Moldova Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Religion in Moldova is predominantly Orthodox Christian. The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova provides for freedom of religion, and the national government generally respects this right in practice.

Although Eastern Orthodoxy has a numerical preponderance, there is no state religion, and state and church are officially separate.

About 0.5% of Moldovans adhere to the Catholic faith.

Adherents of other faiths include Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Bahá'ís, Jews, Unification Church members, Molokans (a Russian group), Messianic Jews (who believe that Jesus was the Messiah), Lutherans, Presbyterians, Hare Krishnas, and some other charismatic Christian and evangelical Christian groups. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has 3 congregations in the country, and a combined total of approximately 370 members.[ [1]

Metrical books[edit | edit source]

The Church acted as both a religious and civil agent in recording vital events and church sacraments such as baptism and burial. The priest made a transcript for the ecclesiastical court (dukhovnaia konsistoriia) having jurisdiction. Jewish transcripts were filed with the local town council (gorodskaia duma). Baptist transcripts were sent to the provincial administration (gubernskoe upravlenie). The distinction between the original and the transcript is often ignored by Moldovan record keepers.

Time period: Orthodox, 1812; Evangelical/other Protestant, 1641(transcripts begin in 1833); Jews, 1835; Baptists, 1879-all to about 1930.

Contents: Names of the person and other family members, residence, relationships, dates and place of birth and baptism, marriage, death and burial. Baptisms include names of godparents; marriages include the ages of the bride and groom; burials include the age of the deceased and cause of death.

Location: State Historical Archive in Kishinev for records through 1910 and civil registry offices for more recent records.

Percentage in Family History Library: 90%. By 2002 most of the metrical books in the state historical archive had been filmed. Only those in the civil registry offices had not been filmed.

Population coverage: 70% coverage for early periods, 90% from the about 1830 through the destruction of most churches in the 1930s, 50% among minority religions and dissident groups such as Baptists.

Reliability: In 1825 the Holy Synod, governmental body over the Orthodox Church, ordered bishops to eradicate bribery of priests to falsify the books, suggesting that this problem existed. Ethnic minorities avoided registration to avert military service later in life.[2]

Confession lists[edit | edit source]

Research use: Identify family groups and ages. They are easier to use than the revision lists because they include all classes of society. They are also a parish register substitute.

Record type: Register of orthodox parishioners taken at Easter confession.

General: Attendance at confession and communion was required of the family members over the age of seven. Sometimes they are interfiled with metrical books in a record group or collection.

Time period: 1812-about 1930.

Contents: Lists head of household, names of family members (including children not attending confession) with their ages and relationship to head of household, residence (number of house or other identification), and whether or not they attended confession.

Location: State Historical Archive in Kishinev.

Percentage in Family History Library: 90%.

Population coverage: 10% (see preservation note).

Reliability: High. Comparison can be made between the returns annually for verification of reliability.

Preservation of records/vulnerability: Because this is a voluminous record type, many have been discarded. The standard rule was to retain only 2% but in some cases more were preserved. Consequently, these exist for only a small percentage of parishes. The records are well preserved in a good facility. The records were little used during the communist period, 1918-1991.[2]

How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. 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:

a. Click on the records of Moldova.
b. Click on Places within Moldova and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. 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.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. Use Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. Then, use a Romanian translation service.

Eastern Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The primary religion is Christianity, 90.1% of the population nominally being Eastern Orthodox pursuant to data of the 2014 census. Administratively, there are two autonomous churches belonging to two autocephalous churches (Russian and Romanian) within the Eastern Orthodox communion. The autonomous Metropolis of Chişinău and Moldova (belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church), according to the State Service on Religious Issues, has 1,194 parishes; the autonomous Metropolis of Bessarabia (belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church) has 124 parishes. In addition followers of the Old Rite Russian Orthodox Church (Old Believers) make up approximately 0.09% of the population.

The religious traditions of Eastern Orthodoxy are entwined with the culture and patrimony of the country. Many self-professed atheists routinely celebrate religious holidays, cross themselves, and even light candles and kiss icons if local tradition and the occasion demand.

During the 2004 census, 93.34% of the population declared themselves to be Eastern Orthodox.[3]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Following the Soviet Union’s demise, Moldovans were able to travel abroad. In September 1995, Paul and Betty Morris arrived in Chisinau, where Paul worked in the U.S. Embassy. In June of that, John Nielson, a private contractor doing development work, arrived in Moldova. And in May 1996, Janet Jasen, a nurse with the Peace Corps, began her tour in Chisinau. These four Latter-day Saints met each week.

In September 1997, it was announced that the first branch (a small congregation) was shortly to be organized and missionaries were to be assigned to labor in Moldova. Five weeks after that visit, missionaries arrived in Chisinau. At that time, missionaries could not wear name tags or openly proselyte; rather, they provided service and taught people who had been referred to them by Church members or waited for people to ask them about the Church. [4]

Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Moldova", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Moldova, accessed 16 April 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Moldova,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2002.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Moldova", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Moldova, accessed 16 April 2020.
  4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Moldova, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Moldova, accessed 16 April 2020.

References[edit | edit source]