Turkey Church Records
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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Turkey, go to the Religious Records page.
Christian Church Records
Research use: Church books are a primary source of birth, marriage, and death information for Christians in Turkey. 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 maintained by Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, et. al.
Time period: The earliest church records date from about 1600; many date from the mid-1700s or early 1800s to present or until the parish was closed.
Contents: Baptisms – names of individuals, birth dates and baptismal dates, parents’ names (including often the mother's maiden name and sometimes even names of grandparents). Marriages – names of candidates; their fathers' names, date and place of marriage, ages; sometimes birthplaces, witnesses’ names and residences; other pertinent facts. Deaths and Burials – names of deceased persons, death dates and places of death and burial; ages; marital status; spouse’s name, sometimes cause of death; for children also parents’ names. Property Bequests [Vakfiye defter] – Information on property bequeathed to the church (Armenian Apostolic) and the donors.
Location: Armenian Apostolic Patriarchate, Istanbul; Armenian Catholic Archbishopric, Istanbul; State Historical Archives, Athens; possibly in Turkish provincial archives. Likely locations for Roman Catholic record include the Office of the Apostolic Pronuncio in Ankara, the office of the Apostolic Vicar for the Latins at Istanbul, and the Curia of the Bishop of zmir; many records are likely under the jurisdiction of the priests of existing parishes.
Population coverage: 5% during the Ottoman period.
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Turkey,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1998.