Syria Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Syria, 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 Christian population of Syria comprise 10% of the population, which is down from when they were 25% of Syrian the total population of 1.1 million in 1920. Most Syrians are members of either the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (700,000), or the Syriac Orthodox Church. The vast majority of Catholics belong to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Other Christian Churches in union with Rome include the Maronites, Syriac Catholics, Armenians, Chaldeans and a small number of Latin Rite Catholics. The rest belong to the Eastern communions, which have existed in Syria since the earliest days of Christianity. The main Eastern groups are:

  • the autonomous Orthodox churches;
  • the Eastern Catholic Churches, which are in communion with Rome;
  • and the independent Assyrian Church of the East (i.e., the "Nestorian" Church).

Followers of the Assyrian Church of the East are almost all Eastern Aramaic speaking ethnic Assyrians/Syriacs whose origins lie in Mesopotamia, as are some Oriental Orthodox and Catholic Christians. Even though each group forms a separate community, Christians nevertheless cooperate increasingly. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism were introduced by missionaries but only a small number of Syrians are members of Western denominations.[1]

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]

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 Syria.
b. Click on Places within Syria 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 an Arabic translating 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 Syria is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.

There are 368,000 Catholics in Syria (and its refugee diaspora), approximately 2% of the total population. The Catholics of Syria are members of several different Rite/language-specific Churches, including Armenian, Chaldean, Syriac, Maronite and Melkite in addition to the Latin Church, and there are separate but overlapping jurisdictions for the faithful of each Church.[2]

Protestant Churches[edit | edit source]

Maronite Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Greek Orthodox Church Records [edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Melkite Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Armenian Orthodox or Apostolic[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Armenian Apostolic Church is the second largest Oriental Orthodox Christian group in Syria.

Armenian Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Assyrian Church of the East[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Syriac Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Syriac Orthodox Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Chaldean Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in Syria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Syria, accessed 13 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Syria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Syria, accessed 13 April 2020.