Pre-Immigration Records from Bukovina

For many years our family had given up on finding records of ancestors predecessors from the village of Mamornitza in Bukovina (now in Ukraine) and the surrounding villages. We believed that the records had not survived. However, in recent years this turned out to be an illusion and finding the Andrusiak ancestors and other relatives proved to be relatively simple, if tedious. Mamornitza and nearby villages of Lukavitza, Kotul Bainski, are only a few kilometers apart and about 15 kilometres southeast of the town of Chernivitza in the province of Bukovina.

Bukovina is one of two provinces we usually associate with being Ukrainian. The other was the larger province of Galicia. Most districts in these provinces have larger cities such as Chernivitza which were located in areas known by the same name as the city. This can be confusing for the genealogist who may not be sure whether their ancestor came from a village in the district or from the city with the same name as the district.

Why were the records collected and how did they survive?

Bukovina was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1775-1918. The Austrian government required by law that civil records be kept for all births, marriages and deaths. It appears that civil clerks transcribed the church records and stored them in civil archives. However, the uniform record keeping did not begin at the same time all over the empire.

In the case of the records from Mamornitza and the villages of Bukovina, the records are transcripts from the Orthodox Church which was the religion of the area. For a few of the villages the original church records survived but they have the same information as the transcripts. The records cover approximately 1840-1919 but not all records for all villages or all years are available.

The records from these villages have survived the Russian Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, Leninism, the Holodomor (the man-made Ukrainian famine of the 1930s), Stalinism, Communism and the Cold War, as well as general decay. It is not clear whether the records have been in the archive in Chernivitza all this time.

An article available in the Family History Library Catalogue entitled Northern Bukovina Parish Registers says:
It would appear that the records were gathered into the civil registration system though it is not clear when. They were transferred to the archive from the civil registration office in groups of records. The first transfer occurred in 1983. The rule of thumb is that volumes are transferred when 75 years has passed since the last year in a volume. However, it would appear that this rule has been relaxed because records are being acquired through 1945. It is assumed that Soviet civil registration replaced Austrian/Romanian church registration around that year.”

To what do we owe being able to see the records today?

In 2003 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) began microfilming the records held at the Archive in Chernivitza and now makes them available for anyone to view. Genealogists benefit from the considerable financial and human investment that the group has made into their project.

The Mormon originals of the microfilms are kept in an underground mountain vault in Utah. Arrangements can be made to have a copy of a microfilm brought to one of 3500 Family History Center locations worldwide by ordering films online at There is a small shipping fee. The film can then be viewed at the nearest Center.

Delving into our family’s records

The research in the vital records from Mamornitza and Lukavitza and vicinity has been done by Virginia (Andrusiak) Holden and Frances (Toews) Andrusiak. The genealogy of the Andrusiak and Pohaichuk-Shepit families have been reconstructed almost back to 1800 using the amazing images in these records.

For information on the records or microfilmed images for Mamornitza and Lukavitza please contact F. Andrusiak for more information