Alaska Church Records

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Online Records[edit | edit source],, and can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The early government birth, marriage, and death records were reconstituted from church records:

History[edit | edit source]

The largest religious denominations in Alaska as of 2010 were the Catholic Church with 50,866 adherents, non-denominational Evangelical Protestants with 38,070 adherents, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 32,170 adherents, and the Southern Baptist Convention with 19,891 adherents. In 1795, the First Russian Orthodox Church was established in Kodiak. Intermarriage with Alaskan Natives helped the Russian immigrants integrate into society. As a result, an increasing number of Russian Orthodox churches gradually became established within Alaska. Alaska also has the largest Quaker population (by percentage) of any state. Source: Wikipedia

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodox Church[edit | edit source]

Before 1900 the largest religious group in Alaska was the Russian Orthodox Church, which was introduced to the Alaskan natives in the eighteenth century by Russian fur traders.[1]

The early records of this church are the single most important source of vital records information for the state.

Bureau of Vital Statistics[edit | edit source]

Moravian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and other denominations have more recently established missions, schools, and hospitals in Alaska. The Moravians, the second largest denomination in Alaska, settled predominantly in Bethel and along the Kuskokwim River.

  • Records for all of these groups are at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. The Bureau of Vital Statistics collects church records in order to create delayed birth certificates for individuals whose births were not officially recorded. They borrow the original church records to microfilm and return the originals to the church. The staff will do research and make copies for a fee, but requests may be denied if the information is needed for genealogical purposes.
    • A person may obtain only his or her own birth certificate, except for parents who may obtain their own child's certificate. Access to birth records becomes available to the public 100 years after the event.
    • Access to death records filed in the Bureau of Vital Statistics office is restricted for 50 years after the date of the event to family members, their legal representatives, and persons who can prove they are legally entitled.
    • Access to marriage records filed in the Bureau of Vital Statistics office is restricted for 50 years after the date of the event to the persons named on the certificate, their legal representatives, and persons who can prove they are legally entitled.
  • For Catholic and Presbyterian information, write to the local church instead because the Bureau's records are restricted.
  • Most Methodist records are also at the local churches.
  • The Family History Library has a few Presbyterian records.

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

  • Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available. If possible, make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you. A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate. If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.

How to Write a Letter[edit | edit source]

Address Lists[edit | edit source]

Each denomination page offers an online address directory of local churches for that denomination.

Archives[edit | edit source]

Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located.

Moravian[edit | edit source]

Alaska Moravian Church
P.O. Box 545
Bethel, AK 99559
Bethlehem, PA
Phone: (610) 867-7566
Fax: (610) 866-9223

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Diocese of Juneau
419 Sixth Street
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 586-2227
Fax: (907) 463-3237
Archives and Special Projects

The diocese includes the geographic areas of: Haines, Juneau, Ketchikan Gateway, Prince of Wales Outer Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway Yakutat-Angoon and Wrangell Petersburg.[2]

Diocese of Fairbanks
Chancery Office
1316 Peger Road
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Phone: (907) 474-0753
Fax: (907) 474-8009
Sacramental Archive keeps birth, marriage, and death records.
online Sacramental Record Request Form

The diocese includes the geographic areas of: Bethel, Fairbanks North Star, Nome, North Slope, North West Artic, Southeast Fairbanks, Wade Hampton, Yukon-Koyukuk.[2]

Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau
225 Cordova Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 258-7898
Fax: (907) 279-3885

The Archdiocese includes the geographic areas of: Aleutians East, Aleutians West, Anchorage, Bristol Bay, Dillingham, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, Lake and Peninsula, Matanuska Susitna and Valdez Cordova.[2]

The Sisters of Providence Archives
(Hospital Records)
4800 37th Avenue S.W.
Seattle, WA 98126
Phone: (206) 937-4600
Fax: (206) 938-6193

Russian Orthodox[edit | edit source]

St. Herman's Theological Seminary
414 Mission Road
Kodiak, AK 99615
Phone: (907) 486-3524
Fax: (907) 486-5935

Missions[edit | edit source]

Iqurmuit Traditional Council (Russian)
PO Box 9
Russian Mission, AK 99657
Phone:(907) 584-5511
Fax: (907) 584-5593

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 K2ah.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wikipedia article, "List of Catholic Diocese of the United States.