Record Review – On Catholic Records

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Monday Madness, Records Review

One of the first things that I hear from people that are not Catholic is – Why can’t I find out when they were dipped in the pond for baptism?

First of all two things to consider when dealing with Catholic Records

  1. Pre-Vatican II Council (before 1965ish) – Old school church style with ornate church trappings, incense almost everywhere, the priest facing the wall instead of the people while preparing the communion.
  2. Post-Vatican II Council (After 1965ish) – New wave style church with wide sweeping changes in the music, language, many churches removed kneelers and even encouraged guitar masses.

Note: Depending upon where you are in the world these changes could have come into place between 1968-1975.  It took a while to get started with things.

Some of the changes also are reflected in how things are done with records:

  • Baptism – Still in place today – Baptism is preferred at birth or a time in early childhood.  The earlier the better.  Looking for the baptisms – check birth year + 7 yrs.    Baptism for an adult is through something usually called RCIA or Roman Catholic Initiation of Adults program.  The  baptism date would be noted in the adults church records.
  • Confirmation – This is usually done as a special occasion and should be considered a happy time.  Pre-Vatican II – usually took place in 5th or 6th Grades.   Post-Vatican II – Depends upon local customs can be nearing HIgh School or even University fir st years.
  • Marriage – Marriage Records for both time periods is about the same.  However, one note for many under the Pre-Vatican II Coujn – mixed marriages were depending upon the area to determine where someone has a wedding.  Mixed marriages wedding ceremonies for some are in the rectory, chapel front or worse in the park.
  • Holy Orders – This is for a candidate for the priest hood to relax and party after conferred on as a priest for the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Death – Church records for this is about the same in both time periods.  However, in the older period it is not unusual to have a mix religious couple buried in either different locations or wose between two different cemeteries.
  • Sacramentals – its a book noting peoples passages through the sacraments.  Most churches maintain them – if not seek adult church records availability.

Catholic Funeral Cards were given out at the funerals by either the funeral home, family or by friends.  Keep these cards as you find them – many of them give birth & death information and sometimes even a favorite poem, bible verse, etc.

Until next week!


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