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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Religious Records  by Brenda Dougall Merriman, CG, CGL. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Contents

Baptismal Records

The three most commonly-used genealogical church records are baptisms, marriages, and burials, often mislabelled ‘BMDs’. Baptismal records are not birth records, but they are close enough in many instances that we can use them as birth substitutes if no birth record exists.

History

To begin, it is necessary to understand what baptism is in theological terms, how it evolved through history and how different denominations looked at it.

Baptism was one of the earliest sacraments of the Christian church, established to symbolize the washing away of sin through Christ’s death and the entry into membership in Christ’s church by the individual who was baptized. The sacrament had its origin in the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as recorded in Matthew 3:12-17. The direct connection between being baptized as Christ was, and joining his church, accounts for the alternate name for baptism which is christening.

By the ninth century, the form and idea of baptism had been clearly established, and it continued until the Reformation. The child who was baptized was seen as saved by Christ’s example, and the unbaptized was not saved and hence could not enter heaven. This idea was of vital importance in people’s attitudes to baptism and its practice. Since the child could not make the baptismal vows itself, others had to do so on its behalf. Parents were prohibited from acting in this way, so sponsors or godparents took this role. They were never family members and there were usually three, two of the same sex as the child and one of the other. The importance of the act of baptism is indicated by the fact that it could not be repeated.

Since baptism was so necessary for salvation, infants were usually brought to church quickly, within a few weeks of birth, or even days in some countries. A child whose life was in danger had to be baptized quickly, lest it die and be relegated to damnation. Since a priest was not always present, the church decreed that any responsible person could baptize the child, providing they used the standard trinitarian formula.[1] This non-clerical baptism was valid, but the child had to be brought to church as soon as convenient for an acknowledgment of the act, either by the bishop or by the priest at a public service. If there was some doubt about the form used, the church also instituted ‘conditional baptism’ in which the priest used the trinitarian formula preceded by the words “if thou are not already baptized.” The sacrament was very elaborate, involving a ceremony which began at the church door and continued by the font inside the church, and in which the child was sprinkled with water (aspersion), anointed with oil, touched with saliva and clay, dressed in a white robe and given a candle.

At the time of the Reformation, almost all the reformers had their own ideas about the nature of baptism and the validity of the form then in use by the Roman Catholic Church. At the Council of Trent, at which the Church tried to deal with the various questions raised by the reformers, the idea of ‘one baptism forever’ was confirmed, both emergency and conditional baptism likewise, but the number of sponsors was reduced to two (even one was acceptable).

Martin Luther retained the view of baptism as an act of salvation, brought through faith. It is the sponsors’ faith which speaks for the child, and who promise to see the child is raised in the proper religious fashion. Luther did away with conditional baptism, and the prohibition against blood relatives being godparents was removed. Gradually over the next three centuries the restrictions about who could be a godparent fell away in all denominations.

Church of England (Anglicans)

The Church of England (Anglicans) did not vary considerably from the Roman Catholics, and the Book of Common Prayer even emphasized that “Infants should be brought to the font as early as possible.” The anointing with holy oil, or chrism, was of such importance for the first two centuries after the Reformation in the Church of England, recently-baptized children were referred to as 'Chris's'; burials of such infants in 17th century registers often omit the name and refer to the child simply as ‘a charms of John Smith’ giving the father’s name.

The Anglicans retained three godparents until the revision of the prayer book in 1661, when it went to two as well. Parents were still forbidden to be their own child’s godparents until 1865. Gradually a resumption of the custom of three godparents grew also. At a Manitoba christening in 1974 at which there were only two godparents, the Anglo-Catholic mother of the child shamefacedly said that she knew there ‘should’ be three. This is a matter of English Anglo-Catholic practice and not theology, however. In some instances, royal christenings for example, there can be half a dozen sponsors or more. The practice has become so loosely-defined that local or family custom seems to determine the role and number of godparents.

Methodist

When the Methodist movement began as an outgrowth of the Church of England in the 18th century, one of their basic tenets was that baptism was not the act of salvation but a sign of a regeneration which was already taking place through God’s grace. This moved the importance of baptism somewhat down the ladder. De-emphasizing the role of baptism in the Methodist church would have great effects on Canadian practices, and hence church records.

Reformed Churches

The Reformed churches, which included Presbyterianism, the Dutch and German Reformed movements, made an even greater change. For them, baptism was merely symbolic, an indication of a salvation which had already happened or would happen. The ideas of emergency or conditional baptism were discarded as irrelevant. The baptismal vows taken on the child’s behalf were made by the parents, with the sponsors acting as witnesses only.

Anabaptists

For the Anabaptists (Baptists, Mennonites, Amish, Tunkers), the idea of infant baptism was wrong. They said there was no scriptural basis for it, and instead instituted ‘believer’s baptism’ in which a person of years of discretion would make their own decision to apply for baptism based on their beliefs and experiences.

Later History

As for the ceremony itself, even the denominations which retained a close theological idea of baptism with the Catholics simplified it. The essential part of it, aspersion with water, remained, while the touching with saliva and clay disappeared. Some of the Anabaptists replaced aspersion with immersion, the dipping of the whole body into the water.

Some chose to do this backwards, some forwards and some specified a flowing stream to symbolize the washing away of sin. The Tunkers required immersion three times. The immersion of the body completely in the water, for some, also symbolized lowering into the grave, ‘dying into the life of Christ.’

Society of Friends (Quakers)

One group, the Society of Friends or Quakers, dispensed with baptism completely. They did away with almost all the trappings of church life as it had been known, including all the sacraments, vestments, even the clergy and the church buildings. However, they did begin, almost immediately, registering the births of new member of the congregation, which is fortunate for genealogists.

Who Could Be Baptized?

One vital issue which every genealogist must understand is the attitude of various denominations to eligibility for baptism. If a clergyman was approached by parents with a child, would he perform the baptism without demur, would he insist on some conditions, or might he refuse to do it at all?

The groups which saw baptism as an act of salvation for the child could not, legitimately, turn anyone away. To do so would put the child’s immortal soul at risk and they would not consider it. So, no matter what the status of the parents or the child, they were taken to the font and the sacrament performed.

This applied to the Roman Catholic church, the Lutherans (despite their feeling that baptism was a sign, not the act of salvation) and particularly the Anglican clergy. Actions of Anglican priests were legislated by the English Parliament, and one law stated that priests could not turn away anyone asking for baptism.

The Reformed churches saw things quite differently. If a parent were to take the baptismal vows on behalf of a child, then that parent had to be able to prove they were worthy to do so. Some denominations required them to be members of the church, others merely asked them questions to ensure their seriousness. The Moravian point of view, which might well have been reflected in the minds of others, was that the church shared responsibility with the parents for the spiritual teaching of the child. If the parents were not members of the church, then the church could not ensure its role could be fulfilled, and so would decline to become involved.

This last idea, that clergy could choose which children to christen and which to turn away, caused a great deal of grief and conflict in Canada. People who had grown up in Britain with its established customs of automatically taking your child to church for baptism found the difficult attitudes of missionary clergy off-putting. If their view was that the unbaptized child was in spiritual danger, the action of such clergy would be very alarming. Given that there may not have been many clergy available for the baptism, the situation might cause parents considerable anguish.

Here is an example from early Ontario. A Presbyterian minister was riding between towns when:

I was accosted by David McKenzie a man whose face I did not recollect ever to have seen who said that he had a child to baptize. I said to him that it was true that I had baptized Neil Ross’ child but that I had since entertained serious doubts of the propriety of having done so. That according to our formalities we were not allowed to dispense ordinances to those who were not church members and that he had better wait a little.

He immediately got into a towering passion. Said he wd. not wait—that he wd. get it done elsewhere—that at home children were baptized when 8 days old and that he cd. not think of waiting—that our rules were a great deal too strict—and that he saw but little prospect of having a church established on that road. I replied that if the principles by which we were regulated were too strict and required modification it was not for me or for any other individual minister to set them aside altogether, &c. &c. He turned away and went off as he said to stop his wife whom he said was on the road [i.e., on her way for the baptism].[2]

Another Presbyterian, William Proudfoot, not only refused baptism but was then angry that the family took the infant elsewhere. William Bell, the first clergyman in Perth, Ontario, once found a couple with an infant at his door on a winter’s night. The child’s parents were both ill, and the godparents feared for the child’s life also. Bell referred to such unexpected supplicants as ‘ignorant and immoral,’ and refused to perform the baptism. They took the baby to a nearby Roman Catholic priest who did christen the child. The baby and its father died shortly thereafter.[3]

A genealogist looking for information about this family would probably not be searching in the local Roman Catholic records, but if they did, they would find an unexpected baptism. Not knowing the circumstances, they might be puzzled about the apostasy of a family previously completely Protestant.

If we are looking for baptisms and do not find them where expected, one reason may be theological differences between the clergy and an ancestral family.


What Will The Records Tell Us?

Exactly what information can we expect to find in a baptismal record, and what can we do with it?

These are the common elements in a straightforward baptism record: name of the child, name of parents, date of baptism, name of clergyman. Other elements may be included: date of birth of child, mother’s maiden name, place of residence of parents, and place of birth of child, father’s occupation, names of sponsors/witnesses/godparents, place of baptism. This last element will be significant in the case of traveling missionary records.

Occasionally we will find that some records are more informative than others. For instance, it is not uncommon in Lutheran records to find a reference to the homeland origins of immigrant parents.

If the clergy is using a plain record book (sheets of paper, often unruled), it is likely they will include only the minimum information. By mid-19th century, most denominations provided books of forms for the recording of baptisms as well as marriages, and this will mean that most of the vital bits of information will be included.

Examples of What Records Can Tell Us

Presbyterian

At Grand View Presbyterian Church in Manitoba, the form for baptisms in use 1903-1906 is spread across two pages, with space for: name, parents’ name, quality, trade or profession [of father, implied], abode, day of birth, date of baptism, sponsors, officiating minister. The use of the terms ‘quality, trade or abode’ indicate this book of forms originated in Britain as ‘quality’ in particular would have no real meaning on the prairies, even at the turn of the 20th century. The parents’ full names are given, including the mother’s maiden name.

The minister has stroked out ‘Sponsors’ and replaced it with ‘Remarks.’ This indicates the low status of godparents at this juncture. In fact the remarks column is used only once throughout the book, in a note to the baptism of Mary Ellen Cruckshanks on 24 May 1904. She was the daughter of William Cruckshanks and Catherine Hume, and the ‘remarks’ column notes that Mrs. Cruckshanks died on 5 June 1904, the note having been added later. The unusual spelling of this name may be correct, or may be a mistake of the clergyman.[4]

Anglican

At St. George’s Anglican Church in Harriston, Ontario, the earliest records begin in 1858. The form used has space for the following: birthdate, baptismal date, name, parents’ names, residence, occupation [of father, implied], clergyman.

The first priest, John Smithurst, punctiliously fills in most of the columns. The parents’ names are given in the form ‘Andrew and Jane Catto,’ without the mother’s maiden name. The residence, unusually, is often exact, with lot and concession number. In May 1858 there is an illegitimate child, but there is no comment beyond the omission of the father’s name.

Archibald and Sarah Harrison bring three children for baptism on 2 April 1858:

    William
          born March 1845
    Mary
          birthdate omitted
    Charlotte
          birthdate omitted


It is possible that the Harrisons had had no earlier opportunity to baptize their children, since the Anglican missionary serving this area lived far away at Milton when the babies were born, and came there only rarely. It was not unusual for parents to bring a number of children for baptism at the same time, either through their own neglect or lack of opportunity previously. In this case, as with Mary and Charlotte above, the baptismal record is of no use as a birth-replacement for genealogical purposes, unless the birthdate itself is also recorded at the time of baptism. Often this is not done. In the case of Mary and Charlotte, the genealogical researcher will still record the date of baptism but with a note that some other source, such as the census, will need to be used for a more accurate birth year.

In March of 1865, Noah Bullock of Clifford brought a family of children for baptism:

Charles Noah
born 1 January 1854
baptized at Paris
Frank
born 13 November 1856
baptized March 1865
Mary
born 27 January 1859
baptized March 1865
Frederic
born 18 July 1861
baptized March 1865
Clifford
born 20 March 1864
baptized March 1865


This record is interesting for several reasons. First, Smithurst has not recorded the accurate date of baptism, only the month. He has all the exact birthdates of the children. He has not baptized Charles Noah because this baby was baptized already, at Paris, and as we know, baptism cannot be done twice. (This earlier baptism at Paris, is, of course, an indication of where the family lived before coming to Minto township.) Finally only Mr. Bullock’s name is included, not Mrs. Bullock. Often clergy were unaware of a woman’s name except as ‘Mrs.’, a real loss for researchers. The peculiar omissions in this record may indicate that Smithurst baptized the children elsewhere and did not have the full information at his fingertips when he filled in the register.

There are no baptisms from 1867 to 1870, probably indicating the absence of a priest in this charge. In 1870, Arthur Boultbee takes over, and in the next eighteen months performs about fifty baptisms. Of these, only two contain a full birthdate, although most have a birth year (perhaps approximate). There are a number of other blanks, including parents’ names, fathers’ occupations, dates of baptism for four children of Frederick and Mary Anne Reeves in the fall of 1871, and even the name of the baptized child in three instances. These are all probable indications that Boultbee filled in the register at sometime later than the baptism itself, perhaps from notes made at the time, or from memory.[5] As evidence, his records are weak.

Roman Catholic (three examples)

The printed versions of the baptismal records (baptêmes) for Notre-Dame-de-Québec indicate that the following pieces of information are supplied in the early 18th century: name, birthdate, baptismal date, father’s name and occupation, mother’s name, names of godparents, name of priest performing the rite. In addition to this we learn the sex of each person, residence and occupation of the godfather, and in every case whether they were present at the time.

So, at the christening of Charles Régis Hubert (born 21 July 1721, baptized same day) by Fr Boullard at Note-Dame there were present his father, René Hubert, géolier, premier huissier au Conseil supérieur; his mother, Marie Angélique Favron, godfather Charles Guillimin, merchant of this parish, godmother Marie Cécile Gosselin. The relationships between the parents and child are all spelled out clearly. If others involved are also relatives, this is also stated; the entry following, for Pierre Ignace Mariechaux indicates that the godparents, François Mariechaux and Marie Angélique Mariechaux, are his brother and sister.

To look at an example from later in the 18th century, the printed version of the baptisms at Saint-Joseph-de-Deschambault in 1761 show Marie-Elisabeth Maranda, born 5 November 1761, was baptized the same day, daughter of Baptiste Maranda and Marie Anne Cloutier, godparents Antoine Bélisle and Marie Elisabeth Sainsenne. Marie-Elisabeth and her parents are ‘of this parish’ and once again the sex of each is given and whether they are present. The officiating priest’s name is omitted and there are no messages about the relationships among the group. This baptism record, while certainly full, contains less information than the older one.[6]

A third Roman Catholic example in modern records can be found in the registers of Saint-Alphonse-de-Liguori at Hawkesbury, Ontario. These now state simply the name of the child, parents’ names, dates of birth and baptism and names of godparents (always two, one of each sex).[7]

Lutheran

Lutheran Church records.jpg

First, Lutheran records, we are reminded, are often in German in earlier years (which may include up to World War I), and if so, will be in the Gothic hand which was usual in Germany at that time.[8] In this example of a baptism (Tauf), the handwriting is particularly cursive and so difficult to read. However, the pastor has written the names in a more English format and most of the genealogical information should be accessible even for non-German speakers.

Augusta Anna Radtke, daughter of Wilhelm Radtke and Wilhelmina Dobrung was born 15 August 1886 and baptized two days later on 17 August. She had three godparents, George Schallhorn and his wife Augusta and Augusta Radtke. The little girl bears the name of her two godmothers. The pastor is Peter Andres.

When recording this item in the family history, researchers should point out, as I have here, that Augusta bears the name of her two godmothers. Do not leave this interpretation to the non-genealogical reader, for, while it may seem obvious to genealogists who are used to interpreting such documents, it will not to others, and it is an interesting point.

The record above Augusta’s shows only two godparents, while the one below once again has three. This pattern continues in the pages near this entry, some having two and some three. By the late 1890s, when a printed book of forms is being used, there are usually only two godparents.[9]


What Difficulties do Baptismal Records Present to Researchers?

Since genealogists use baptismal records first as birth records (or near-birth records), the obvious difficulties arise if the baby has not been baptized soon after birth. There is no way for researchers to know this unless some other document gives information which indicates that the baptism cannot be used in this way.

The obvious possibility for 19th century records is the census. Ages in the census can be notoriously inaccurate, but it is always useful to check to see if the age in the census matches the information we infer from the baptism.

Use baptismal information from siblings of the baby also. Do the babies arrive at regular intervals? Not all families fit a pattern, but this can be helpful. Also, if you check the siblings’ ages in the census against their baptismal records, you may see whether a pattern, either regular or irregular, emerges. If you have any doubt about information in church records, always use material on siblings as a check.

The watchful researcher will also notice if there are children of the same parents baptized at intervals too short to be biologically possible. If so, it is an indication that something is amiss.

Example Involving Children

Roger Matthews and Elizabeth Bettison were married on 7 November 1719. They had six children, Anna baptized 6 October 1720, Elizabeth and Bettison, baptized 16 November 1721, Mary baptized 28 February 1722, Richard baptized 21 June 1725, William baptized 25 February 1731.

The three months between the twins and Mary would indicate that the twins were not newborns at the time of their baptism. In fact, they died only days later. If we move their probable births back enough to allow time for Mary to be born, the twins conflict with Anna. She also died within days of her baptism. The probable solution is that Anna and the twins were all several months old at the time of their baptisms, and were only rushed to church when they became ill and in danger of death. It is likely that Anna was born shortly after her parents’ marriage, in fact. None of this would be known at all except for the date of Mary’s baptism, and the absolute truth cannot be confirmed.

Reasons Why Children Were Baptised at Different Ages

Parents were often neglectful in taking babies for baptism, especially if their denomination was one in which quick baptism was not viewed as an absolute necessity.

More often, in pioneer days when churches and clergy were few, people had limited opportunities for applying for baptism and even when the clergy came round, it may not have been convenient for the family to meet with him for the rite. People who lived far from town could not travel there at will, being restricted by lack of transportation, by bad roads, and by the demands of their stock animals and other household duties. It was fortunate that many clergy were willing to perform baptisms ‘on the hop’ as it were, being asked to do so as they passed and then baptizing the child with little further ceremony.

The records of circuit riders, or traveling missionaries, are of great use when trying to find the ceremonies associated with relatives who lived in newly-settled areas or far from larger settlements. It can be very difficult to determine whose records might be useful and where they might be.

Earlier, we mentioned the Anglican missionary of the 1830s and 1840s stationed at Milton, west of Toronto. His ‘parish’ covered eleven townships which went west as far as Berlin (Kitchener) and Waterloo and north into what is now Grey County. This area is now in four or five counties. Even given good roads he could not have visited any part of the region more than once or twice a year, and the roads were dreadful, impassable for long stretches of the spring and fall. They would be at their easiest for traveling in the winter, which presented other difficulties of cold and uncertain weather.

But any speculations we might have about how he did his work, especially as regards baptizing children, come to nothing when we discover that his records have never been found.

A great many clergy, even those who were not traveling, wrote the information about sacraments performed on slips of paper or in a notebook, intending to transfer them into a proper register when they had leisure. The slips might be lost in transit, or the clergyman might never find the time to make the fair copies. The difficulty of any system which involves copying genealogical information from one place to another is that there will inevitably be inaccuracies. Even when these inaccuracies are obvious to researchers, we cannot revise the information. We are stuck with recording it as given and then explaining what seems to be wrong with it.

One of the most common errors in baptismal records which have been copied from one place to another is the transposition of the baby’s name and the mother’s name. While the father’s name is a fixed thing in everyone’s mind, since men were so obviously important, the mother was often only ‘Mrs. X’ to the community at large and babies were often simply ‘Baby.’ Even after the christening or naming of the child, the smallest child might still be ‘Baby’ for some time. There were so many children. If someone else needed to refer to them, they might say, “That baby of John Smith’s,” or “John Smith’s youngest.” And so the child is recorded as Elizabeth, daughter of John and Elizabeth Smith, when in fact the baby’s name was something else, or even the mother’s name was something else. The result, more than a century later, is genealogical misery.

Another idea to keep in mind is that birthdates in baptismal records, if much earlier than the time of the christening, may be problematic. One reason people’s ages in census and other documents in the 19th century are so variable, is that people did not have to be aware of their age constantly, as we do. They did not have to write down their birthdate on documents; save for the ten-year census taken, it might be that no one would ask their age at all. If the people concerned were illiterate, as many were, the whole question of keeping track of an age was even more complicated.

So, if a child was born and months passed before the clergyman came along to baptize him, the parents might easily lose track of exactly when it was that he was born. The baptism of Andrew Lunn, son of James Lunn and Margaret Anne Hawthorne, born in Durham County, Ontario, is a good case in point. There is a Wesleyan Methodist record of his baptism, on 15 June 1879 by W. C. Jolly. His birthdate in that record is given as 25 May 1879, making him aged three weeks at the time.

However we know (from Andrew Lunn’s own testimony) that by the time he was baptized his mother was no longer sure when he was born; in fact, his generally accepted birth year was 1877 and his birthday was usually celebrated on 16 June in later years. His age was always a mystery, however, and now will remain so. Of the six children in his family, he was the only one baptized, and none of the births were registered.

Where Can I Find a Missing Baptism?

If you know the family’s religion (from the census, or from family information), begin by looking at the nearest churches of that denomination.

Look in the records of other denominations in the region whose theology might lead them to baptize children brought for christening, but whose parents were not active members of the congregation.

Keep in mind traveling missionaries, again of denominations who welcomed the baptism of children regardless of the religious status of the parents. In particular, remember that the Methodists in the 19th century were actively proselytizing in Canada, having made evangelism one of the first tenets of practicing their faith. They welcomed everyone. When in doubt, check out the Methodist records.

The Wesleyan Methodists in Ontario created an unusual archive of baptismal records, starting in the 1840s and extending in some cases to the 1890s. These records were created by the clergy sending copies of the baptisms they performed to a central office, where they were inscribed in ledgers. These were organized geographically by township. The originals are at the United Church archives in Toronto, but they have been microfilmed and are available in that form in many other places.

More recently the registers have become available as a searchable database. In addition, various Ontario Genealogical Society branches or private publishers have extracted the records for specific counties and published them in book form with indexes. Ask locally to determine if this is true for your area.

This is a page from the original Wesleyan baptismal ledgers, for the township of Algona in northern Ontario. The sparse population accounts for the few entries; most pages in the ledgers are crowded. The last entry, for Eliza Jane Halliday, gives her parents’ names (Timothy & M. A.), and residence (Algona), place of birth, date of birth and date of baptism.

The much smaller Methodist Episcopal denomination also recorded baptisms, and the records of the Niagara conference (Ontario) have been published in book form by the Ontario Genealogical Society.

Canada Methodist Episcopal Baptism Record.jpg

Are Records of ‘Believer’s Baptism’ of Any Use to Genealogists?

The Anabaptists who praxes baptism of adults have tended not to keep records of these baptisms in earlier years. The reason for this was that they were considered illegal organizations in their beginnings and were persecuted for simply existing by the governments of England, Germany, France, wherever they lived.

While they lived freely in Canada, able to praxes their religions without fear, they had not developed the habits of record keeping which the more mainstream denominations had, and so they did not think to begin.

Eventually, in the 19th century, church record keeping along with other kinds became more usual and eventually baptisms were written down along with other things.

It is always useful to record important dates in the lives of our relatives, and so, if you find a record of believer’s baptism for anyone in your family, it is wise to make note of it and then use it in the family history. As the date of baptism has no relation with any of the three traditional genealogical dates (birth, marriage, death), it will probably not play a great role in a plain genealogy.

In family history, however, it should be significant. For most people in the various Anabaptist churches, the act of coming forward to ask for baptism involved a serious commitment to certain religious beliefs and the public expression of them, and then to joining the church. This also meant that other members of the community approved of your choice and allowed you to join. These activities were of great spiritual and social significance to the individual concerned, and any record of their life would be defective if these facts were lacking.

So the answer is, yes, always record a believer’s baptism that you find. In terms of family history value, the record can be used to prove that an individual is in a particular place at a particular time, and had probably been there for a while, long enough to establish themselves socially. They can also be assumed to have reached years of discretion (i.e., in this case the ability to make up their own mind and make a commitment to the church), but exactly what this means will vary with the practices of the different churches. Some believers who were baptized may be as young as ten (or less), and others may be baptized when they are over 80.

References

  1. “I baptise thee in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. William Fraser, “Diary of William Fraser, August 1834-July 1835,” Transactions of the London and Middlesex Historical Society (1930) as quoted in Frances Hoffman and Ryan Taylor, Across the waters (1999), p. 283.
  3. William Bell, Hints to emigrants (1824), p. 122.
  4. The original of this register is at the United Church Archives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  5. The original of this register at the Diocese of Niagara Archives at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.
  6. The printed versions of these registers can be found in Répertoire des actes de baptême, mariage, sépulture et des recensements du Québec ancien, published by the Presses de l’Université de Montréal.
  7. Printed version of this register published by the Société franco-ontarienne d’histoire et de généalogie, 1997.
  8. There are many texts to help non-German speakers to translate Gothic, such as Fay S. Dearden, Deciphering Gothic records (1996), and particularly recommended, Edna M. Bentz, If I can, you can decipher Germanic records (most recent edition 1999).
  9. Original records of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario, are at the church; microfilm copies available elsewhere.


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