Russia Civil Registration

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Civil registration records are kept by civil registration offices in regions. There is no central office.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Civil registration was instituted after the Russian Revolution. The acronym for a civil registration office is ZAGS, standing for acts of civil status.

The ZAGS offices were established in the cities by 1919, then later in rural localities. Gaps in registration persisted until 1926. ZAGS offices often gathered original metriki back to the beginning of the century into their collections to have an earlier record of vital events and to supplement the civil registration. These are normally the local copy of the parish register.

Religious Records The czarist government issued a requirement in 1826 that rabbis, generally elected by a variety of Jewish communities, keep registration books of births, marriages, divorces and death. Russian Orthodox churches were under the same obligation.

Jews in Kovno and Vilna Guberniya were required to go to the synagogue to which they were assigned to register life events, and each year, the government authorities went to the synagogues to copy these registers. Today all vital records stored in archives are copies. The original records, kept in synagogues, were destroyed by 1942, primarily by the Germans.

Coverage and Compliance[edit | edit source]

Russian law requires that the vital records be transferred to regional archives 75 years after the date of creation. This has occurred in many instances but not always because of the limited space in the archives and bureaucratic inertia.

"Vital records... are available only for relatives of a died person...All registers before 1918 are open for everyone. The Unified state register of acts of civil status...began operations since October 1, 2018."[1]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]


  • Name of the child
  • Gender
  • Date and place of birth and/or christening
  • Names of the parents


  • Name
  • Birth Date
  • Age
  • Spouse's Name
  • Date
  • Place


  • Name
  • Gender
  • Burial Date
  • Burial Place
  • Death Date
  • Age
  • Birth Date

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia, Civil Registration - Russia, (accessed 9 February 2020).