Ohio Roman Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

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Collection Time Period

This information pertains to church records created from 1796 to 2004. There is a 70-year access restriction on baptism and marriage records. No restrictions apply to the remainder of this collection.

Record History

Ohio became a territory in 1799, although settlers had been coming into the area since the 1700s. It was granted statehood in 1803. The first Catholic settlement in Ohio was founded among the Huron Indian tribes near Sandusky by Father De la Richardie in 1751. The Diocese of Toledo was formed as a separate jurisdiction in 1910. The area was formally a part of the Diocese of Cleveland. The Diocese of Toledo currently includes the counties of Lucas (Toledo), Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van West, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot. Because this collection covers time before the formation of the Diocese of Toledo, some nearby areas are included (i.e., parts of Richland, Huron, and Erie, counties). The records included in this collection contain christenings (baptisms), confirmations, marriages, and deaths. They are in English with some records in Latin. An infant’s christening usually took place within a few days or few weeks of the birth. Baptismal records list the name of the child baptized, the child’s parents, and godparents.The sacrament of Confirmation is considered a completion of Baptism and conferred at a later age. Frequently, a person’s age at confirmation was between 14 and 20. These records cover the population of parishioners of the Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Toledo (Ohio). The collection includes christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths.

Why This Record Was Created

To know who its members were, Roman Catholic churches were required to record the date a person was baptized into the Christian religion. Many churches also recorded the date of birth along with the date of baptism. The churches were also required to record the burial and marriage dates of the members of the local congregation. A local biship typically did confirmations and the churches recorded the names of those being confirmed.

Record Reliability

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

Record Description

Entries are recorded in register books in columns or in paragraphs without columns. Records are preserved under varying conditions. Many are subject to deterioration or destruction. Some are well preserved in archives. These records were originally microfilmed by Bowling Green State University. Information about this collection can also be found at the BGSU Center for Archival Collections.

Record Content

Genealogical information in church christening records is:

  • Birth and christening dates and places
  • Names of parents and children, witnesses and godparents

Genealogical information in church Confirmation records:

  • Names of parents and children
  • Birth and christening dates and places
  • Ages of children confirmed

Genealogical information in church death and burial records is:

  • Names of persons, their parents, spouses and children
  • Birth, death and burial dates and places
  • Ages of persons
  • Places of residence

Genealogical information in church marriage records:

  • Names of grooms and brides, parents and witnesses
  • Birth, marriage, and divorce dates and places
  • Ages of husbands and wives
  • Places of residence

How to Use the Record

Use christening (baptismal) records to identify a person’s birth date and place. They are an excellent substitute for civil birth information.
Use church records of Confirmations to identify a person’s birth date and place or his or her age. If only the age is given, use it to calculate the person’s birth date.
Use church records of deaths or burials to identify a person’s birth date and place. Use age at death or burial to calculate a person’s birth date. They are an excellent substitute for civil death information.
Use church records of marriages to identify a couple, the marriage date and place, and to begin compiling a family group. They are an excellent substitute for civil marriage information.

Related Web Sites

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has an excellent description of the sacraments.

Related Wiki Articles

More information about church records can be found at:

Sources of This Collection

How to Cite Your Sources

Instructions for citing this source can be found at: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections