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Catholic Baptismal Records in Russian

Updated: Apr 5

If your ancestors were from Latgale Region, they were probably Roman Catholic. Earlier Catholic church books were written in Polish, but after 1848, in Russian.

Skaistkalne Catholic Church in Latvia
Skaistkalne Catholic Church. Photography by Ints Lūsis

The other religions popular in Latgale were the Old Believers (Russians) and Jewish. There were also some Catholic communities in Kurzeme Region.

To find a baptismal register in Raduraksti, you must know the name of the parish and the deanery. Unlike Lutheran church books, Catholic books are not published for each parish separately.  Several parishes are found in one book – that of the relevant deanery.

I always use the list of historical deaneries of Latvia created by

Below is an example of a legible handwriting that can be used to understand the standard form of a Catholic baptismal record. It is from Kraslava Roman Catholic parish that can be found on Raduraksti website under the Deanery of Augšdaugavpils.

​Below you can see the most important family history information in yellow. The example shows:

  • date of birth and baptism are in the two left-hand columns, but the month is in the middle column;

  • name of the child;

  • names of the parents; and

  • the village where the child was born, to be found at the end of the text in middle column. 

What is so wonderful about Catholic church records, is that they always give the maiden name of the mother, which is not always the case in Lutheran records. However, the names are often changed or russianised and hard to recognise for those who do not know Russian and Latvian.

For example, the Latvian surname Caune, for a female, may appear as Caunyevna or Cavnyevna.

Godparents are also, often, but not always, relatives just as in Lutheran baptisms.

Example of Catholic Baptismal Record in Russian

Below is a transcript of Russian handwriting.

Catholic Baptismal in Russian with Transcript

Finally, below is the English translation. The translation is word for word and may not be correct English.

English Translation of Catholic Baptismal record



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