Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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Revision as of 19:06, 2 March 2012 by Joycebevans (Talk | contribs)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Collection Time Period

These records begin as early as 1833 and go through 1899.

Record Description

The collection contains the folowing records:

  • Births/Christenings (1833-1899)
  • Deaths/Burials (1845-1899)
  • Marriages (1833-1899)

The Archdiocese of Chicago covers parishes in Cook and Lake counties. The records are 95% in English with the remaining 5% distributed in Czech, Latin, and German.

Record Content

The baptismal records include:

Illinois Chicago Catholic Church Registers (08-02720) Baptism DGS 4232747 643.jpg
  • Child's name
  • Birth date and place
  • Christening date
  • Names of parents
  • Birth place of parents

The death and burial records include:

Illinois Chicago Catholic Church Registers (08-02720) Burial DGS 4232747 480.jpg
  • Name of deceased
  • Death date
  • Burial dates and places
  • Age
  • Cause of death
  • Residence

The marriage records include:

Illinois Chicago Catholic Church Registers (08-02720) Marriage DGS 4232747 671.jpg
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residences
  • Marriage date
  • Birth date and place
  • Names of parents
  • Witnesses

How to Use the Record

To begin your search, you will need to know the following information:

  • Ancestor’s name
  • Type of event, such as the christening or baptism
  • Approximate date of the event

When you have located your ancestor's record, compare the information to what you already know about your ancestor to determine whether this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

Once you have determined that this is your ancestor, carefully evaluate each piece of information in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

For example:

  • Use christening (baptismal) and birth records to identify a person’s birth date and place. These are an excellent substitute for civil birth records.
  • Use confirmation records to identify a person’s birth date and place and age. If only the age is given, use it to calculate the person’s death date.
  • Use death or burial records to identify a person’s birth date and place. Use age at the time of death or burial to calculate the person’s birth date. These are an excellent substitute for civil death records.
  • Use marriage records to identify a couple and the marriage date and place and to begin compiling a family group. These are an excellent substitute for civil marriage records.
  • Use church records in general to identify other family members who may have served as witnesses to an event.
  • Use the date of the event along with the locality to find the family in census records and land records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.

It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. Or, if the surname is unusual, you may want to compile entries for every person of the same surname and then sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.

If you do not find your ancestor, try these suggestions:

  • Look for variant spellings of the names or for nicknames.
  • Check the records of other congregations in the area or nearby communities.

Be aware of the following:

  • An infant’s christening usually took place within a few days or few weeks of the birth, depending on the religion. Some churches, such as the Baptists, baptized only adults not infants. Members of other sects blessed their infants when they were a few weeks or a few months old.
  • Many religions tested the church knowledge of those that had been baptized as infants and then confirmed them a member of that religion. Frequently, a person’s age at confirmation was between 14 and 20.
  • Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the minister, or a clerk appointed by the minister, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.

Record History

Church records in the United States began in the early 1600s. They can be found in the churches, church archives, or university archives. They normally included records of christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world. Traditionally, Catholic records have been kept at the parish level, so a majority of records will be found at the church where the event transpired. Older Catholic records and records of defunct Catholic parishes have often been moved to archives, historical archives, or university libraries.

Why the Record Was Created

To know who were members, churches were required to record the date a person was baptized in the Christian religion. Many churches also recorded the date of birth along with the date of baptism. Churches were also required to record the burial and marriage dates of the members of the local congregation. Only some churches performed confirmations and were required to record the names of those that were confirmed members of the church.

Record Reliability

Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the priest or a clerk appointed by the priest, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Archdiocese of Chicago's Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives & Records Center

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in a Collection

"Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925"  digital images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 16 September 2011). Mary Cath Calkins, born March 1, 1904;  Epiphany (Chicago)>, Baptisms, marriages, 1901-1915> image 23; Catholic Bishop of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Illinois, Chicago Catholic Church Records, 1833-1900," database, FamilySearch; (http://familysearch.org); from the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, Illinois. FHL microfilm, 203 rolls, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.


 

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