Greek Orthodox Church in the United States

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Church Records Gotoarrow.png  Greek Orthodox Church Records


History in the United States[edit | edit source]

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Before the establishment of a Greek Archdiocese in the Western Hemisphere there were numerous communities of Greek Orthodox Christians. The first Greek Orthodox community in the Americas was founded in 1864, in New Orleans, Louisiana, by a small colony of Greek merchants. History also records that on June 26, 1768, the first Greek colonists landed at St. Augustine, Florida. The first permanent community was founded in New York City in 1892, today's Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is composed of an Archdiocesan District (New York City) and eight metropolises (formerly dioceses): New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Boston and Denver. There are more than 500 parishes, 800 priests and approximately 440,000 to 2 million faithful in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Membership is concentrated in the Northeastern United States. The states with the highest rates of adherence are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York. However, there are also large numbers of members in Florida and California. Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Finding Records[edit | edit source]

Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • There are a few of Greek Orthodox church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog state-wide, county-wide, or for a town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • 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 statewide records:
a. Enter your state name in the "Place" search field of FamilySearch Catalog. You will see a list of topics and, at the top, the phrase "Places within United States, [STATE]".
b. Click on "Church records" in the topic list. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
  • To find county-wide records:
c. From the original page, click on Places within United States, [STATE] and a list of counties will appear.
d. Click on your county.
e. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
  • To find town records:
f. From the list of counties, click on Places within United States, [STATE], [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
g. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
h. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
i. 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.

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Church records are kept at each local parish, not a diocesan or archdiocesan center. Be sure to make the request by mail, not by telephone or e-mail. To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday. A donation of $25-$40 would be appreciated. Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname". See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Information in Church Records[edit | edit source]

Baptism certificates include detailed information written both in Greek and English. Such certificates can be obtained from the local Orthodox Parish of the town in which the family lived at the time the children were born. Be sure to make the request by mail, not by telephone or e-mail.

Births/baptisms[edit | edit source]

Name, dates of birth and baptism, names and age of parents, sometimes including mother's maiden name, and name of godparent. For each person mentioned the name (or initial of) his/her father’s name is given.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Names of the bride and groom, the date of marriage, names of the parents of the bride and groom, sometimes the ages of the bride and groom and their birthplaces, name of priest performing the marriage, and names of witnesses.

Death/burial[edit | edit source]

Name of the deceased, father's name, date of death, age, marital status, cause of death, place of burial, name of the person who gave the information, and sometimes the name of the attending physician. Death records of married women usually do not give the maiden names.

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by gathering in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.