Church Searches as Historical Sources in the Study of Marital Problems of the First Half of the 19th century
The research drew attention to the little-known historical sources of mass character – «search books». The emergence of such official documentation was primarily caused by changes in the execution of documents that began during the period of the elimination of Hetmanate autonomy of the second half of the 18th century, the use of Ukrainian language restrictions and the unification of Ukrainian paperwork in the general system of the Russian Empire. Power structures sought to regulate the institution of marriage with the help of marital (church) searches. Disclosing the history of the establishing of such church books, the author retraces the changes in their genre features during the first half of the 19th century, draws attention to the aggregate deeds that determined the content of the documentation, its archiving, touches upon marital and procedural peculiarities, analyzes the internal structure differences, external attributes, shows the existence of additional materials confirming the right of individuals to marry, defines promising directions of study and possible research traps. For the analysis of the identified sources, church books of the rural and urban populations of Poltava, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv provinces (gubernias) were taken.