Slovakia Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Slovakia, go to the Religious Records page.

Church Registers [Cirkevné Matriky][edit | edit source]

Church records, also called parish registers, refer to the records of births/christenings, marriages, and deaths/burials recorded by clergy. These records are the prime source for information about the vital events in an individual's life. They identify children, spouses, parents, and often grandparents as well as dates and places of vital events. They establish individual identity and are excellent sources for linking generations and identifying relationships. This information can be used to compile pedigrees and family groups.

History (Years of Coverage)[edit | edit source]

  • Catholic parishes in Europe were first required to record baptisms and marriages in 1563 by order of the Council of Trent. The requirement to record deaths was introduced in 1614. It took several years before the practice was established in all nations. The earliest register from Slovakia (Košice) starts in 1587. Few Catholic registers date from the early and mid 1600s, but most registers date from the early 1700s.

  • Protestant churches usually did not begin to maintain parish registers until the late 1600s. In 1730, Catholic priests were ordered to record Protestants in their books. Nevertheless, typically Protestant books continued to be maintained. A new format for the records was introduced in 1771. In 1781 the Emperor Joseph II issued the Toleration Patent which recognized Protestantism and Judaism throughout the empire. The Lutheran or Evangelical religion was the most common Protestant church.

  • After 1784 the Emperor Joseph II (of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) declared church registers to be official state records. It was necessary for the state to keep track of male births for conscription (army draft) purposes. Protestants were officially required to maintain parish registers under Catholic supervision. Imperial law also required that the parish registers record births, deaths and marriages separately for each village in the parish. In Slovakia, Protestants were authorized in 1787 to keep their registers independent of Catholic control.

  • At the Peace of Linz in 1645, Hungary successfully forced the ruling Habsburgs to recognize four religions: Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Unitarianism.

  • The ethnic Ruthene (Ukrainian) population of Slovakia was Orthodox, using the Slavonic liturgy and ritual. This faith was not recognized by the Hapsburg government. To gain legal status and its accompanying freedoms and benefits, the Orthodox Ruthenians agreed in 1649 to recognize the jurisdiction of the pope. The resulting church, in union with the Roman-Catholic Church, was called Greek-Catholic.

Contents[edit | edit source]

Christening Registers[edit | edit source]

  • Name and gender of child
  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's birth date and place of birth
  • Names of parents and their civil status
  • Residence and religion of parents
  • Legitimacy of child
  • Occupation of father
  • Names of godparents
  • Names of witnesses
  • Names of maternal and paternal grandparents
  • Name of priest performing baptism

Marriage Registers[edit | edit source]

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name, age, and civil status
  • Bride's name, age, and civil status
  • Groom's occupation, religion, and residence
  • Bride's occupation, religion, and residence
  • Names of groom's parents
  • Names of bride's parents

Burial Registers[edit | edit source]

  • Date and place of death
  • Name, age, and gender of deceased
  • Residence and marital status of deceased
  • Spouse's name (if married)
  • Names of parents (if deceased is a minor)
  • Cause of death
  • Burial information (cemetery location)

Accessing the Records[edit | edit source]

In December of 1949, all church vital records were declared state property. In 1952 the state began centralizing all these records into state archives (štátné archívy). In many cases records as late as the 1940s have been placed in state regional archives. Registers more recent than those in the state archives are still at local city or subdistrict registration offices (matričné úrady).

Finding the Name of the Town Where Your Ancestors Worshipped[edit | edit source]

The town where your ancestor lived might not have had a local church for every religion. For example, if the town only had a Catholic church, your ancestors may have attended the Lutheran church in a neighboring town. You will need to look for the records under this neighboring town's name. These instructions will help you identify the correct town for their religion.

  1. If you do not have the name of a town where your ancestors lived, go back to Slovakia Finding Town of Origin and follow the advice and record links there to see if you can find evidence of the town name. Watch carefully for any information on their religion.
  2. The town name you find might be the historical Hungarian version of the name or the modern Slovakian version of the name. Consult Genealogy Slovakia Gazetteer. In the list of all villages, the Hungarian and Slovakian names are all given in one index. When you find your town in that index, the link will take you to a page for the town. Under "Old Names" there will be a history of all the name changes of that town, including the historical Hungarian, the interim Czech, the modern Slovakian, and possibly several spelling variations. Some record systems are organized by the Hungarian name, others by the Slovakian name, or even both.
  3. There may not have been a local church for your ancestors' religion right in their town.
  • In the left sidebar of the town's page in Genealogy Slovakia Gazetteer, you will find notes on where that village would have attended church for each denomination.
  • If the denomination is given in capital letters, such as "LUTH", then the town had its own local church for that religion.
  • Be sure to look at the top section of the left sidebar on "Top Sightseeings", where it will list the local churches and the year they were built. Sometimes this is the only indication of churches in that town.
  • Towns along the border may have attended a church in Hungary to find the religion of their choice.

Online Records[edit | edit source]

This collection contains images of christenings, marriages, and burials for the years 1592-1935, and includes records from Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, and Reformed Church parishes, as well Jewish congregations in Slovakia. The Slovakia Church and Synagogue Records Aid will teach you how to navigate these records, their Coverage Table (which tells which records are indexed), and their Place Name List (which tells which towns are included, both indexed and browsable images.).

Additional Online Records Listed in the FamlySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Slovakian church and synagogue records are still being added all the time. Many church records were microfilmed. Currently, these microfilms are being digitized, and plans are to complete that project by 2020. Some records will go directly to digitized form, skipping the microfilming step. Check back occasionally to see if your records have become available.
Records may be added to the Catalog that are not added to the Family Historical Records Collection yet. To find all the digitized records for your locality:

a. Use the Slovakian or Hungarian version of the name of the parish town for your ancestors' religion.
b. Go to the FamilySearch Catalog. Enter either the Slovakian or Hungarian name of the town in the "Place" search field. Select the full place name from the drop down list of choices.
c. A list of record groups will appear for the town. Click on the "Church Records" topic.
d. Click on the links to specific record titles. The titles will list different religions and available time coverage.
e. In the film notes on the left, choose the correct event and time period for your ancestor.
f. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing: FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the records are indexed (but possibly only partially). Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online, digital, browsable copy of the records.
  • The microfilm icon appearing alone means the record is not digitized or indexed. It can be studied at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. You could also hire a professional researcher. Finally, check back frequently to see if it has been digitized.

Writing to the Archives[edit | edit source]

Records can be requested through the mail from the archives. If records for your parish and time period of interest are not in the FamilySearch collections, next contact the archives.

  • Using the Slovakian version of your town's name, click on the Wikipedia page for that town from the Wikipedia list of municipalities and towns in Slovakia. Study the "Genealogical resources" section for a description on records available in the district archives.
  • Or, use the email address for the archives, found on the Wiki page for that Region., and ask (in English) whether they hold the records for the town, religion, and time period you need.
  • The Slovak Letter Writing Guide will help with wording requests in Slovakian, including a PDF form you can use for your request. Do not use the general archive address shown on the form. That is for use when you don't know which archives has the records. Use the address for the correct archive, which is found on the Wiki page for that Region.
  • You can arrange an international bank order or electronic transfer through Western Union or MoneyGram. Do not send money until the office notifies you of their fees and preferred payment method.

Writing to the Local Civil Registrar[edit | edit source]

Registers more recent than those in the state archives are still at local city or subdistrict registration offices matričné úrady. For more recent information, not yet transferred to the archives, contact the local civil registrar.

  • Study MATRIČNÝ ÚRAD - Slov-Lex, a directory of municipality civil registrars (here listed as matrimonial offices, but they handle births and deaths also.) Use your computer's "Find" function to navigate the list. The list shows which municipal office covers smaller villages.
  • Send requests to:
Matričné Úrad
(Zipcode) [(Town)
  • A form for requesting records, information on payment, and other details can be found in the Slovakia Letter Writing Guide. Use the address above, not the archive address shown on the form.
  • You can arrange an international bank order or electronic transfer through Western Union or MoneyGram. Do not send money until the office notifies you of their fees and preferred payment method.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

Church Records Headings in Hungarian with English Translation[edit | edit source]

Baptism Record: Kereszteltek Anyakönyve Hungarian baptism.png
Larger version baptism record

Marriage Record: Házasultak Anyakönyve Hungarian marriage.png
Larger version marriage record

Death Record: Halottak Anyakönyve Hungarian death.png
Larger version death record

Church Records Headings in Latin with English Translation[edit | edit source]

Latin Baptism Record: Matricula Baptisatorum Latin baptism.png
Larger version baptism record

Latin Marriage Record: Matricula Copulatorum Latin marriage.png
Larger version marriage record

Latin Death Record: Matricula Defunctorum Latin death.png
Larger version death record

Other Helps for Latin Records[edit | edit source]

Church Records Headings in Slovak with English Translation[edit | edit source]

These records are two pages long. The first illustration is the left-hand side of the record. The second illustration is the right-hand side of the record.

Slovak church birth records headings.jpg

Slovak church marriage records headings.jpg

Slovak church death records headings.jpg

Reading Helps for Minority Languages: German, Polish, Ruthenian, and Old Church Slavonic[edit | edit source]

A few records will be written in other languages. For more help with reading German, Polish, Ruthenian, and Old Church Slavonic, see Slovakia Church Records Reading Aids.