- First step is to gather all available data from your parents and grandparents. Not only about them, but also if possible for earlier ancestors. If it is not convenient to obtain so much information, the most basic facts one should know about the ancestors are: date and place of birth; date and place of marriage; date and place of death and belonging to some structures from which data can be obtained (army, club, school etc.) As a result you should know the towns or villages (further : place) of birth, life and death of your grandparents.
- Second step: In Bulgaria you go to the District Archive (or District State Archive) [„Okryzhen (Dyrzhaven)Arhiv"] (see coding table), to which the locations belong. The District archives in Bulgaria stick to the former 28 Districts [sg. Okryg; pl. Okryzi] in which the country was divided. Every district had a capital [Okryzhen grad] in which archive should be located. Important ! In the middle 1980-ies the 28 Districts in Bulgaria were abandoned and the country was re-divided into 9 bigger units (each one containing group of districts) called Provinces [sg. Oblast; pl. Oblasti]. This have been made at the end years of the former communist regime for strengthening the administrative control. Anyway the former natural 28 District structure could not be brushed out so easy from the life of the people. Many things like the registration numbers of the cars, administrative institutions (including the district archives) etc. remained. In the near future (up to year 2000) that old 28 district division of Bulgaria will be restored again, therefor although I use the provinces for post addresses and for my maps - the ["oblasti"]are temporary administrative units. Each District (or bigger city) is further divided into Municipalities [sg. Obshtina, pl. Obshtini]. Anyway this is not relevant to the family investigation. Recently some data about the administrative division from Bulgarian Statistical Institute are available.
- Third step: You should ask in the District State archive for the „index of the funds" [„opis na fondovete"] and for the „tax registers" [„danychni registri"] , where you should see what documents (funds) exist for your place. For example - for certain village may exist „matrix books" - [„matrichni knigi"]. They are „book for births" [„kniga za razhdanijata"]; „book for marriages" [„kniga za brakosychetanijata"]; „book for deaths" [„kniga za smyrt"]. The tax registers themselves are additional source.
- Forth step: You go to the Mayor [kmet] of the place or to his Archive officer [delovoditel] and ask them to check the recent books of the municipality for your case. You can find unknown relatives in this way.
- Fifth step: For investigating the earlier times you can use Bulgarian National Library in Sofia. There is the Bulgarian Historical archive which contains the Regional archives. One can look in them. Especially useful for prominent persons. In the Orientalistic department of the Bulgarian National Library are kept Turkish Tax Archives from the time when Bulgaria was a part from the Ottoman Empire. Although far not complete - they can be useful.
At that point of searching you will know enough to shape it by your self!
Here is small dictionary of the words used in that capitol:
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This page updated: 29 November 2008 17:02
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