Lithuania Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

For help reading records, see Lithuanian Genealogical Word List.[edit | edit source]

ePaveldas: Online Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • ePaveldas Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Collection is a digital repository and collection of items of Lithuanian heritage and culture, includes almost 4,000 Roman Catholic Church register books. Images, no index. Incomplete.
    • To learn how to use the Online Catholic Church Records available at ePaveldas, check out the "How to" Guide.
    • First, read through the Instructions.
    • Then test your knowledge with the short Assignment.
    • The Answer Key is provided to check your answers.

Map of Links to Church Records[edit | edit source]

This map shows which churches have online records.

  • Click on Skaitmeninis bažnyčių žemėlapis (Digital map of churches)
  • Click on the third tab, Search by sources of church metrics (Paieška pagal bažnytininų metrikų šaltinius)]
  • On the map, places with the red church symbol have known sources online. Places with the gray church symbols do not have records online.
  • Click on the red church icon for a town, and it will link to a list of available online records and where they are found. The list can be two pages with the first page quite blank, and the info you need on the second page. An arrow ">" on the far right takes you to the second page.
  • On the second page is a list of "Related records". To the far right, the arrow ">" leads to a description page of the record.
  • On the description page "More info" takes you to images of the actual records.

Other Online Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • GenMetrika, Catholic Church birth and baptism register books.
  • online indexes of church records.

  • Litwa-metryki cz. Lithuania vital records with online images. Map pins indicate villages from which records are available. Includes some records from Belarus.
    • Click the down arrow to the left of "Cz. I i II" to open the full list, which gives all these links.
    • A list of records and links to descriptions and images will appear. Example:
first book of deaths from 1894 to 1895 year. Description | see
2nd book of deaths of the 19th century. Description | see
third book of births of the 20th century. And half Description | See
the 4th book of births from 1860 to 1866 year. Description | See
5. book of births from 1866 to 1873 year. Description | See
  • Description and See are clickable links. See takes you to the images.

  • Pasvalia Includes Roman Catholic Church records for various years and places.
    • Click on tab "See All".
    • Click on tab "Metrikų knyga" (Metrical books).[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the 2011 census, the predominant religion in Lithuania is Christianity, with the largest confession being that of the Catholic Church (about 77% of the population).[2] There are smaller groups of Orthodox Christians, Evangelical Lutherans, members of Reformed churches, other Protestants, Jews and Muslims as well as people of other religions. The first census in independent Lithuania, in 1923, established the fallowing religious distribution: Catholic — 85.7 per cent; Jews — 7.7 per cent; Protestant — 3.8 per cent; Greek Orthodox — 2.7 per cent.

The Catholic Church has claimed the adherence of the majority of Lithuanians since the Christianization of Lithuania in the 14th and 15th centuries. Lithuania kept its Catholic identity under the Russian Empire and later under the Soviet Union when some Catholic priests led the resistance against the Communist regime, which is commemorated in the Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai, a shrine to the anti-communist resistance.

The center of Greek Catholic life in Lithuania is the Basilian Monastery and Church of the Holy Trinity in Vilnius. In the past, the monastery was multiethnic but now serves a mostly Ukrainian community.

Protestants are 0.8%, of which 0.6% are Lutheran and 0.2% are Reformed. According to Losch (1932), the Lutherans were 3.3% of the total population; they were mainly Germans in the Memel territory (now Klaipėda). There was also a tiny Reformed community (0.5%) which still persists. Protestantism has declined with the removal of the German population, and today it is mainly represented by ethnic Lithuanians throughout the northern and western parts of the country, as well as large urban areas. Believers and clergy suffered greatly during the Soviet occupation, with many killed, tortured or deported to Siberia.

Various Protestant churches have established missions in Lithuania since 1990, including the United Methodists, the Baptist Union, the Mennonites, and World Venture.[1]

General: The church acted as both a religious and civil agent in recording vital events and church sacraments such as baptism and burial. The traditional Christian faith of Lithuania is Roman Catholic. There are small groups of Evangelical and Reformed Protestants, Russian Orthodox, Jews, and Old Believer Orthodox. The priests made a transcript of their records for the ecclesiastical court (dukhovnaia konsistoriia) having jurisdiction. Jewish transcripts were filed with the local town council (gorodskaia duma). Old Believer and Baptist transcripts were sent to the provincial administration (gubernskoe upravlenie). The distinction between the original and the transcript is often ignored by Lithuanian record keepers.

Time period: Roman Catholic, 1613 (transcripts begin in 1826); Orthodox, 1722; Greek Catholic, 1796; Evangelical/other Protestant, 1641(transcripts begin in 1833); Jews, 1835; Old Believers, 1874; Baptists, 1879–all to 1949.

Location: State Historical Archive in Vilnius, Civil Registration Archive, Vilnius (records after 1915).

Population coverage: 70% coverage for early periods, 90% from about 1830 through the 1940s when civil registration began, 50% among minority religions and dissident groups such as Old Believers and Baptists. [2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

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

Start with Online Resources and Websites above.

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 Lithuania.
b. Click on Places within Lithuania 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 diocese, or local parish priests to find more recent records not deposited in the National Archives. Use Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. Then use a Lithuanian 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 Lithuania is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. Lithuania has the highest density of Catholics of all the Baltic states: there are two million Catholics, which is 79% of the total population (2002). The country is divided into eight dioceses including two archdioceses and a military ordinariate. In 2007 there were 779 Catholic priests and 677 parishes.

Catholicism has been the majority denomination since the Christianization of parts of Lithuania proper in 1387 (the Highland) and in 1413 (Samogitia, the Lowland).

The Catholic Church is an influential factor in the country, and some priests actively led the resistance against the Communist regime and, after independence was regained, in support of traditionalism, especially in ethical questions.[3]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Lutheranism in Lithuania dates back to the 16th century, when it came mainly from the neighboring German-controlled areas of Livonia and East Prussia. A Synod in Vilnius united the church in 1557. The parish network covered nearly all of the Grand Duchy, with district centers in Vilnius, Kedainai, Biržai, Slucke, Kojdanove and Zabludove later Izabeline.

The majority of Prussian Lithuanians living in East Prussia and in Memelland (since 1945 the Klaipėda Region of Lithuania) belonged to the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union. Most resettled in the West Germany after World War II along with the ethnic German inhabitants.

Since 1945, Lutheranism in Lithuania has declined largely due to the ongoing secularization that sweeps throughout Europe.[4]

Reformed/Calvinist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Church is a historic denomination which was founded in 1557. In the second half of the 16th century, the Unitarians separated. The denomination has over 7,000 members in 14 congregations. The church is a member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Reformed Fellowship.[5]

Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Eastern Orthodoxy claims 4.1% of the population, mainly from the Russian minority. Orthodox Christianity is the first form of Christianity to arrive in Lithuania, with the marriage of Algirdas to Maria of Vitebsk and the martyrdom of Ss. Anthony, John, and Eustathius of Vilnius. The church founded by Maria of Vitebsk, St. Paraskevi Church, is the oldest continuously existing Christian congregation in the country and the only Orthodox church in Lithuania fully worshiping in the Lithuanian language.

Most of the Armenians in Lithuania, making up about 0.1% of population according to its own estimates, belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, which is often classified as an Oriental Orthodox Church, in distinction from Eastern Orthodox (to which the main Russian, Greek and Georgian Churches belong). An Armenian Apostolic Church St. Vardan was opened in Vilnius in 2006.[6]

Other Protestant Church Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Lithuania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 22 April 2020.
  2. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Lithuania,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2003.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Lithuania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 22 April 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Lithuania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 22 April 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Lithuania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 22 April 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Lithuania", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 22 April 2020.