Cyprus Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Cyprus, go to the Religious Records page.

Church Registers [Bivlio Vaftision, Gamon, Thanaton]

Research use: Church books are a primary source of birth, marriage, and death information for the Christian population in Cyprus. They identify names of parents, prove other relationships, and are very useful for linking generations.

Record type: Records of births/baptisms, marriages, and deaths/burials. In the Greek Orthodox church parish priests kept these records for the dioceses. The diocese made the official record based on information from local priests. Thus, the term “diocesan register” may be more appropriate than “parish register.” As there was no separation of church and state under Ottoman rule, the church filled the function of official registrar of vital events, at least for Christians. Dioceses were responsible for issuing marriage licenses and recording marriages (records are known to exist from 1839). Orthodox records are generally in Greek. Records of other faiths (Catholics, Maronites, Armenian, or Gregorian) may be in Greek, Latin, Armenian, or Turkish. There are many gaps in church registers between 1850 and 1920.

Time period: About 1839 to present. (It is possible that some parishes have earlier records.) Many records, however, do not begin until the late 1800s.

Contents: Baptisms – name of child, place and date of birth and christening; names of parents. Registers of Marriage Licenses – names of couples, parents, date of permission. Marriages – date and place of marriage; names of couples. Deaths – name, residence, age of deceased, place of death, names of family members or relatives. Other Records – Confirmations. Some church records may also include information regarding divorces and lists of parish residents.

Location: All early registers were sent to Nikosia to be centralized there at the Ministry of Interior registration office. Check carefully with the Cyprus Research Center in Nikosia for materials in their Archbishopric Archive. Originals or transcripts of church records are likely kept there. This archive also holds the registers of marriage licenses and registers of names of monks and peasants relating to the Archbishopric. Parish registration notes may be in local parishes. Church records of the 1900s are likely to be in the local parishes or diocesan offices.

Population coverage: 70%.[1]

References

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Cyprus,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1994-1998.