Genealogy of the clergy

While studying the genealogy of your family, you found that one of your ancestors was a clergyman. You remembered how a grandmother told a priest about her grandfather. How to find out and find information about your ancestors clergy?

Until 1917, priests belonged to an enlightened and privileged estate. Most often, children and grandchildren of clergymen took priesthood. The history of the clan of the clergyman can be restored quite accurately. Although there are nuances. After all, the priest could serve in several parishes if he was transferred to the service.

On the one hand, it’s easy to study the kind of priests, but if you look on the other hand: firstly, the clergy moved from place to place, and the priests took names to their taste, invented sophisticated names for themselves – Hyacinths, Almazov, Severozapad… as a rule, their names were associated with church holidays and icons – the Pobedonostsevs, Kazantsevs, Tikhvinsky, Popovs, Subbotins. Such surnames are a clear priestly estate, which means that priests must be sought in the family. Even priests very often changed their surnames: and if several sons went to priests, each of them could take his surname, this complicates the search for ancestors.

Here are links to clergy history funds that may contain metric books.

  • The Chancellery of the Synod (f. 796) contains an extensive array of documents that can be useful in relation to genealogy in two aspects: when searching for information about persons of a clergy rank (although this information is usually already known from clerical records or other sources ) and divorce cases (which were very rare among the taxable population, but because this massif is attracted only if it is known that someone was divorced).
  • Spiritual rule under the Protopresbyter of the military and naval clergy of the Synod (f. 806). Protopresbyter managed all the churches of the military and naval departments, therefore, this fund stores metric books and confessional sheets of regimental and naval churches, as well as clerical sheets and track records of regimental priests.
  • Department of Spiritual Affairs of Foreign Confessions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (f. 821), Roman Catholic Theological Collegium of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (f. 822), Office of the Metropolitans of Greek-Uniate Churches (f. 823), Belarusian-Lithuanian Theological Collegium of the Synod (f. 824), Office of the Metropolitan of the Roman Catholic Churches in Russia (f. 826) – may contain useful information on the history of churches and clergymen of non-Orthodox faith. Of particular note is the Fund of the General Evangelical Lutheran Consistory of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (f. 828), which stores metric books and divorce cases of Lutherans. The metric books stored in the RGIA apply only to the St. Petersburg Consistorial District (which included the parishes of the provinces of North-West Russia – St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Olonets, Arkhangelsk, Pskov, Smolensk, as well as a number of southern ones: Chernigov, Poltava, Kiev, Podolsk, Volyn, Bessarabian, Kherson, Yekaterinoslav, Taurida) and cover the period until 1885. Later cases may be in the regional archives, as well as some Lutheran metric books of the early XX century. are available at TsGIA SPb.

Good luck in finding.