Ukraine Church Records

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Vast holdings of church records for Ukraine are preserved in archives today. The church records are primarily from 1721 to 1917. Contrary to popular belief, church records were not systematically destroyed in the former Soviet Union, but they were centralized and preserved in government archives.

Many Christian churches existed in Ukraine for which records exist today, including Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic (Uniate), Lutheran, Mennonite, and some others. (For information about non-Christian records in Ukraine see Ukraine Jewish Research and Ukraine Muslim Records.)

Church records for many areas have been microfilmed by FamilySearch and some have been digitized. Many other websites have also published indexes of church records. See below for links to selected online resources for church records and church records indexes. For information about microfilm records available from FamilySearch, search by place in the FamilySearch Catalog.

Online Church Records

Metrical Books

Research use: Uniquely identify individuals and connections of those in one generation to the next. Transcripts are difficult to research because generally all parishes in a district are filed together for each year. Consequently, a researcher must refer to many volumes to identify the entries for a single parish.

Record type: Church records kept by parish priests of births/baptisms, marriages, and deaths/burials. The term is also used to refer to the records of denominations that had jurisdictions other than parishes.

General: The Church acted as both a religious and civil agent in recording vital events and church sacraments such as baptism and burial. Peter the Great mandated the keeping of Orthodox books in 1722. The format was standardized in 1724. Printed forms were introduced in 1806. In 1838 a format was introduced that prevailed until 1920 when civil registration began. Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, and Evangelical Lutheran books may exist for earlier dates than Orthodox records. The priest made a transcript for the ecclesiastical court (dukhovnaia konsistoriia) having jurisdiction. Jewish transcripts were filed with the local town council (gorodskaia duma). Old Believer and Baptist transcripts were sent to the provincial administration (gubernskoe upravlenie). The distinction between the original and the transcript is often ignored by Ukrainian record keepers.

Time period: Orthodox, 1722; Greek Catholic, 1607; Roman Catholic, 1563 (transcripts begin in 1826); Evangelical/other Protestant, 1641(transcripts begin in 1833); Muslim, 1828; Jews, 1835; Old Believers, 1874; Baptists, 1879–all to about 1930.

Contents: Names of the person and other family members, residence, relationships, dates and place of birth and baptism, marriage, death and burial. Baptisms include names of godparents; marriages include the ages of the bride and groom; burials include the age of the deceased and cause of death.

Location: State archives and civil registration offices.

Population coverage: 70% coverage for early periods, 90% from about 1830 through the destruction of most churches in the 1930s, 50% among minority religions and dissident groups such as Old Believers and Baptists.

Reliability: In 1825 the Holy Synod, governmental body over the Orthodox Church, ordered bishops to eradicate bribery of priests to falsify the books, suggesting that this problem existed. Ethnic minorities avoided registration to avert military service later in life.[1]

Confession Lists

Research use: Identify family groups and ages. They are easier to use than the revision lists because they include all classes of society. They are also a metrical book substitute.

Record type: Register of orthodox parishioners taken at Easter confession.

General: Attendance at confession and communion was required of the family members over the age of seven. Sometimes they are interfiled with metrical books in a record group or collection.

Time period: 1723-about 1930.

Contents: Lists head of household, names of family members (including children not attending confession) with their ages and relationship to head of household, residence (number of house or other identification), and whether or not they attended confession.

Location: State archives.

Population coverage: 10% (see preservation note).

Reliability: High. Comparison can be made between the returns annually for verification of reliability.[1]

FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

FamilySearch has begun publishing online collections of church record images and indexes for Ukraine. For a list of available collections, see FamilySearch Historical Record Collections for Ukraine .


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Ukraine,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.