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Vital Records Tour -
Examples of the Cyrillic Alphabet:
Church Slavic, Ukrainian and Russian


The region of Galicia/Halychyna was acquired by the Austrian Empire in 1772 during the First Partition of Poland.  Before the Austrian period, Greek Catholic records were kept in Latin or in a language called Church Slavic (Church Slavonic in Canada and the United Kingdom).  A South Slavic language, Church Slavic was adopted from Old Church Slavic and the local vernacular, and written in the Cyrillic alphabet.  This language was used in the Eastern Christian churches, as in Greek Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, for liturgical and scholarly purposes, and was not used for conversation by the average person.  In this way, it is similar to the use of Latin in Western culture in the same time period.  Church Slavic is still used in some of the liturgy in today's Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches. 

The vital records during the pre-partitioned Polish Kingdom were usually kept in paragraph or column format.  (Roman Catholic records during this period were also kept in the same manner but in the Latin language, and not Church Slavic.)

Church Slavic is a difficult language to read, even to someone familiar with modern-day Cyrillic alphabets of Ukrainian and Russian.  The greatest challenges are the abundance of abbreviations, superscripts and diacritical markings to show stress, breathings and types of vowels, as well as letters in the form of superscripts "floating" above the words. 

Visit my pages on Church Slavic Vital Records for more detailed information.


The Kingdom of Poland Period (pre-1772)


Church Slavic Birth Record


from the Greek Catholic parish of Bilyi Kamin'


Roku Bzhiia 1774: mtsa anuariia dnia 30.
Az" iere Iwan Buchkovski Prezvyter" Belokamenetski okrestykh" i myrom" s<abbr. sviatym"> pomazakh" mldtsa <abbr. mladentsa> Feodora ot rodytele <rodytelei> zakonno venchannykh" Romana prozvyskom Ksasnyts" ot matery Anastasiy Kmotry bysha Hryhor " prozvyskom" Chuchman" i Tatiiana Iiakova Chchmana zhena v Pochape. 

Year of the Lord 1774, month of January, day 30.
I the priest Ivan Buchkovski priest of Belyi Kamin baptized and with holy myrrh anointed the young boy Feodor of the lawfully married parents Roman with the last name Kzasnyts and of the mother Anastasiia Godparents were Hryhory with the last name Chuchman and Tatianna wife of Iakov Chuchman from Pochapy.


Click here for a complete line-by-line explanation of this birth record.


Church Slavic Marriage Record


from the Greek Catholic parish of Bilyi Kamin'


Roku bozhiia 1774 mctsia maia dnia 11
Az" I (Ierei) Ioan" Buchkovsii P(Presbyter") B(Biloho Kamnia) vinchakh" y sochetakh" mdtsa(mladentsa)
Aleksandra Tatarynovoho sna(syna) s pannoiu na imia Feodosyeiu atsorkoiu
Feodora Tataryna, Svidytelie bysha Stefan" Pylypiak",
i Dymytyi Konashevych"

Year of the Lord 1774. Month of May. Day 11
I, the priest, Ivan Buchkovsky P(resbyter) of B(of Bilyi Kamin') crowned (wedded) and joined the man (unmarried)
Aleksander of the son of Tatarynov with the single woman (maiden) named Feodosiia daugher
of Feodor Tataryn, Witnesses were Stefan Pylypiak
and Dmytro Konashevych 


Click here for a complete line-by-line explanation of this marriage record.



The Austrian Period (1772 - 1918)


In 1772, the Austrian Empire, along with the Russian and Prussian Empires, sought an opportunity to seize land from a weak Polish Kingdom.  Each of the three empires carved up the Polish Kingdom three times (called the Polish Partitions.  The first in 1772, the Second in 1793, and the Third in 1795, which resulted in an independent Poland ceasing to exist). 


Early Transition

In 1784, the Austrian Empire put forth rules and regulations regarding vital record keeping.  The transition to these new Austrian record keeping rules (in Latin with column format) varied from place to place over a period of time.   In this example below, the priest has begun using the column format with Latin headings, but still continued to write in the Church Slavic language.  (Note that he includes the year in Arabic numerals ("1787") and month ("Februar", for "February") in Latin along side the Church Slavic.)



from the Greek Catholic parish of Bilyi Kamin'


  Nomen Catholica Accatholica Puer Puella Illegitimi Legitimi Parens Mater Nomen
Roku Bzhiia 1787.                             1787
22 Semeon"
sn" Boshniakiv"
Kvasnyts   +

Stykovska   +

 Month (Date) (House No.) Name Catholic Non-Catholic Boy Girl Illegitimate Legitimate Parent Mother (Godparents') Names
Year of the Lord 1787.                      1787
February 3 22 Semen
son of Boshniaks
resident of Ushnia
Anna (of the) Grabovsky's Andrei Kvasnyts  +

Maryna Stykovska   +


Standard Latin Column Format


According to the rules and regulations of record keeping in the Austrian Empire, vital records were to be recorded in the Latin language, the lingua franca of the Catholic Church.    You'll also find quite a bit of Polish, which was the predominate administrative and educational language of the region.  However, you can also find some Ukrainian in the Greek Catholic records, a sign of the growing nationalism.  The educated Greek Catholic clergy was the main strength behind the Ukrainian national movement of the middle to late 19th Century.

Although only a minority of the records will include Ukrainian, I strongly urge anyone researching Ukrainian and/or Greek Catholic roots to at least be familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, in which the Ukrainian language has historically been written.  (There was a short-lived movement by Polish and polonized Ukrainian scholars to adopt the Polish orthography/spelling rules to the Ukrainian language.  But the Ukrainian language had been using some form of the Cyrillic alphabet as far back as the 10th Century!)


In some cases, the Greek Catholic priest included the Ukrainian first name along with the Latin.  (Click on the image to view the entire page.)

from the village of Cheremoshnia, Greek Catholic parish of Bilyi Kamin, 1891.



In some cases, the entire record was recorded in Cyrillic, in either Ukrainian and/or a mix of Ukrainian, Russian and Church Slavic.  Here are samples of a birth, marriage and death record in Ukrainian. 

Each of these records come from the village of Budkiv, the Greek Catholic parish of Pidmanastyr (Podmanastyr).

Birth / Baptism

Extract <here "Copy" as in "Bishop's Copy">

From the Book of Births from the <Greek Catholic> church of the village of Budkiv for the year 1854, Volume II, page 58.

Date House Number Name Religion Sex Status Parents Godparents
of Birth of Baptism Catholic Boy Name Occupation Name Occupation
Іануарій 13/25 42 Павло правил Феодоръ Застадній й Варвара Петра й Ксеній Копитко ролниковъ зъ Будковa дочкa. Ролники въ Будковђ. Іацко Каніуко

Агафђа Николая Котетка жена
Ролнікі въ Будковђ
42 Pavlo pravyl. Feodor Zastadnii i Varvara Petra i Ksenii Kopytko rolnikov z Budkova dochka. Rolniki v Budkove. Iatsko Kaniuko
Ahafea Nykolaia Kotetka zhena
Rolniki v Budkove
42 Pavlo legal (legitimate) Feodor Zastadnii and Varvara daughter of Petro and Ksenia Kopytko, farmers from Budkiv. Farmers in Budkiv. Iatsko Kaniuko

Ahafea Kotetka, wife of Nykolai
Farmers in Budkiv




from the Book of Marriages of the <Greek Catholic> Budkiv church, Volume I, page 53 for the solar year 1853


Date Groom Bride Witnesses
House No. Name Catholic Age Widower Name Catholic Age Single Name Occupation
27 Іан.
8 Лут.
56 Филипъ Зaкунъ синъ Пaвлa й Пaрaскевій Закунъ ролниковъ зъ Будковa 44 Анaстaзия Пердaлa, дочкa Вaсилия и Евки Пердaловъ, ролниковъ зъ Будковa. 42 Вaсилій Пердала

Василій Кіернђцкій
Ролніке зъ Будковa

зъ П
56 Fylyp Zakun syn Pavla i Paraskevii Zakun rolnikov z Budkova 44 Anastazyia Perdala, dochka Vasylyia i Evky Perdalov, rolnykov z Budkova. 42 Vasylii Perdala

Vasylii Kiernetskii
Rolnike z Budkova

z Pidmanastyra
56 Fylyp Zakun son of Pavlo and Paraskevia Zakun, farmers from Budkiv 44 Anastazyia Perdala, daughter of Vasylii and Evka Perdala, farmers from Budkiv 42 Vasylii Perdala

Vasylii Kiernetskii
Farmers from Budkiv

from Pidmanastyr




Extract <here Copy, as in "bishop's copy">

From the Book of Deaths of the <Greek Catholic> church in Podmanastyr <Pidmanastyr> for the year 1854, Volume III, page 10.


Date of death

House No.

Name of deceased




Cause of Death



54 Симеонъ Горошко ролникъ въ Подмaнaстиру.     63 Звичaйнa
  Symeon Horoshko, rolnyk v Podmanastyru       Zvychaina
of death
of burial
  Symeon Horoshko, farmer in Podmanastyr <Pidmanastyr>       Usual            Questions and Comments to Matthew Bielawa
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