The Archival catalogue was launched in November 2018 as a platform for creating a central electronic catalogue of church registers and other archival documents, which represent first-class material for the research of ancestry and genealogy.
The idea for this project appeared at the beginning of 2017, and was initially aimed at the project of digitization of church registers and church censuses for Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Romania and North Macedonia, based on the already digitized registers of Serbian Orthodox parishes in Croatia and Hungary.
Since it was soon realized that this is an overambitious project, primarily because the mentioned material is not systematically archived, but is located in different places and institutions, and because of the huge number of items (tens of thousands of registers and lists) which should be digitized, it was decided to start a smaller project – creation of an electronic catalogue of special archives.
In the period of three years, more than 14,000 church registers were imported. The largest number of entries are from Croatian archives (more than 11,000), and a smaller number are from archives in Serbia (close to 3,000). In addition to the inventory of church archival materials, in parallel, work began on collecting metadata for other types of materials, which also proved to be very valuable in the search for ancestors. These are primarily various censuses conducted by the civil and military authorities of the countries that existed in the areas where Serbs live.
Although the emphasis is on collecting data for archival material related to Serbs, the catalogue will certainly include data on material related to other nations with which Serbian people live or have lived.
At this moment the Archival catalogue is searchable only in Serbian Cyrillic and provides an overview of various parameters, of which the most important for researchers are data on the name of the archival material, year or period to which the material refers, place of storage, inventory number, and data on the status of material in terms of whether it’s digitized, microfilmed or available exclusively in manuscript.
The archival catalogue contains the registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths, ottoman defters, household censuses, population censuses, marriage exam records, military documents and, in general, all materials that may be important for genealogical research.
The Archival catalogue is freely available.