Bulgaria Church Records
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Church records were recorded by church clergymen and include baptism, marriage, and burial registers. Bulgarian church records are primarily from the Bulgarian Orthodox and Roman Catholic religions. Most date back usually to the 1850s when the Bulgarian Church broke away from the Greek Orthodox. Some Catholic books date back to at least 1797. The term "parish register" is also used to refer to records of denominations having jurisdictions other than parishes.
For information about records for non-Christian religions in Bulgaria, go to the Religious Records page.
Church records in Bulgaria range from the 1700s to the present, although most date back to the mid-1800s. They have a comprehensive coverage of the entire population.
These records list the names of the principal and parents, residence, relationships, and the dates and places of the birth and baptism, marriage, death, and burial. Also, marriage and death records include the principal's age, baptism records include names of the godparents, and death records sometimes include the cause of death. Entries sometimes identify residence for those not of the parish.
Accessing the Records
Administratively, Bulgaria is divided into twenty eight districts. Each has an archive where civil registration and some church records are preserved. A few parish registers have been gathered into state archives or the national museum. Many church records are located in the parish churches or monasteries. Some researchers have accessed the registers in these parishes, but access probably will vary depending on the disposition of the local clergy or the guidance of central church authorities. Some pre-1872 registers are in Greece because during this period the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was subordinate to the Patriarchate in Greece. Records are kept under various storage conditions and are subject to natural catastrophes and human neglect. There are no vital records in the National Historical Archive in Sofia. The Family History Library does not have church records from Bulgaria.
Church records are useful in uniquely identifying individuals and linking generations.
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Bulgaria,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1991-1998.