Romania Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Churches kept records of births and baptisms, marriages, and deaths and burials in their congregations. Such records, created and maintained by churches, are called church records (registre parohiale). Church records are an extremely reliable source for identifying vital information for families, although it is sometimes difficult to link generations. Church records are the most important source prior to civil registration.

Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.




Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Romania is a secular state, and it has no state religion. Romania is the most religious out of 34 European countries.[1] and a majority of the country's citizens are Christian. The Romanian state officially recognizes 18 religions and denominations.[2] 81.04% of the country's stable population identified as part of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 2011 census (see also: History of Christianity in Romania). Other Christian denominations include the Catholic Church (both Latin Catholicism (4.33%) and Greek Catholicism (0.75%–3.3%), Calvinism (2.99%), and Pentecostal denominations (1.80%). This amounts to approximately 92% of the population identifying as Christian.

According to the 2011 census, Protestants make up 6.2% of the total population. They have been historically been made up of Lutherans, Calvinists and Unitarians, although in recent years Evangelical Protestants, Pentecostals and newer Protestant groups spread and are holding a greater share. In 1930, prior to World War II, they constituted approximately 8.8% of the Romanian population. The largest denominations included in this figure (6.2%) are the Reformed (2.99%) and the Pentecostals (1.8%). Others also included are Baptists (0.56%), Seventh-day Adventists (0.4%), Unitarians (0.29%), Plymouth Brethren (0.16%) and two Lutheran churches (0.13%), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Romania (0.1%) and the Evangelical Church of Augustan Confession in Romania (0.03%). Of these various Protestant groups, Hungarians account for most of the Reformed, Unitarians, and Evangelical Lutherans; Romanians are the majority of the Pentecostals, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists and Evangelical Christians; while Germans account for most of the Augustan Confession Evangelicals (i.e. Lutherans historically subscribing to the Augsburg Confession). The majority of Calvinist (Reformed Church) and Unitarians have their services in Hungarian.

Not to be confused with any of the above is the Evangelical Church of Romania (0.08%), an unrelated Protestant denomination. [1]

Religion
1875
1912
1992
2011
Romanian Orthodox 44.5% 68.4% 86.8% 81.04%
Greek Catholic 30.4% 17.1% 3.2% 0.75%
Roman Catholic 11.3% 5.6% 5.1% 4.33%
Calvinist-Reformed 7.2% 3.2% 2.7% 2.99%
Evangelical-Lutheran 3.1% 1.0% 0.8% 0.1%
Jewish 2.9% 2.3% 0.4% 0.1%
Muslim 1.6% 2.0% 0.2% 0.3%
Unitarian 0.6% 0.4% 0.3% 0.29%
Pentecostal 1.0% 1.8%
Baptist 0.5% 0.56%
Seventh-Day Adventist 0.3% 0.4%

Coverage[edit | edit source]

Church records in Romania start as early as 1600 and go to the present. Church records in Transylvania began in the early 1600s, and in the Banat in the early 1700s. In Wallachia, Moldavia, and Bukovina most records began in 1775, and in Bessarabia and Dobruja in 1814. Transcripts of church records were made as early as 1784 in Transylvania, Banat, and Bukovina. In Wallachia and Moldavia they began officially in 1831, but in some areas transcripts were kept as early as 1806. 50-70% of the population can be found in these records.

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name



How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Romania.
b. Click on Places within Romania and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Local parishes maintain their own church registers for approximately the past 100 years. Local storage conditions vary. Records prior to that have been transferred to the district offices in each Judetul (county). There are 41 Judetuls in Romania. For locations of counties and history of their boundaries, see Wikipedia: Counties of Romania.

The Unitarian Church in Transylvania has established the UNITARIAN TRANSYLVANIA ARCHIVES PROJECT in the city of Cluj and digitized its records. The transcripts (copies) of some church records may be found in archives in Hungary, Serbia, Poland and Germany. Some local archives do research for patrons, but it can be very expensive. Individuals may visit or hire a professional to visit Romania. [2]

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

You will need to write to or email the local parish priests to find records for the last 100 years. Use Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. Then, use a Romanian translation service.

Orthodox Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Romanian Orthodox Church had 20.9 million members in 1992. The Church is autocephalous, meaning it is not subject to an external patriarch or archbishop, but has a relationship with the Eastern Orthodox Church. The highest hierarchical authority is the Holy Synod. Since 1925, the Church has been headed by a patriarch. There are six Orthodox Metropolitanates and ten archbishoprics in Romania. As of 2004, there are fifteen theological universities and more than 14,500 churches.[3]

Uniate (Greek Catholic) Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the 2011 census, there are 150,593 Greek Catholics in Romania, making up 0.75% of the population. The majority of Greek Catholics live in the northern part of Transylvania. Most are Romanians (124,563), with the remainder mostly Hungarians or Roma.

On the other hand, according to data published in the 2012 Annuario Pontificio, the Romanian Greek Catholic Church had 663,807 members (3.3% of the total population), 8 bishops, 1,250 parishes, some 791 diocesan priests and 235 seminarians of its own rite at the end of 2012. The dispute over the figure is included in the United States Department of State report on religious freedom in Romania. The Romanian Orthodox Church continues to claim many of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church's properties.[4]

Roman Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the 2011 census, there are 870,774 Catholics belonging to the Latin Church in Romania, making up 4.33% of the population. The largest ethnic groups are Hungarians (500,444, including Székelys; 41% of the Hungarians), Romanians (297,246 or 1.8%), Germans (21,324 or 59%), and Roma (20,821 or 3.3%), as well as a majority of the country's Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Italians, Czechs, Poles, and Csangos (27,296 in all).[5]

Calvinist Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1992 there were 650,700 Calvinists, mainly Hungarians. They have bishoprics at Cluj and Oradea.[6]

Lutheran Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Unitarian Church[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1992 there were 72,300 Unitarians, mainly Hungarians. They have a bishopric at Cluj. These sects share a seminary at Cluj.[7]

Pentecostal Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Seventh-Day Adventists[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Romania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania, accessed 22 April 2020.
  2. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Romania,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1989-1997.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Romanian Orthodox Church," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_Orthodox_Church, accessed 22 August 2018.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Romania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania, accessed 22 April 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Romania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania, accessed 22 April 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Romania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania, accessed 22 April 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Romania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Romania, accessed 22 April 2020.