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I have just married my husband, who is Romanian, and I want to add his family to my family tree.

However, we do not know where to start because we cannot find a website that helps.

His father is from Sibiu, Gușterița and it is his fathers side we are looking for.

If anyone can help please give me an idea as to where to start our search?

  • Please note that, from our Help, something we have to be careful about is "You must not include here in any circumstances information (including name, date and place of birth or any other details) that would allow identification of any living (or possibly) living individual by somebody reading this site. In practice, this means details about anyone born in the last 100 years, whether they are believed to be deceased or not, and whether or not they have given their permission." – PolyGeo Sep 5 '14 at 2:44
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The good news is that Romanian archival records are, after many many years of being purposely made hard to research, finally open and available to the general public.

The bad news is that they're only usually open to the public after 100 years, due to privacy laws. And the awesome archivist/historian who started loosening the rules to make it easier for genealogists and researchers was fired by the newer and more left-wing Romanian government group that came into power about two years ago. So while the "open laws" are still there, you may want to act fast in case the now-liberalized laws get tightened again.

Practically nothing in the country has been microfilmed, not even by the intrepid genealogists in the LDS Church (the Mormons), who run FamilySearch.org, because the government was so closed off for so long, even after the nominal fall of communism. I hope this will change soon, but who knows…

So, you'll probably have to go to the local archives to do your research, or find someone in the country to go for you.

Romania has 41 little local branch archives, all over the country. They tend to correspond to modern province borders, but not exactly. For example, Baia Mare's archives in the northwestern part of Romania also carry some books for towns that were part of the old Maramaros megye (county), Hungary, but which are now in sub-Carpathian Ukraine. So it's kind of hard to figure out what is where, due to border changes. You might want to call ahead and talk to an archivist.

If the books are more than 100 years old (i.e. pre-1914), they should in theory be available for you to research in person. In practice, however, a lot of books from 1906-1914 have not been made available yet, for whatever reason.

You can look at five books per day per person, so if you bring a spouse or friend, you guys can look at ten books per day together. You may need to give the names of the books you want at least 24 hours ahead of time, though, so factor that into your planning for any trips.

The great part is that you can digitally photograph every page of the books, if you bring your own camera! You can also Xerox pages, but they charge a small fee per page.

The only restriction is that you cannot publish the actual images on the Internet or in a book. This is pretty stupid, because it's not like they own the copyright on 100+-year-old government records, but whatever.

Note that second copies of the vital records books were kept in local town halls, and some of them may still be there to this day. If a book is in the town hall, it's up to the local government people in the building whether or not you can see the pages, whether or not you can photograph the pages (or just transcribe with a pencil and paper), and what cut-off year they will let you inspect. That is, you may (unofficially) be able to see information from much later in the twentieth century than the local archives branches will allow.

  • Good answer (+1). I think that I've seen some references to official (probably, church) documents on one of the genealogy sites (don't remember which, though). I would appreciate, if you'd let me know, when/if you will see a solid proof that Romanian information is online (I'm a member of MyHeritage site, but at the present time my research is on hold). – Aleksandr Blekh Mar 15 '15 at 2:44
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    As of March 2015, there are still no Romanian vital records books that have been photographed and put online, not by the Romanian government, not by for-profit companies like Ancestry or MyHeritage, and not by any non-profit groups like FamilySearch either. The only records that have gone online anywhere, to my knowledge, are transcriptions of Romanian vital records, where the work was performed by volunteers and non-profit groups. Again, none of the actual images are online...yet. – Asparagirl Mar 16 '15 at 17:56
  • I see. Thank you for the update. Do you think that records about non-capital cities' residents might be in a central archive? I have a friend who works/lives in Bucharest - I thought that I could ask him to check the records, if it's not too difficult to find them. I not sure whether they allow non-relatives to request personal information due to privacy laws, though. – Aleksandr Blekh Mar 16 '15 at 23:45
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    I don't know what's in the Bucharest archives, sorry. As far as I know, all vital records (births/marriages/deaths) would be in the 41 little local branch archives, as long as they are more than 100 years old. Second copies of those vital records books might also be found in those individual towns' city halls, where you might be able to get access to them. But I have no idea what kinds of goodies, if anything, would be stored in Bucharest itself. – Asparagirl Mar 18 '15 at 0:31
  • OK, no problem. I will make requests, when I'll get a chance. Thank you for your advice. – Aleksandr Blekh Mar 18 '15 at 0:38
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Romanian vital records are stored in two types of institution:

  1. The Town Halls, for (usually) records younger than 100 years; and
  2. The National Archives, and churches, for (usually) records older than 100 years.

There is some mismatch and the cutoff date is not always respected.

Vital records are considered private information. Therefore, the only person who may apply for them is your husband. Start with his birth certificate. It should list his parents, their birth place and birth dates. He can then ask for their birth certificates, which would list their parents, and so on.

There are only two ways to apply from abroad:

  1. He can use the www.econsulat.ro portal to make a pre-application and appointment at your local Romanian Consulate. This is free, but takes literally years / months, and they do not take kindly on purely genealogical research; or
  2. He can go through a specialist like www.romaniandocuments.net

Once the 100-years barrier is breached, for older generations, inquiries may be made with the National Archives (www.arhivelenationale.ro), at the branch of the county where the looked-for person was born. If they have something, they will reply and indicated the fees and issue the document (although you may still need a Romanian address, and they only write in Romanian).

  • The request to State Archives of National Archive System of Romania can be made via e-mail on English. The only disadvantage that you need to confirm your identity, i.e. maybe you need notarial translation of your ID card and birth certificate of all persons, who made chain between you and whom about you made request – GEORG GAAL Jun 29 '17 at 11:57
  • Also, for example, there is public accessible lists of fonds of Maramaros County Archive - arhivelenationale.ro/images/custom/image/serban/… And one can learn that church records are kept into them describes time from 17xx years – GEORG GAAL Jun 29 '17 at 12:01

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