Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925 .
- 1 Record Description
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Record
- 4 Known Issues with This Collection
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
The collection contains the following records:
- Births/Christenings (1833-1899)
- Deaths/Burials (1845-1899)
- Marriages (1833-1899)
For a list of localities currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
The baptismal records include:
- Child's name
- Birth date and place
- Christening date
- Names of parents and their origin
- Godparents' names
The death and burial records include:
- Date and place of internment
- Name and age of deceased
- Residence of deceased
- Death date
- Cause of death
The marriage records include:
- Date and place of marriage
- Names of bride and groom
- Residences of bride and groom
- Groom's baptismal date
- Bride's baptismal date
- Groom's parents' names
- Bride's parents' names
- Witnesses' names
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
Search the Collection
To search the collection
⇒Select "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select "Parish or Town"
⇒Select "Record Type and Year Range" which takes you to the images
Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads 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.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names or for nicknames.
- Check the records of other congregations in the area or nearby communities.
- Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
General Information About These Records
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.
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.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 email@example.com. 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.
- Many of the parishes in Chicago have the same name. This link provides you with excellent guidelines to assist you in ascertaining which parish your ancestors may have attended.
- Archdiocese of Chicago's Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives & Records Center
- Roman Catholic Churches - Origins and Neighborhoods
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925
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 for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.