Alaska Church Records

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Before 1900 the largest religious group in Alaska was the Russian Orthodox Church, which was introduced to the Alaskan natives in the eighteenth century by Russian fur traders. The early records of this church are the single most important source of vital records information for the state. Copies of all surviving Russian Orthodox records (in Russian) are at the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

During World War II many records of Russian Orthodox baptisms, marriages, and deaths were sent to the Library of Congress to be translated and indexed. The originals are still there. Microfilm copies for 1816 to 1936 are on 25 films at the National Archives—Alaska Region, the Rasmuson Library, the Bureau of Vital Statistics, and the Family History Library (index on Family History Library film 944197).

Moravian, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, and other denominations have more recently established missions, schools, and hospitals in Alaska. The Moravians, the second largest denomination in Alaska, settled predominantly in Bethel and along the Kuskokwim River.

Records for all of these groups are at the Bureau of Vital Statistics, but for Catholic and Presbyterian information, write to the local church instead because the Bureau's records are restricted. Most Methodist records are also at the local churches. The Family History Library has a few Presbyterian records.

The Bureau of Vital Statistics collects church records in order to create delayed birth certificates for individuals whose births were not officially recorded. They borrow the original church records to microfilm and return the originals to the church. The staff will do research and make copies for a fee, but requests may be denied if the information is needed for genealogical purposes.

Many denominations have collected their records into central repositories. You can write to the following addresses to learn where their records are located.


Alaska Moravian Church
P.O. Box 545
Bethel, AK 99559
Bethlehem, PA
Telephone: 610-867-7566
Fax: 610-866-9223


Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516
Telephone: 215-627-1852
Fax: 215-627-0509

Roman Catholic

Diocese of Juneau
419 Sixth Street
Juneau, AK 99801
Telephone: 907-586-2227
Fax: 907-463-3237

Chancery Office
Diocese of Fairbanks
1316 Peger Road
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Telephone: 907-474-0753
Fax: 907-474-8009

Archdiocese of Anchorage
225 Cordova Street
Anchorage, AK 99501
Telephone: 907-258-7898
Fax: 907-279-3885

The Sisters of Providence Archives
(Hospital Records)
4800 37th Avenue S.W.
Seattle, WA 98126
Telephone: 206-937-4600
Fax: 206-938-6193

Russian Orthodox

St. Herman's Theological Seminary
414 Mission Road
Kodiak, AK 99615
Telephone: 907-486-3524
Fax: 907-486-5935


Iqurmuit Mission (Russian)