Bosnia and Herzegovina Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The State Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the entity Constitutions of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska provide for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in ethnically integrated areas or in areas where government officials are of the majority religion; the state-level Law on Religious Freedom also provides comprehensive rights to religious communities. According to the most recent census, conducted in 2013 and whose results were published in 2016, Muslims today constitute 50.70% of the population; Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, constitute 45.94%; and other groups, including protestants, Jews and nonreligious persons, constitute 3.36%, although these figures are often disputed by Bosnia's Serb community.

The Catholic community maintains its Bishops' Conference as an overarching organizational and regional structure, with bishops residing in Mostar, Banja Luka, and Sarajevo; the Franciscan order maintains its strongest presence in central Bosnia near Sarajevo and in Herzegovina. The Serbian Orthodox Church maintains its greatest influence in the RS, with the most influential bishops residing in Banja Luka, Trebinje, and Bijeljina. The Jewish community, like most other small religious groups in Bosnia, including Protestants, has its strongest membership in Sarajevo. There are several small Christian denominations throughout the country.[1]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will affect 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]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name



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 Bosnia and Herzegovina.
b. Click on Places within Bosnia and Herzegovina 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. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. It might be difficult to predict whether a particular local priest will be able to communicate in Bosnian, Croatian, English, or Serbian. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, religion is often linked to ethnicity, i.e. most Bosniaks are Muslim, Serbs are Orthodox Christian, and Croats are Roman Catholic. You can use either a Serbian translation service or a Croatian translation service.

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:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the worldwide Catholic Church under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. According to the latest census from 2013, there are 544,114 Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina, making up 15.41% of the population.

The Catholic church suffered from political situations throughout history. Understanding the political environment influence on churches can affect the availability to locate records. For a full history, see Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. [2]

Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Eastern Orthodox Church is the most widespread Christian denomination in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the second most widespread religious group in the country, following Islam and followed in turn by Roman Catholicism. Orthodox Christians in Bosnia and Herzegovina belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church. According to the CIA World Factbook, Orthodox Christians make up 31% of the country's population. [3]

Protestant Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Bosnia and Herzegovina", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina, accessed 14 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina, accessed 14 April 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Eastern Orthodoxy in Bosnia and Herzegovina", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodoxy_in_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina, accessed 14 April 2020.