Tobolsk Gubernia Church Records

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodoxy was one of the most predominant religions in the Toblosk Gubernia, although Tobolsk Gubernia was also home to other religious denominations such as Old Believers, Catholics, etc. Church records, or records of baptism/birth, marriage, and burial/death, are often referred to as metrical records or metrical books (метрические книги).

Russian Orthodox Records[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodoxy (Русская православная церковь) was one of the predominant religions in the Tobolsk Gubernia. Metrical records (church records) can begin as early as the 1720s, but generally records have been preserved for only the late 1700s and on. You may encounter gaps in record coverage Russian Orthodox records consist of both metrical books (birth, marriage, and death) and confession lists. Confession lists are registers of Orthodox parishioners taken each year at Easter confession. They include information for households such as surnames, children's names, ages, and relationships. Read below for more information about how to access these records.

Digital Copies of Russian Orthodox Metrical Records and Confession Lists through FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Digital images of Russian Orthodox metrical records and confession lists for many uyezdi of the Tobolsk Gubernia are available online. Records may be available for your ancestor's parish, or they may be included in an uyezd wide collection of metrical records. You should check both places for records. Follow the instructions below for more information.

How to Locate Parish Records[edit | edit source]

1. Go to https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog

2. In the Place box, type in the name of the parish. Or, click here and use the places within feature.

  1. Click on Places within Russia, Tobol'sk.
  2. From the list that appears, select the uyezd that your ancestor lived in.
  3. Next, click on Places within Russia, Tobol'sk, [Uyezd].
  4. Browse the list to locate the name of your ancestor's parish.

3. Once you have located your parish, look for heading entitled Church Records. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • Метрические книги : [name] церковь = Metrical books : [name] church
  • Исповедные ведомости : [name] церковь = Confession lists: [name] church
  • Православная церковь = Russian Orthodox

4. Once you have located your desired record, click on it.

5. This will take you to the catalog entry page for your desired record. Scroll down to the Film/Digital Notes section. Locate the type of record and time frame you are in need of. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • рождения = births
  • бракосочетания = marriages
  • смерти = death

You may encounter notes that have a set of numbers and Cyrillic letters like this, Ф. [#], о. [#], д. [#]. These are the fond, opis, and delo numbers and are similar to a call number to help locate the record in an archive.

Using the Notes column and the translations above, locate the record set you are interested in.

6. The final Format column will let you know how the record can be accessed. A digital camera indicates the records is available online, while a digital camera with a key indicates the record is available, but with additional viewing restrictions. You may be able to view the record at a Family History Center. Click here to locate a Family History Center near you. Finally, a microfilm icon indicates the record is only accessible at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. View the Family History Library website for more information about the record look-up service. Be sure to take note of item numbers found in the Film section. Occasionally, microfilms were divided into separate items to conserve space. Look for black "title" cards with a large number on them that indicate the beginning and end of an item. This will help you find the location of the proper records on the film.

How to Locate Uyezd Records

In some cases, records may be organized by the uyezd/district, and then within the films, by parish. To locate the metrical records available for each uyezd, follow the steps below.

  1. Click on the uyezd that your ancestor lived in:

2. Find the time frame and record type you are looking for by looking the Film/Digital Notes section and Notes column. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • рождения = births
  • бракосочетания = marriages
  • смерти = death

You may encounter notes that have a set of numbers and Cyrillic letters like this, Ф. [#], о. [#], д. [#]. These are the fond, opis, and delo numbers and are similar to a call number to help locate the record in an archive.

Using the Notes column and the translations above, locate the record set you are interested in.

3. Once you have determined your record(s) of interest, the final Format column will let you know how the record can be accessed. A digital camera indicates the records is available online, while a digital camera with a key indicates the record is available, but with additional viewing restrictions. You may be able to view the record at a Family History Center. Click here to locate a Family History Center near you. Finally, a microfilm icon indicates the record is only accessible at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. View the Family History Library website for more information about the record look-up service. Be sure to take note of item numbers found in the Film section. Occasionally, microfilms were divided into separate items to conserve space. Look for black "title" cards with a large number on them that indicate the beginning and end of an item. This will help you find the location of the proper records on the film.

At the beginning of item or film numbers, you may be able to find a table of contents of parishes included in that church book. Otherwise look for beginnings of new sections within the book.  

Digital Copies of Russian Orthodox Metrical Records through the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodox Metrical records have been preserved in the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk in fond 156. Many of these records have recently been digitized and are available to purchase online. Keep in mind that some of these records may be digitized through FamilySearch; however, you may find additional records via the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk Electronic Archive. To access these records, follow the steps below.

Website Translation Assistance[edit | edit source]

The electronic archive is available only in Russian; however, for non-Russian speakers, you can use Google Translate to help you navigate the site.

  • If you use the Google Chrome browser, simply right click anywhere on the page and select the option Translate to English.
  • If you prefer to use another browser, just go to https://translate.google.com/, and change the language settings to translate from English to Russian. Copy and paste the URL of the website you want translated into the English box and click on the link that appears in the Russian box. This will take you to a translated version of the site.
Record Access[edit | edit source]

1. Go to the Tobolsk Electronic Archive site.

2. Register (Регистрация) for an account. It's free but requires a valid email address and it could take a few days for your account to be verified. You can also use the Guest Access (Гостевой вход) to browse record availability.

3. From the main page, type the name of the parish or church (using the Russian spelling) into the search box at the top of the page.

4. When the search results come up, choose Cases (Дела).

5. Browse through the results, looking for records that may be of interest. Metrical records were included in fond I-156 (Ф. И156).

6. Once you have located the records you would like to access, check the Digital Copy (Электронная копия) column, to determine if there are digital images available. If there are records available, the words there is (есть) will appear in that column.

7. To order records, click on the first icon in the Act (Действие). This is the Add to Shopping Cart (Добавить в корзину) button.

8. A box will appear with the price of the record. The archive currently (as of July 2021) charges a price of .5 rubles for each sheet/page in the collection.

9. To purchase a record, click on the shopping cart icon (в корзину).

10. When a record has been added to your cart, a number will appear in the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. To check out, click on the cart and then select Continue Checkout (Продолжить оформление заказа).

11. Follow the instructions on the screen. You can pay using a bank transfer or a card (you'll have to register for YooMoney (also known as Yandex Money)).

12. After you have successfully paid the archive, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to the records. You can also access the records from the electronic archive itself, by navigating to the proper fond, opis, and delo and then clicking on the title of the delo. Keep in mind that you have only temporary access for a month after you have purchased them. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research before purchasing records.

Old Believers[edit | edit source]

Old Believers (Старообрядчество) were dissenters from Russian Orthodoxy who refused to accept alterations of religious rituals and prayers that were part of the reforms of Patriarch Nikon of Moscow between 1652 and 1666. Old Believers were required to keep records of birth and marriage beginning in 1874.

Digital Copies of Old Believer Metrical Records through FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

There are digital copies of Old Believer metrical records for several uyezdi in the Tobolsk Gubernia available through FamilySearch. Follow the instructions below for information on how to access these records.

How to Locate Parish Records[edit | edit source]

1. Go to https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog

2. In the Place box, type in the name of the parish. Or, click here and use the places within feature.

  1. Click on Places within Russia, Tobol'sk.
  2. From the list that appears, select the uyezd that your ancestor lived in.
  3. Next, click on Places within Russia, Tobol'sk, [Uyezd].
  4. Browse the list to locate the name of your ancestor's parish.

3. Once you have located your parish, look for heading entitled Church Records. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • Метрические книги : [name] церковь = Metrical books : [name] church
  • Староверческая церковь = Russian Orthodox

4. Once you have located your desired record, click on it.

5. This will take you to the catalog entry page for your desired record. Scroll down to the Film/Digital Notes section. Locate the type of record and time frame you are in need of. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • рождения = births
  • бракосочетания = marriages
  • смерти = death

You may encounter notes that have a set of numbers and Cyrillic letters like this, Ф. [#], о. [#], д. [#]. These are the fond, opis, and delo numbers and are similar to a call number to help locate the record in an archive.

Using the Notes column and the translations above, locate the record set you are interested in.

6. The final Format column will let you know how the record can be accessed. A digital camera indicates the records is available online, while a digital camera with a key indicates the record is available, but with additional viewing restrictions. You may be able to view the record at a Family History Center. Click here to locate a Family History Center near you. Finally, a microfilm icon indicates the record is only accessible at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. View the Family History Library website for more information about the record look-up service. Be sure to take note of item numbers found in the Film section. Occasionally, microfilms were divided into separate items to conserve space. Look for black "title" cards with a large number on them that indicate the beginning and end of an item. This will help you find the location of the proper records on the film.

How to Locate Uyezd Records

In some cases, records may be organized by the uyezd/district, and then within the films, by parish. To locate the metrical records available for each uyezd, follow the steps below.

  1. Click on the uyezd that your ancestor lived in:

2. Find the time frame and record type you are looking for by looking the Film/Digital Notes section and Notes column. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:

  • рождения = births
  • бракосочетания = marriages
  • смерти = death

You may encounter notes that have a set of numbers and Cyrillic letters like this, Ф. [#], о. [#], д. [#]. These are the fond, opis, and delo numbers and are similar to a call number to help locate the record in an archive.

Using the Notes column and the translations above, locate the record set you are interested in.

3. Once you have determined your record(s) of interest, the final Format column will let you know how the record can be accessed. A digital camera indicates the records is available online, while a digital camera with a key indicates the record is available, but with additional viewing restrictions. You may be able to view the record at a Family History Center. Click here to locate a Family History Center near you. Finally, a microfilm icon indicates the record is only accessible at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. View the Family History Library website for more information about the record look-up service. Be sure to take note of item numbers found in the Film section. Occasionally, microfilms were divided into separate items to conserve space. Look for black "title" cards with a large number on them that indicate the beginning and end of an item. This will help you find the location of the proper records on the film.

At the beginning of item or film numbers, you may be able to find a table of contents of parishes included in that church book. Otherwise look for beginnings of new sections within the book.  

Digital Copies of Old Believer Metrical Records through the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodox Metrical records have been preserved in the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk in fond 156. Many of these records have recently been digitized and are available to purchase online. Keep in mind that some of these records may be digitized through FamilySearch; however, you may find additional records via the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk Electronic Archive. To access these records, follow the steps below.

Website Translation Assistance[edit | edit source]

The electronic archive is available only in Russian; however, for non-Russian speakers, you can use Google Translate to help you navigate the site.

  • If you use the Google Chrome browser, simply right click anywhere on the page and select the option Translate to English.
  • If you prefer to use another browser, just go to https://translate.google.com/, and change the language settings to translate from English to Russian. Copy and paste the URL of the website you want translated into the English box and click on the link that appears in the Russian box. This will take you to a translated version of the site.
Record Access[edit | edit source]

1. Go to the Tobolsk Electronic Archive site.

2. Register (Регистрация) for an account. It's free but requires a valid email address and it could take a few days for your account to be verified. You can also use the Guest Access (Гостевой вход) to browse record availability.

3. From the main page, type the name of the parish or church (using the Russian spelling) into the search box at the top of the page.

4. When the search results come up, choose Cases (Дела).

5. Browse through the results, looking for records that may be of interest. Metrical records were included in fond I-156 (Ф. И156) and fond 255 (Ф. 255).

6. Once you have located the records you would like to access, check the Digital Copy (Электронная копия) column, to determine if there are digital images available. If there are records available, the words there is (есть) will appear in that column.

7. To order records, click on the first icon in the Act (Действие). This is the Add to Shopping Cart (Добавить в корзину) button.

8. A box will appear with the price of the record. The archive currently (as of July 2021) charges a price of .5 rubles for each sheet/page in the collection.

9. To purchase a record, click on the shopping cart icon (в корзину).

10. When a record has been added to your cart, a number will appear in the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. To check out, click on the cart and then select Continue Checkout (Продолжить оформление заказа).

11. Follow the instructions on the screen. You can pay using a bank transfer or a card (you'll have to register for YooMoney (also known as Yandex Money)).

12. After you have successfully paid the archive, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to the records. You can also access the records from the electronic archive itself, by navigating to the proper fond, opis, and delo and then clicking on the title of the delo. Keep in mind that you have only temporary access for a month after you have purchased them. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research before purchasing records.

Edinoverie[edit | edit source]

Edinoveria (Единоверие) is an arrangement between certain Old Believer communities and the Russian Orthodox Church, where the communities are treated as part of the normal Orthodox Church, but still able to maintain their traditional rites and beliefs. They are often called "Old Ritualists" (Старообрядцы). There are some Edinoverie records available for the city of Tyumen via FamilySearch.

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Roman Catholic Metrical Records through FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

There are Roman Catholic church records available on FamilySearch for the City of Omsk (1889-1904), and for the city of Tobolsk (1867-1889); (1852-1921), and for the city of Tyumen (1906-1920).

  1. Choose your desired location below. Note that these are city records not uyezd records.
  1. Find the time frame and record type you are looking for by looking the Film/Digital Notes section and Notes column. Titles will likely be in Russian. Use the list of translations below to assist you:
    • рождения = births
    • бракосочетания = marriages
    • смерти = death You may encounter notes that have a set of numbers and Cyrillic letters like this, Ф. [#], о. [#], д. [#]. These are the fond, opis, and delo numbers and are similar to a call number to help locate the record in an archive. Using the Notes column and the translations above, locate the record set you are interested in. 3. Once you have determined your record(s) of interest, the final Format column will let you know how the record can be accessed. A digital camera indicates the records is available online, while a digital camera with a key indicates the record is available, but with additional viewing restrictions. You may be able to view the record at a Family History Center. Click here to locate a Family History Center near you. Finally, a microfilm icon indicates the record is only accessible at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. View the Family History Library website for more information about the record look-up service. Be sure to take note of item numbers found in the Film section. Occasionally, microfilms were divided into separate items to conserve space. Look for black "title" cards with a large number on them that indicate the beginning and end of an item. This will help you find the location of the proper records on the film.

Digital Copies of Roman Catholic Metrical Records through the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic metrical records have been preserved in the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk in fond 156. Many of these records have recently been digitized and are available to purchase online. To access these records, follow the steps below.

Website Translation Assistance[edit | edit source]

The electronic archive is available only in Russian; however, for non-Russian speakers, you can use Google Translate to help you navigate the site.

  • If you use the Google Chrome browser, simply right click anywhere on the page and select the option Translate to English.
  • If you prefer to use another browser, just go to https://translate.google.com/, and change the language settings to translate from English to Russian. Copy and paste the URL of the website you want translated into the English box and click on the link that appears in the Russian box. This will take you to a translated version of the site.
Record Access[edit | edit source]

1. Go to the Tobolsk Electronic Archive site.

2. Register (Регистрация) for an account. It's free but requires a valid email address and it could take a few days for your account to be verified. You can also use the Guest Access (Гостевой вход) to browse record availability.

3. From the main page, type the name of the parish or church (using the Russian spelling) into the search box at the top of the page.

4. When the search results come up, choose Cases (Дела).

5. Browse through the results, looking for records that may be of interest. Metrical records were included in fond I-156 (Ф. И156). Catholic records can be found in opis 15. See section 2. Metric Books of Other Denominations (2. Метрические книги других конфессий) in Oksana Korneva's index of documents at the Archive of the City of Tobolsk in the Tyumen Region. You may also find Catholic records in fond 70.

6. Once you have located the records you would like to access, check the Digital Copy (Электронная копия) column, to determine if there are digital images available. If there are records available, the words there is (есть) will appear in that column.

7. To order records, click on the first icon in the Act (Действие). This is the Add to Shopping Cart (Добавить в корзину) button.

8. A box will appear with the price of the record. The archive currently (as of July 2021) charges a price of .5 rubles for each sheet/page in the collection.

9. To purchase a record, click on the shopping cart icon (в корзину).

10. When a record has been added to your cart, a number will appear in the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. To check out, click on the cart and then select Continue Checkout (Продолжить оформление заказа).

11. Follow the instructions on the screen. You can pay using a bank transfer or a card (you'll have to register for YooMoney (also known as Yandex Money)).

12. After you have successfully paid the archive, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to the records. You can also access the records from the electronic archive itself, by navigating to the proper fond, opis, and delo and then clicking on the title of the delo. Keep in mind that you have only temporary access for a month after you have purchased them. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research before purchasing records.

Evangelical Lutheran[edit | edit source]

There was an Evangelical Lutheran parish located in Tobolsk. This parish would have been part of the Moscow Evangelical Lutheran Consistory, so the location of the duplicate church records are unknown. Original parish records for a few years in the early twentieth century have survived.

Digital Copies of Evangelical Lutheran Metrical Records through FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Records from 1909 are digitized and available through FamilySearch. Click here to view the catalog entry page for those records.

Additional years are available through the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk in fond 156. These records may be available to purchase online. To access these records, follow the steps below.

Digital Copies of Evangelical Lutheran Metrical Records through the State Archives of the City of Tobolsk[edit | edit source]

Website Translation Assistance[edit | edit source]

The electronic archive is available only in Russian; however, for non-Russian speakers, you can use Google Translate to help you navigate the site.

  • If you use the Google Chrome browser, simply right click anywhere on the page and select the option Translate to English.
  • If you prefer to use another browser, just go to https://translate.google.com/, and change the language settings to translate from English to Russian. Copy and paste the URL of the website you want translated into the English box and click on the link that appears in the Russian box. This will take you to a translated version of the site.
Record Access[edit | edit source]

1. Go to the Tobolsk Electronic Archive site.

2. Register (Регистрация) for an account. It's free but requires a valid email address and it could take a few days for your account to be verified. You can also use the Guest Access (Гостевой вход) to browse record availability.

3. From the main page, type the name of the parish or church (using the Russian spelling) into the search box at the top of the page.

4. When the search results come up, choose Cases (Дела).

5. Browse through the results, looking for records that may be of interest. Metrical records were included in fond I-156 (Ф. И156). Lutheran records can be found in opis 15. See section 2. Metric Books of Other Denominations (2. Метрические книги других конфессий) in Oksana Korneva's index of documents at the Archive of the City of Tobolsk in the Tyumen Region.

6. Once you have located the records you would like to access, check the Digital Copy (Электронная копия) column, to determine if there are digital images available. If there are records available, the words there is (есть) will appear in that column.

7. To order records, click on the first icon in the Act (Действие). This is the Add to Shopping Cart (Добавить в корзину) button.

8. A box will appear with the price of the record. The archive currently (as of July 2021) charges a price of .5 rubles for each sheet/page in the collection.

9. To purchase a record, click on the shopping cart icon (в корзину).

10. When a record has been added to your cart, a number will appear in the shopping cart icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. To check out, click on the cart and then select Continue Checkout (Продолжить оформление заказа).

11. Follow the instructions on the screen. You can pay using a bank transfer or a card (you'll have to register for YooMoney (also known as Yandex Money)).

12. After you have successfully paid the archive, you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to the records. You can also access the records from the electronic archive itself, by navigating to the proper fond, opis, and delo and then clicking on the title of the delo. Keep in mind that you have only temporary access for a month after you have purchased them. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to research before purchasing records.

Reading Records[edit | edit source]

Metrical records for Tobolsk Gubernia were commonly written in Russian. For help with learning the handwritten alphabet and deciphering the handwriting see:

For free translation help, consider the FamilySearch Community - a place where you can get research and translation assistance. Be sure to place your translation request in the Russian Empire Genealogy Research Group.

Additional Research Assistance[edit | edit source]

Need additional research assistance with Tobolsk Gubernia metrical records? Get help through Virtual Genealogy Consultations, a free service provided by the Family History Library, or via the FamilySearch Community, an online research community hosted by FamilySearch.

  • To meet with a research specialist who can provide you with research assistance and next steps, schedule a free 20-minute consultation. To sign up for a consultation, see Virtual Genealogy Consultations.
  • To ask a question via the FamilySearch Community, an online forum where you can get free research assistance from the broader genealogical community, click here. Be sure to join the Russian Empire Genealogy Research Group!