Records being kept in churches
- Dear all,
This is a never ending story:-)
Americans always first run to the church and for me this is my last resort. I will tell you why.
As you all know, in general, church records before 1895 are being kept in the archives. Already this is not quite true, namely, you can find church records in the archive, which go till 1950!, disregarding the privacy law.
And, as you have already seen, there are a couple of parishes, who did not give away the records in 1950, when the commies raided the churches and took away what they saw. ( some copies here and there ware salvaged)
So, in general, what churches have is so various, that you never can tell in avance what you can find there.
Usually books starting from 1920 or even later.
As you also know, in 1895 the civil records have been introduced.
Now, the civil records keep everybody, with no regard of religion, but for a smaller geographical area than some church records.
This means, that whatever happened after 1895, it can be found for sure in one of the civil records, but not neccessarily in church books.Namely, the more we move towards present, the more were there, who left the church and are in no church books any more.
If you want to check the books, which are kept today at the particular parish office, you have to go there and convince the priest that you are a honest person and also contribute something for the "roof repair".
Only then you will really see, what books are there. The priests make no advertising about their books and actually would better like, that nobody would know that. ( sure, there are exceptions)
Also to consider, the priests have a business to run and are always very busy and absolutely not keen to do any complicated research, so one has to do it on his own. But, as I already said, there is a chance, that the event is not in the books, because the person was not a member of the church any more.
For all above reasons I first look in the archives ( records and censuses), then go to the civil record office and if they turn me down, then I go to the church with no expectations. ( except for those churches, where I know what they have)
One more thing; after 1900, a person might have died in a hospital in another town and will not be in the civil books in his place of residence and will be in church records only if it was bureid there.
I know, it is difficult to remember all this and keep in mind when making a research plan. Only after one has been working with this for longer time you get a feeling what are the options at certain points of time.
Every case can be different.
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