[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] SGGEE Volhynia database

Richard Stein ra_stein at telus.net
Fri Dec 2 13:38:03 PST 2011

This is an update on the availability of Evangelical (Lutheran) church records from Volhynia, in particular for the portion of Volhynia that became part of independent Poland after 1920, and of SGGEE's progress in indexing these records.  This is a complex subject and I give some background information first so that the explanations become clear - so please excuse the length of this report.

Most researchers with ties to Volhynia are familiar with the St. Petersburg Archive microfilms.  The Evangelical parishes in Volhynia were in the St. Petersburg Consistory and each year a duplicate copy of the church register books of baptisms, marriages, and deaths (BMD's) was sent to the administrative office in St. Petersburg.  These books are now in the St. Petersburg Archive.  Some years ago, LDS filmed the books up to 1885 and made them available on microfilm.  A group of people indexed the BMD's in the microfilms and published the data on the website http://www.odessa3.org/collections/stpete/  The data is for the parishes of Zhitomir, Rozyszcze, and Heimtal, the only ones existing in Volhynia in 1885.

When Poland became independent after the first world war, Volhynia was divided with the western half in Poland and the eastern half in Russia (or more accurately, the USSR).  At the end of the second world war, all of Volhynia was again in the USSR.  Of importance to us is that during the interwar period, Evangelical parishes in western Volhynia were administered from Warsaw.  As a result, many of the church register books ended up in the AGAD archive in Warsaw.  (AGAD stands for Archiwum Glówne Akt Dawnych or Central Archives of Historical Records).  Some of these books (only those older than 100 years in accordance with Polish law) were filmed by LDS and are available in the series of microfilms numbered 2380017 to 2380038.  For a list of these microfilms as well as the original St. Petersburg microfilms and the years covered by each one see http://www.sggee.org/research/parish and click on Lutheran Church Records in Volhynia, Kiev and Podolia.

For information about AGAD, see their website at http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl/  which has an English version.  The AGAD posts a complete inventory of their Evangelical (Lutheran) church records from the former Russian areas, including the west half of Volhynia, at http://www.agad.archiwa.gov.pl/pomoce/KsEA439.xml  The title of the site is Ksiegi metrykalne gmin wyznania ewangelicko-augsburskiego z zachodnich guberni Cesarstwa Rosyjskiego/(wschodnich woj. II Rzeczypospolitej) 1790 - 1940.  (English translation: Register books municipalities Lutheran religion of the western provinces of the Russian Empire / (eastern province. Second Republic), 1790-1940).  Included in their holdings but not on microfilm are some register books for Lutzk Parish (founded in 1899) and some kantorate registers from various locations in Rozyszcze parish and near Rowno, Tutschin, and Dubno.  AGAD will do limited searches and send digital scans upon request.  (There are also some church register books in archives in Ukraine in Lutzk, Rowno, and Zhitomir which unfortunately are not available on microfilm.)

Now we come to the SGGEE involvment in Volhynia BMD record indexing.  Several years ago, SGGEE obtained a copy of Odessa's original Volhynia index database and recast it for more flexible searching.  SGGEE has since indexed records from the adjacent Kiev and Podolia parishes and added them to the database.   This augmented database is now known as the VKP database (for Volhynia, Kiev, and Podolia).  It can be accessed at  http://www.sggee.org/research/PublicDatabases 
Following release of the AGAD microfilms, SGGEE started the Rozyszcze Indexing Project with the objective to index these records and add the data to the existing VKP database.  While the project name is Rozyszcze, the films include Wladimir-Wolynsk parish records from its inception in 1891 in addition to the Rozyszcze parish records starting 1862.  Note that certain years, notably 1865, 1871, and 1884, were missing from the St. Petersburg Archive microfilms and consequently from the Odessa index.  Therefore, the Rozyszcze Indexing Project is able to add the following to the VKP database:

     the years after 1885 for Rozyszcze parish (B to 1899, M&D to 1895)

     the missing years prior to 1885 for Rozyszcze parish

     confirmations for Rozyszcze parish (1862 to 1886)

     the early years for Wladimir-Wolynsk parish (B to 1895, M&D to 1894)

Note that the records are hand-written in German to the end of 1891 and thereafter in Russian cyrillic script.  A bonus for researchers is that marriage records contain full data, i.e., ages and birth places of the groom and bride and their parents' names, although this extra information is not added to the SGGEE VKP index in order to conform to the original format.  It is necessary to obtain the microfilm in order to view the full marriage records.  The duplicate marriage records sent to St. Petersburg were only lists of the names of the groom and bride and the date.

Status Report:  

The Rozyszcze Indexing Project is a work in progress being carried out by a team of dedicated volunteers.  The newly-indexed data is being added to the VKP database as it is completed.  As of today, indexing of the German language (prior to 1892) records has been completed and added to the VKP database.  All available Wladimir-Wolynsk records have been indexed and added to the database.  Still to be indexed are the Russian-language Rozyszcze parish births for years 1896-99 and deaths for years 1892-95.

Our three volunteers who worked on Russian records have given yeoman service but for various reasons are not able to continue.  THEREFORE, IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE INDEXING, WE NEED ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEERS WHO CAN READ RUSSIAN CYRILLIC SCRIPT.  IF YOU ARE ABLE TO HELP, PLEASE CONTACT Dick Stein at  ra_stein at telus.net

Thank you for reading this far.  I will be glad to answer any questions.

Dick Stein
Coordinator, Rozyszcze Indexing Project

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