Russian Orthodox Church in the United States
- 1 History in the United States
- 2 Finding the Records
- 3 Correspond with or visit the actual churches.
- 4 Information Recorded in the Records
- 5 Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor
History in the United States[edit | edit source]
The main body of the Russian Orthodox Church actually became the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). This page deals with a small offshoot branch.
Russian fur trappers brought the Russian Orthodox Church into Alaska. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), has a complex history. See Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The ROCOR jurisdiction has around 400 parishes worldwide and an estimated membership of more than 400,000 people. Of these, 232 parishes and 10 monasteries are in the United States; they have 92,000 declared adherents and over 9,000 regular church attendees. Source: Wikipedia
Finding the Records[edit | edit source]
Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]
- There are hundreds of Russian 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. . 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]
Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.
- Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
- To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
- 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".
- A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
- If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
- See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.
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]
Baptism registers might give:
Marriages[edit | edit source]
Marriage registers can give:
Burials[edit | edit source]
Burial registers may give:
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
- military service details
Carefully 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.