Turkey Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

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]

The BBC reported in 2014 that Turkey's Christian population had declined from 20% to 0.2% since 1914.

Today the Christian population of Turkey is estimated at around 200,000- 320,000 Christians.[5][46] 35,000 Catholics of varying ethnicities, 25,000 ethnic Assyrians, (mostly followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox Church and Chaldean Catholic Church), up to 22,000 Greeks (3,000–4,000 Greek Orthodox, 15,000–18,000 Antiochian Greeks) and smaller numbers of Bulgarians, Georgians, and Protestants of various ethnicities.

According to Bekir Bozdağ, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, there were 349 active churches in Turkey in October 2012: 140 Greek, 58 Assyrian and 52 Armenian.

By the 21st-century, Turkey's Greek Orthodox population had declined to only around 2,000–3,000. There are between 40,000 and 70,000 Christian Armenian citizens of Turkey.

The largest Christian population in Turkey is in Istanbul, which has a large community of Armenians and Greeks. Istanbul is also where the Patriarchate of Greek Orthodox Christianity is located. Antioch, located in Turkey's Hatay province, is the original seat of the namesake Antiochian Orthodox Church, but is now the titular see. The area, known for having ethnic diversity and large Christian community, has 7,000 Christians and 14 active churches. The city has one of the oldest churches in the world as well, called the Church of St Peter, which is said to have been founded by the Saint himself.

Tur Abdin is a large area with a multitude of mostly Syriac Orthodox churches, monasteries and ruins. Settlements in Tur Abdin include Midyat. The Christian community in Midyat is supplemented by a refugee community from Syria and has four operating churches. Some of the most significant Syriac churches and monasteries in existence are in or near Midyat including Mor Gabriel Monastery and the Saffron Monastery.

The Syriac Orthodox Church has a strong presence in Mardin.

By some estimates, in the early 2000s there were between 10,000 and 20,000 Catholics and Protestants in Turkey.[1]

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 Turkey.
b. Click on Places within Turkey 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]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. Use Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. Then, use a Turkish translation service.

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Anglicans in Turkey form part of the Eastern Archdeaconry of the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe.

Armenian Churches (mixed denominations, Catholic, Orthodox, Evanelical) Records[edit | edit source]

Chaldean Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Greek Orthodox[edit | edit source]

Protestants[edit | edit source]

Roman or Latin Catholic[edit | edit source]

Syriac Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in Turkey", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Turkey, accessed 13 April 2020.