Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Title in the Language of the Records

Slowakei, Kirchenbücher, 1592-1910

Record Description

The earliest Slovak church book was created in 1587 (a book of christenings from Košice). A few Catholic registers date from the early and mid 1600s, but most date from the early 1700s. Protestant churches usually did not begin to maintain parish registers until the late 1600s. While church books are kept to the present, this collection only goes through 1952.

Many church books from earlier time periods were lost during the Turkish invasions and Slovak rebellions around 1600-1700. Those which carry over past the early 1900's (even though they may have begun earlier) are still located in local city halls or other institutions. The Family History Library has copies of almost all birth, marriage, and death registers for the following religions: Catholic (the majority religion), Evangelical Lutheran, Reformed, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Orthodox. Filming of the records was done from 1991-2009. The images in this collection are from those films.

Entries are usually arranged in chronological order and, after 1784, in a columnar format. Sometimes, baptisms, marriages, and burials are kept all for all villages in a parish each year. Other times, each village has its own section of baptisms, marriages, and burials, listed chronologically. Some records are on preprinted forms; most include indexes.

A law in 1868 allowed different religious groups to use the language they favored, e.g., Ukrainian in Ruthenia. For this reason, several languages are often found in the books of a single place. Most Catholic records are in Latin and Hungarian; Reformed and Lutheran Evangelical records are in Latin and Slovak, but may also be found in Hungarian. Greek Catholic records are in Latin, Russian, Ukrainian, and Hungarian. Orthodox records are written in Ukrainian (Ruthenian) or Russian. Jewish records may be in a combination of one or more of the following: German, Hebrew, Latin, and Hungarian.

The edict of the Council of Trent in 1563 mandated that priests create church books. In 1827, duplicate copies were supposed to be deposited in the bishop’s consistory archive. Starting in 1869, the civil authorities took charge of keeping records of births, marriages, and deaths, although the individual churches continued to actually record these events. The official legal copy was kept by local officials. This action was prompted when many of the clergy refused to perform Catholic rites for non-Catholics. Everyone was registered under this new system (not only Catholics or Protestants). 

In 1949, all of the church books of Slovakia were nationalized. In 1952, the state began to transfer the books to one of seven state regional archives (Štátné oblastné arhívy): Prešov, Košice, Bratislava, Levoča, Nitra, Banská Bystrica, and Bytča. 

Many church books from earlier time periods were lost during the Turkish invasions and Slovak rebellions around 1600-1700. Those which carry over past the early 1900's (even though they may have begun earlier) are still located in local city halls or other institutions. The Family History Library has copies of almost all birth, marriage, and death registers for the following religions: Catholic (the majority religion), Evangelical Lutheran, Reformed, Jewish, Greek Catholic, and Orthodox. Filming of the records was done from 1991-2009. The images in this collection are from those films. 

The church books cover a majority of the population. 

Church books were created at first by the church to identify those who had received church sacraments. After 1869 they were used also as an official record of vital events by civil authorities. 

Slovak church books are extremely reliable, more so than census and other records. Ages, birth dates, and birth places found in marriage and death entries may be inaccurate, depending on the informant’s knowledge.

For a list of records by religion currently published in this collection, select the Browse. The 79 current counties are listed in the Districts of Slovakia Wikipedia article.  A few localities are also listed among the counties.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information for collections published in FamilySearch.org. Source citations include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.


"Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1910." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.

| text =Parishes in Slovakia. Slovakia, church and synagogue books. State Regional Archive of Presov, Slovakia.}}

Digital copies of originals housed in State Regional Archives throughout Slovakia.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

 

These baptismal records may contain the following information:

  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's birth date and place of birth
  • Names of parents and their civil status
  • Residence and religion of parents
  • Legitimacy of child
  • Occupation of father
  • Names of godparents
  • Names of witnesses
  • Sometimes, names of maternal and paternal grandparents
  • Name of priest performing baptism

These marriage records may contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age and civil status
  • Bride's name, age and civil status
  • Groom's occupation, religion and residence
  • Bride's occupation, religion and residence
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Names of bride's parents

These death/burial records may contain the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Name, age and gender of deceased
  • Residence and marital status of deceased
  • Spouse's name if married
  • Names of parents if deceased is a minor
  • Cause of death
  • Burial information

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The place where the event occurred
  • The name and surname of the person
  • The approximate date of the event
  • The name of the parents or spouse

Search the Collection

Slovak church books are definitely the best source for identifying one’s relatives in the Slovak Republic. Because so many other relatives are mentioned in the church books, a miniature pedigree chart can be created from almost every entry in a church book.

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name, fill in your ancestor’s name 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 tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

To browse the collection select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Religion" category
⇒Select the "County" category
⇒Select the "Place" category
⇒Select the "Event, Volume, Year Range" category 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.

Using the Information

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 census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and 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

  • 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 1800.
  • 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 names.
  • Search the records of nearby localities.

You may want to consult the Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books, Place Names Table for information about places in Slovakia.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

A table on the attached Wiki article will help convert Historic Hungarian to corresponding Slovakian Names.

Image Problems

The collection is formed from microfilm conversion to digital image before the publication process online. Where the original record is assembled other than in a systematic or chronological order, problems are replicated in the online collection of images.

One example of this is found in the Jewish records in the Inv. 1187 Births 1890-1901, Sztropko, Slovakia Jewish Records, in which there are several images (1, 3, 4) where the right-hand page does not go with the left-hand page. This can be seen by examining the third and fourth columns of the right-hand page, which represent the dates of circumcision for males (column 3) and naming in the synagogue for girls (column 4). Circumcision usually takes place 8 days after birth, and the naming of girls any time within a week of birth. The left half of image 1 goes with the right half of image 3; the left half of image 3 goes with the right half of image 4; and the left half of image 4 goes with the right half of image 1.

Unfortunately, where an original record is out of order as in this example, we have no means of correcting this in the digital image collection.

None of the images for the Jewish records for Bardejov/Bartfa, Slovakia are available. The problem seems to be that they are part of a microfilm that contains deaths till 1928, hence the 90 year rule restriction, even though this collection goes just till 1895. The images can be viewed on microfilm #1792046, 1792047 and 1792048. Use the "learn" tab on the home page and enter "ordering microfilm" in the search to see how to view these microfilms or see this link.

Related Websites

Jakubany, Slovakia Records

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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 Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

“Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1910," index and images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KSPP-BH9 : accessed 19 Jul 2012), Anna Warinsky, baptism 15 Feb 41757. Tristin, Trnava,Slovakia; citing Parishes in Slovakia. Slovakia, church and synagogue books. State Regional Archive of Presov, Slovakia.

  • Prešov State Regional Archive. Baptism. From FamilySearch Internet, April 27, 2010. David Keler. January 1780.

 

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