Difference between revisions of "Bukovina Church Records"

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 55: Line 55:
[[Image:Birth right.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Right-hand page]]  
[[Image:Birth right.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Right-hand page]]  

Revision as of 17:03, 5 March 2010

Northern Bukovina Parish Registers

Historical Context

Bukovina is a land of Romanian and Ukrainian heritage but of Austrian and Soviet administration. Bukovina was part of the Austrian Empire 1775-1918. It was a district in Galicia until 1849 when it became a separate Austrian Crownland. It was absorbed by Romania between the world wars. The Northern portion was incorporated into Ukraine afterwards.

Historically the population consisted of Moldovans (Romanians) and Ukrainians (Ruthenians and Hutzuls). During the 19th century the Austria encouraged the influx of many immigrants such as Germans, Poles, Jews, Hungarians and additional Ruthenians. Despite this influx, Romanians continued to be the largest ethnic group until 1880, when Ukrainians (Ruthenians) outnumbered the Romanians 5:4.

In 1907, the population, there were 730,195 inhabitants; 110,483 Catholic, 500,262 Orthodox, 96,150 Jews, and 23,300 other religions. 159,486 spoke German; 297,798 Ukrainian, 229,018 Romanian; 37,202 other languages. There were 142,933 houses.

In 1940-1941, tens of thousands of Romanian families from northern Bukovina were deported to Siberia. Additionally, hundreds of Romanian peasants were killed as they attempted escape to Romania away from the Soviet authorities. The German population was repatriated to Germany. The Jewish community was destroyed in death camps.

Record Context

The parish registers and transcripts are being microfilmed in the Central Historical Archive of Chernivitz. The filming began in 2001. The records consist primarily of transcripts, though some originals are interfiled. There is not much difference between the two. You can tell the difference because in transcripts each year begins on a new page and in the originals the transition between years occurs on the same page. The same information is found in both through it is assumed that copy errors were made. Because of the mix the inclusive dates of some volumes overlap and both the transcript and original entry are available.

It would appear that the records were gathered into the civil registration system though it is not clear when. They were transferred to the archive from the civil registration office in groups of records. The first transfer occurred in 1983. The rule of thumb is that volumes are transferred when 75 years has passed since the last year in a volume. However, it would appear that this rule has been relaxed because records are being acquired through 1945. It is assumed that Soviet civil registration replaced Austrian/Romanian church registration around that year.

The records begin primarily in 1840 though for some go back to 1801. They are of uniform format, initially dictated by the Austrian authorities. Early records are in Romanian and Old Cyrillic script. Later records are in Latin script.

Record Script

Old Cyrillic Script (Church Slavonic)

An analysis of a record sample below shows the following transitions in script. The inclusive dates refer to a transition period, as the records in one parish transitioned to the new script at different point than the records of another parish. The main transition occurred around 1875 when registration when Bukovina came under Romanian influence within the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Entries in Old Cyrillic script
Entries in Latin script
Headings in German Gothic and Old Cyrillic script
Headings in German Gothic and Romanian script
German headings in Latin script
Headings in Romanian and Russian scripts

These records are in the process of being cataloged. All that has been filmed has not yet been made available. Cataloging identifies the Austrian, Romanian, and Ukrainian variations of the jurisdiction and place name. The records in Chernivitz include those from Khotin (Bessarabia) and Hertsa (Romania). These places were not part of northern Bukovina but were added to the state of Chernivitz after World War II. The records from these areas have different formats and scripts.

Record Content

Entries are entered across two pages. The format remained consistent throughout the period with the addition of a single column in the 1880s providing form the sequentially number of the event. The specific information found in each entry is noted below:


Left-hand page

Left-hand page:

  • House number
  • Year, month, and day of birth and baptism
  • Name of child
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Marital status

Right-hand page

Right-hand page:

  • Name and social status or occupation of the father (often includes residence)
  • Name of the mother
  • Name, social status, and residence of godparents
  • Name and residence of the midwife
  • Signature of the priest who performed the baptism


Left hand page: House number / Year, month, and day of death and burial / Name and residence of deceased / Social status or occupation

Right-hand page: Religion / Gender / Cause of death / Signature of the priest conducting the burial


Left-hand page: House number / Year, month, and day of banns / Year month and day of marriage / Name and residence of groom / Social status or occupation / Religion / Age / Marital status

Right-hand page: Name and residence of bride / Social status or occupation / Religion / Age / Marital status / Names and residences of the witnesses / Social status / Signature of the priest