Estonia Civil Registration

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Estonia Wiki Topics
Flag of Estonia.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Estonia Background
Local Research Resources

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Prior to the 1920s, the responsibility of registering births, marriages, and deaths primarily rested upon the Church. In 1920, registration offices were opened at city government levels as an alternative options to those who did not wish to marry in a church. On 1 July 1926, the registration of all vital events was passed over to the civil service.[1] Clerics could also perform the registrar's duty if they observed the requirements of the state.[2] Before 1926, birth, marriage, and death information can be found in church records. See Estonia Church Records for more information.

According to a 1922 Estonian law, the marriageable age was 18 for men and 16 for women. In the 1940s, following the Soviet occupation, a new law was instituted which made the marriageable age 18 for both men and women. In some cases the age was lowered by up to two years if proper permissions were obtained.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, divorces could be obtained through mutual consent and a three-month waiting period. In 1944, new laws were passed making it much more difficult to obtain a divorce. The granting of a divorce demanded large fees and prolonged legal proceedings. [1]

Civil registers[edit | edit source]

Civil registration records uniquely identify individuals and connect them to their parents and/or spouses.

Content[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriage, and death records have the exact date of the event, including time of day for births; names of the child and parents; occupation and religious preference of parents; name of informant for births and names of witnesses for marriages; place of residence for parents of newly born, of the groom and bride for marriages, and of the deceased for deaths; age at death, cause of death, and place of burial in death records.[3]

Accessing Records[edit | edit source]

You may be able to locate indexes of civil records using the Estonian Cultural Index (EILI).

Otherwise, civil registration records are usually located in the civil registration offices at the local governments of the counties (maakonnakeskuste omavalitsuste). Refer to the list below to locate contact information for the county government that your ancestor lived in:

In some cases, civil registration documents may be obtained from the Archives of the Department of Population Operations of the Ministry of the Interior.

For those born in the city of Tallin, civil registration records may also be available at the Tallin Vital Statistics Office.

You may also consider working with an Estonian Embassy in your country. To locate contact information for an embassy in your country, see the article Estonia: Embassies and Representations.

Keep in mind that in order to retrieve data or copies of civil registration documents, you will likely need to pay any associated research and copy fees.

For more information about civil registration records, refer to the Genealogical Research article at VAU.

Supplementary Records[edit | edit source]

Other record types can be used to confirm or supply missing information on birth, marriage, and death registration. Such records include: vaccination registers, wills, property inventories, marriage licenses, adoptions, records to certify the only breadwinner of the family (the only breadwinner was released from military service), and writ of attachment of the property that remains with the children.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Asta Põldma, "Family Policies: Estonia,", accessed January 2021.
  2. Must, Aadu. "The Sources of Estonian Family History." In Eestlaste perekonnaloo allikad. Estonia: Kleio, 2000.
  3. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Estonia,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1994-2002.
  4. Must, Aadu. "The Sources of Estonian Family History." In Eestlaste perekonnaloo allikad. Estonia: Kleio, 2000.