Alaska Russian Orthodox Church Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
The collection covers the years 1816 to 1936.
The collection consists of an index to baptisms, marriages, and burials of Russian Orthodox church members living in Alaska. These records were taken from when Alaska was part of the Russian Empire until after it was sold to the United States.
The baptism records include:
- Child's name
- Birth date and place
- Christening date
- Names of parents
- Birth place of parents
The death and burial records include:
- Name of deceased
- Death date
- Burial dates and places
- Cause of death
The marriage records include:
- Names of bride and groom
- Marriage date
- Birth date and place
- Names of parents
How to Use the Record
To begin your search you will need to know the following information:
- The ancestor’s name
- The approximate date of the event such as the christening or baptism
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. Look at the list of entries created by your search. 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.
Using the Information
When you have found your ancestor in the records, carefully evaluate each piece of information in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.
- Use christening and birth records of christenings (baptisms) to identify a person’s birth date and place. These are an excellent substitute for civil birth records.
- Use confirmation records to identify a person’s birth date and place and his or her age. If only the age is given, use it to calculate the person’s death date.
- Use death or burial records to identify a person’s birth date and place. Use age at the time of death or burial to calculate the person’s birth date. These are an excellent substitute for civil death records.
- Use marriage records to identify a couple and the marriage date and place and to begin compiling a family group. These are an excellent substitute for civil marriage records.
- Use church records in general to identify other family members who may have served as witnesses to an event.
- Use the date of the event along with the locality to find the family in census and land records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
- An infant’s christening usually took place within a few days or few weeks of the birth, depending on the religion. Some churches, such as the Baptists, baptized only adults not infants. Members of other sects blessed their infants when they were a few weeks or a few months old.
- Many religions tested the church knowledge of those that had been baptized as infants and then confirmed them a member of that religion. Frequently, a person’s age at confirmation was between 14 and 20.
- Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the minister, or a clerk appointed by the minister, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.
- It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. Or, if the surname is unusual, you may want to compile entries for every person of the same surname and then sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
If you do not find your ancestor, try these suggestions:
- Look for variant spellings of the names or for nicknames.
- Check the records of other congregations in the area or nearby communities.
In 1794 the Russian Orthodox Church established its first mission in North America on Kodiak Island in southeastern Alaska. In 1799, the Church appointed the first American Bishop. By 1808, the capital of Alaska was moved to Novoarkhangelsk (Sitka), where in 1848, the Cathedral of St. Michael was built.
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Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
- “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.
Sources of information for This Collection
"Alaska Russian Orthodox Church Books, 1816-1936." FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org). National Archives, Washington D.C. FHL microfilm, 25 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
The suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the following article: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
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