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

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Title in the Language of the Records

Slowakei, Kirchenbücher, 1592-1910

Collection Time Period

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.

Record Description

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. 

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Parishes in Slovakia. Slovakia, church and synagogue books. State Regional Archive of Presov, Slovakia.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

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

Record Content


Key genealogical facts found in baptism entries are:

  • Names of the child, parents, and witnesses or godparents—sometimes includes names of grandparents
  • Residence and religion of the parents and other direct-line ancestors
  • Occupation of the father and other males listed
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate

Key genealogical facts found in marriage entries are:

  • Names of the bride, groom, their parents, witnesses, and sometimes grandparents
  • Date and place of marriage, sometimes time of marriage
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Residence of the bride, groom, and their ancestors (sometimes birth places)
  • Religion of the bride and groom
  • Occupation of the groom and other males listed

Key genealogical facts found in burial entries are:

  • Names of the deceased, spouse/parents, and sometimes grandparents
  • Date and place of death and burial, sometimes time of death and burial
  • Age and residence of deceased
  • Residences of other ancestors listed
  • Whether the child was legitimate or illegitimate
  • Cause of death or illness
  • Funeral location and date

How to Use the Record

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.

To begin your search 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

Compare the information in the records to what you already know about your ancestors to determine 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 census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • 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.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Keep in mind:

  • 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.

If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:

  • 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.

Why the Record Was Created

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.

Record Reliability

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.

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 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. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We especially need language translations for both content and images. For specific needs, please look for callout boxes throughout the article or visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

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.

Citations Examples for a Record Found in FamilySearch Collections

The following are examples of records found in different collections. Please help us by replacing these examples with a citation for a record you have found in this collection.

  • “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch ( 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 (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.
  • Prešov State Regional Archive. Baptism. From FamilySearch Internet, April 27, 2010. David Keler. January 1780.

When the citation has been replaced with a citation specific to the collection described, please change the heading to "Citation Example for Records Found in This Collection".


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