officer. These registers were generally kept in the parish archive, but later these were sent to the churches largest archive for preservation.
For a list of records by religion currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
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Baptism records usually contain the following information:
- Child's name
- Christening date
- Sometimes the birth date
- Parents' names
- Parents' marital status
- Parents' residence
- Father's occupation
- Sometimes the mother’s age
- Witnesses and their residences
Marriage records usually contain the following information:
- Groom’s name
- Depending on the time period, the groom’s marital status, residence, and age
- Bride’s name
- Depending on the time period, the bride’s marital status, residence, and age
- Witnesses and their residences
Burial/death records usually contain the following information:
- Name of the deceased
- Death date
- Burial date
- Marital status and sometimes the spouse’s name
- Sometimes other biographical notes
How to Use the Record
To search the collection, follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select "Religion"
⇒ Select "Parish"
⇒ Select "Event type, year range, (volume)" which takes you to the images.
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- Date of the event
- Place of the event
- Other identifying information such as the names of the parents or the spouse
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
For Help Reading These Records
These records are in German, Russian and Estonian. For help reading the records, see the following wiki articles:
Using the Information
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the records. Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in populations registers.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate land records.
- Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- The information in church records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
- EURESIS net-European Studies on Religion & State Interaction
- Estonian Institute-Religion in Estonia
- EURAXESS- Estonia-Religion
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Estonia, Church Books and Synagogue Registers, 1835-1940
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Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "Estonia, Church Books and Synagogue Registers, 1835-1940." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing National Historical Archive, Tartu.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
- This page was last modified on 4 November 2013, at 23:02.
- This page has been accessed 4,904 times.
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