Metric books. How to look for information in them

Search in metric books is most important for the period of the 60s. XIX – beginning of XX century. Since there are usually no family lists among documents of this time, metrics are the main source for studying the pedigree. In an earlier period, when the main information on the pedigree is taken from revision tales and confessional sheets, metric books play a supporting role: they are used to clarify the dates of birth, marriage and death of already known personalities, as well as to confirm kinship in difficult cases.

Work with metric books is structured as follows. First of all, it is necessary to determine the parish in which baptism could be performed. In rural areas, all villages were assigned to a particular parish. An address can usually help determine the arrival in a city. If you can’t accurately establish the parish, you need to look through the books for all possible options.

A search in metric books begins with a search for the birth record of an ancestor whose birth year is known. To do this, you need to look at the birth records of the parish church metric book for this year.

After the first records of your family have been identified, two options are possible: you can try, based on known dates, find a record of the marriage of your ancestor’s parents and then their birth, or study all the preserved metric books by writing out all the records for your interest surnames.

In the first case, the continuation of the search is associated with the identification of the marriage record. To find out which year you need to watch books, you need to focus on the date of birth of the oldest child and look at records for the same year and several previous ones. For example, if you know that your grandfather’s elder brother was born in 1898, you need to look at books for 1898, 1897 and 1896. After you identify the marriage record that shows the age, you need to look at metric books for the year of birth of the next ancestor, and several neighboring ones. For example, if a marriage record for 1897 indicates that your great-great-grandfather was 20 years old, you need to look at metric books for 1877, as well as 1876.

This is the most common method of working with metric books. Its significant drawback is that in the absence of one of the links (for example, in the absence of metric books due to incomplete preservation, entries in them or inaccurate source data) the whole chain is broken.

Our recommended method of working with metric books, which can provide the most complete information on the history of the studied family, is based on a full view of the entire preserved array of metric books for the desired parish (as well as, if necessary, for neighboring ones). This method allows in the absence of one of the necessary books to build a family tree, based on information about brothers and sisters. For example, if the metrics for 1877 – 1878. absent, but in the book of 1881 there is a record of the birth of the brother of your great-great-grandfather, this allows us to establish the parents of the great-great-grandfather and continue to study the genealogy inland. A full review of the entire array of metric books also allows you to establish the full composition of the family of your ancestors, find their relatives and find out how wide your family was at one time or another.


Good luck in finding.