Moldova Church Records
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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Moldova, go to the Religious Records page.
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. The priest made a transcript for the ecclesiastical court (dukhovnaia konsistoriia) having jurisdiction. Jewish transcripts were filed with the local town council (gorodskaia duma). Baptist transcripts were sent to the provincial administration (gubernskoe upravlenie). The distinction between the original and the transcript is often ignored by Moldovan record keepers.
Time period: Orthodox, 1812; Evangelical/other Protestant, 1641(transcripts begin in 1833); Jews, 1835; 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 Historical Archive in Kishinev for records through 1910 and civil registry offices for more recent records.
Percentage in Family History Library: 90%. By 2002 most of the metrical books in the state historical archive had been filmed. Only those in the civil registry offices had not been filmed.
Population coverage: 70% coverage for early periods, 90% from the about 1830 through the destruction of most churches in the 1930s, 50% among minority religions and dissident groups such as 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.
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 parish register 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: 1812-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 Historical Archive in Kishinev.
Percentage in Family History Library: 90%.
Population coverage: 10% (see preservation note).
Reliability: High. Comparison can be made between the returns annually for verification of reliability.
Preservation of records/vulnerability: Because this is a voluminous record type, many have been discarded. The standard rule was to retain only 2% but in some cases more were preserved. Consequently, these exist for only a small percentage of parishes. The records are well preserved in a good facility. The records were little used during the communist period, 1918-1991.
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Moldova,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2002.