"The History of the Church is a record of the mercies of God on the human family." -Rt. Rev. H. J. Alerding (1907)
+ DICTIONARIES + GENERAL CATHOLIC LINKS +
+ GENERAL GENEALOGY LINKS (select geographic location for location specific genealogy links) +
[ MEXICO ] [UNITED STATES] [ CANADA ]
[CENTRAL AMERICA and ISLAND COUNTRIES]
[ AFRICA ] [EUROPE and ASIA] [ AUSTRALIA and OCEANIA ]
+ California + Colorado* + Connecticut* + Delaware +
+ Washington D.C. -includes a portion of MD and Virgin Islands* +
+ Florida* + Georgia* + Hawaii +
+ Idaho + Illinois* + Iowa* + Indiana* +
+ Kansas* + Kentucky* + Louisiana* +
+ Maine + Maryland* + Massachusetts* + Michigan* +
+ Minnesota* + Mississippi + Missouri* + Montana +
+ Nebraska* + Nevada + New Hampshire + New Jersey* +
+ New Mexico* + New York* + North Carolina + North Dakota +
+ Ohio* + Oklahoma* + Oregon* + Pennsylvania* + Rhode Island +
+ South Carolina + South Dakota + Tennessee + Texas* +
+ Utah + Vermont + Virginia +
+ Washington* + West Virginia + Wisconsin* + Wyoming +
Chancery: 962 Wayne Ave. - Silver Spring, MD 20910
TYPES OF RECORDS THAT MAY BE FOUND
Please note that links within the text below are to offsite references. Please click your back button to return to this page.
The Catholic Faith teaches that among liturgical celebrations, there are seven Sacraments (in the strict sense of the term) which were instituted by the Lord. The sacraments are visible signs of the communion and communication between God and men. They communicate God's Grace and sanctify, instruct, nourish faith, and give worship to God.
Records are kept for the reception of the sacraments of baptism and marriage that may be of great help when researching your ancestors. Also, though not one of the seven sacraments, Catholic Church records often include a record for a burial / funeral.
It should be noted that not all sacraments would necessarily be received by all Catholics, and there may be differences between Western (Roman) and Eastern Catholic Churches. For instance, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Sacraments of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) are often received at different ages, while in the Byzantine Catholic Church, as in most of the Eastern Catholic Churches, these three Sacramental Mysteries of Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Eucharist are given together to infants.6 Furthermore, though it is possible in the Roman Catholic Church for someone to receive both the sacrament of matrimony (marriage) and Holy Orders (bishops, priests, and deacons), it would not be common, since Roman Catholic priests are not usually married. The Byzantine Catholic Church, however, has traditionally allowed for married men to be ordained to the priesthood.6
Since there are variations and exceptions, please keep in mind the following is only an informal guide to the ages at which Sacraments would often be received.
There are Seven Sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church:
1. The Sacrament of Baptism - may be received in infancy or later in life. A Catholic Church record of a baptism often identifies the date of birth, date of baptism, parents’ names and possibly the names of godparents.
2. The Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance - is commonly celebrated at 7 years of age, prior to receiving the sacrament of First Communion.
3. The Sacrament of First Communion or Holy Eucharist - is commonly celebrated at 7 years of age in the Roman Catholic tradition, and in infancy in the Byzantine Catholic tradition.
4. The Sacrament of Confirmation or Chrismation- may be celebrated at about 13 years of age in the Roman Catholic tradition, and in infancy in the Byzantine Catholic, and most Eastern Catholic traditions.
5. The Sacrament of Matrimony - Marriage - Sacramental Mystery of Crowning (the latter, a distinctive Byzantine Catholic marriage ceremony includes the crowning of the bride and groom). A Catholic Church record of a marriage often identifies the date of the marriage, the names of the parents of the bride and groom and possibly witnesses.
6. The Sacrament of Holy Orders - "Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyteriate, and diaconate." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, page 383: no. 1536).7 The presbyteriate (Priests), are consecrated to preach the Gospel, shepherd the faithful, and celebrate the Mass. They are guided by those who have received episcopal consecration (Bishops) which confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling. Deacons help and serve both the episcopate and presbyteriate. The diaconate (Deacons) may be conferred on married men in both Eastern and Western Catholic traditions.
7. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick - "...From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil. Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. Because of this it received the name "Extreme Unction." Notwithstanding this evolution the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health if it would be conducive to his salvation. ...The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil - pressed from olives or from other plants - saying, only once: "Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up."..." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Chapter 2, 1511 and 1513).
+ Though not one of the seven sacraments, Catholic Church records often include a record for a burial / funeral. It is important to note that the date recorded in burial records may actually be the date of burial, rather than the date of death. Burial records are often brief, but may include additional notes, such as the age of the deceased, date of birth, parents’ names, burial location, or other details of interest.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church: (offsite links)
Part 2, section 2: The Seven Sacraments and
Chapter 4: Other Liturgical Celebrations which discusses sacramentals, Christian funerals and the celebration of funerals.
If you DO know the name and location of your ancestors' Catholic Church/Parish and it still exists:
A friendly and precise request, for baptism, marriage, or funeral records, sent to the church office, may provide you with the desired records.
Your letter should include details of your ancestor, such as: name, birth date, marriage date, etc. (If dates are unknown, try to give a close estimate of the dates.)
Please keep in mind that the work of the Church is ongoing, parishes may vary greatly in their staffing, and records may or may not be indexed by surname, therefore it is advisable to limit your request to two or three specific records.
If you DO NOT know the name and location of your ancestors' Catholic Church/Parish, or it no longer exists:
You will need to determine the parish to which your ancestor belonged, and this may involve some HISTORICAL DETECTIVE work on your part.
Their parish will likely be the local Catholic Church nearest their home (geographically). However, as time passed, and the population of an area grew (or diminished), there was often a need to build new churches, and establish new dioceses and parishes. Therefore, your research may require combining church HISTORY with GENEALOGY.
You would like a copy of your great grandmother's 1890 baptism record, and a phone directory shows there is a St. Mary's Catholic Church near her childhood residence, however, you were informed her baptism record was not found at that parish.
A bit of HISTORICAL DETECTIVE work may show that St. Mary's was not established until 1970, so your next step may be to try to determine which parishes existed in the area in 1890. Resources for this may include Diocese, Church and Parish histories, City Directories, Atlases (of the necessary era), local county and town histories, 1890s newspapers, etc.
These resources may also help you overcome some apparent "brick walls" in your genealogy. I found a "missing" funeral record after I learned that the Church was destroyed by fire, and during the year-long rebuilding period, parishioners attended a neighboring parish.
Now, you are ready to BEGIN:
You may use this guide site to help you determine the name and address of the parish church.
1. Begin by Selecting the Country of your ancestor's residence.
For example, you may choose the United States.
2. Select the area within the Country nearest the geographic location of your ancestor's residence.
For example, choose the state of Indiana.
3. Select the Archdiocese or Diocese in location that is nearest your ancestor. Many of the Archdioceses and Dioceses have web sites online which include a directory of the parishes within their jurisdiction. Many have also posted histories online. In addition to helping you learn more about the events in the Catholic Churches of the area, these Histories may be critical to locating your ancestor's sacramental records, since new dioceses may have been established and jurisdictions may have changed many times through the years, as new countries formed or areas were settled.
For example, the geographic area of Fort Wayne, Indiana was once included in the ecclesiastical province of Quebec among others.
4. Some of the parishes have web sites of their own. If your parish of interest has a web site, do visit the site which may include addresses, histories, photos, etc. of interest to you.
If you find that the parish church no longer exists, it is possible that the records have been transferred to the archives of the Diocese where the church was located. The Archivist at the Diocese Chancery2 may be able to help you to locate records.
Areas were/are often served by priests from another Catholic Church while they were/are developing and becoming more populated. These are called missions. Records for these may be able to be located at the parish where the visiting priests are established.
Additionally, copies of records for sacraments received later in life, such as, marriage, may traditionally be sent to the church where the person was baptized as well.
How do I find the local Catholic Church in the United States?
Read the following, and then click on the state or country of residence.
The Catholic Church in the United States is organized into divisions of organizational structure and jurisdiction that have, for the most part, geographical boundaries consisting of 33 provinces, with 33 Archdiocese which are metropolitan sees, and 150 Dioceses which are Roman Catholic. In addition, there are Eastern-Rite Jurisdictions which are immediately subject to the Holy See and an Armenian-Rite apostolic exarchate for the U.S. and Canada. There is also a Military Services Archdiocese.
In other countries, the structure will often be similar.
The Eastern-Rite jurisdictions in the United States are 1. The Eparchies of St. Maron (Maronites), 2. Newton (Melkites), 3. St. Thomas Apostle of Detroit (Chaldeans) 4. St. George Martyr of Canton, Ohio (Romanians), 5. Pittsburgh, PA (Ruthenian) and 6. Philadelphia, PA (Ukrainian).1
Eastern-Rite Catholics are true Catholics. Eastern and Roman Catholic share the same faith, the same pope and have the same seven sacraments. The difference is that Eastern Catholics have a different way or rite of expressing the shared faith in regards to Liturgy and customs.
Who Are Byzantine (Eastern) Catholics? (Offsite link, please click your back button to return to this page)
“…As the Christian Church grew, each nation and culture who received the Gospel in turn influenced the growth of the Church. Even at a relatively early stage in the history of the Church, two major heritages developed and remain with us today: the Eastern or "Greek" tradition, and the Western or "Latin" tradition. The Church in the West had its principal center at the Imperial capital of Rome, and is known in our present-day as the Roman Catholic Church. The Church in the East grew and developed from the Churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria. These three Eastern centers shared a common language, Greek, and similar mode of discourse which formed the basis for the subsequent development of the Eastern Christian tradition…”
For Eastern Rite (Byzantine) jurisdictions, scroll down or select from below:
The Romanian Byzantine Catholics in the United States are under the jurisdiction of the local Latin rite dioceses, and others may attend the local Roman Catholic churches as well depending upon the availability of local Eastern Catholic churches and services in their area of residence.
v The Eparchy of St. George Martyr of Canton, Ohio (Romanians)
§ Address: 1121 44th Street, NE - Canton, OH 44714-1297
v The Apostolic Exarchate Armenian-Rite for the U.S. & Canada, in New York (Venerable Exarch.: Hovhannes Terzakian, 1995)
§ Address: 110 East, 12th Street - New York, NY 10003 U.S.A.; Phone: (212) 477-2030
Ø See Armenia, from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913:
Our Lady of Deliverance Syriac Catholic Diocese
Chancery: 502 Palisade Avenue - Union City NJ 07087-5213
P.O. Box 8366 - Union City, NJ 07087-8262
History of the Syriac Catholic Church "at a glance"
Parish Directory for the U.S.A. & Canada
Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark of the Syrians: Syriac Catholic Diocese for Syrians in the U. S. and Canada (Chorbishop Joseph Younan appointed as the first Bishop of this diocese in 1995)...
§ Address: 25603 Berg Road - Southfield, MI 48034; Phone: (248) 351-0440 or (248) 351-0441
v Chaldean Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle – Ministering to Chaldean & Assyrian Catholics in the Western USA
1627 Jamacha Way – El Cajon, CA 92019
Ø See Chaldean Christians, by J. Labourt, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III, by Robert Appleton Company, 1908, Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight:
Ø Kaldaya.net, The Voice of the Catholic Chaldeans
Ø Ethnologically they are divided into two groups: Turco-Persian (also known as Chaldeans) and Indian (also called the Syro-Malabar Church and Christians of St. Thomas...)
v Archeparchy of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Ukrainian)
§ Chancery: 827 N. Franklin Street - Philadelphia, PA 19123
Ø Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception: 830 N. Franklin Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123
Ø St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church
§ 2401 Eastern Ave - Baltimore, MD 21224 - with History from the 1880s when Western Ukrainians began immigrating to Baltimore (Fells Point)...
v Eparchy of St. Nicholas of the Ukrainians, in Chicago, Illinois (Ukrainian) [Est. 1961, created from the western portion of the Philadelphia Eparchy]
§ Chancery: 2245 W. Rice St. - Chicago, IL 60622.
v Eparchy in Stamford, Connecticut (Ukrainian) [Est. 1956, created from the Philadelphia Eparchy]
§ Chancery: 14 Peveril Rd. - Stamford, CT 06902.
§ A partial list of churches with websites are linked below:
Ø St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church – 135 Wethersfield Avenue – Hartford, CT 06114
Ø St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church – 569 George Street – New Haven, CT 06511
Ø Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church (St. Mary’s) – 54 Walnut Street – Manchester, NH 03104
Ø St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church – 30 East 7th Avenue – New York, NY 10003 (Manhattan)
Ø St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church – 394 Blackstone Street – Woonsocket, RI 02895
v Eparchy of St. Josaphat, in Parma, Ohio (Ukrainian) [est. 1969]
§ Chancery: P.O. Box 347180 - Parma, OH 44134
§ Website includes a Parish Directory, with Parishes in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Tennessee
79000 m. Lviv
Ploscha sv. Yura, 5
UGCC - Zvernenya
Ø Eparchies and Bishops - Structure and Territory
v Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Ruthenian, Hungarian, Croatian...) [est. 1963, Mundall 1969]
§ Address: 66 Riverview Ave. - Pittsburgh, PA 15214
Ø Website includes a Parish Directory, with parishes in Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia
Ø St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cathedral – 210 Greentree Road – Munhall, PA 15120
v Eparchy of Passiac, (Byzantine-Ruthenian) [est. 1969]
§ Address: 445 Lackawanna Ave. – Woodland Park, NJ 07424
§ With parishes in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, east Pennsylvania and Virginia
Ø Cathedral of St. Michael the Archangel – 96 First Street – Passaic, NJ
Ø St. Michael’s Cemetery – 120 Saddle River Road – South Hackensack, NJ
Ø St. Therese of Lisieux Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic - 4265 13th Avenue North - St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Ø For an introduction & brief history of the Ruthenian Catholic Church visit:
Ø "What is the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church," by Father Glenn Michael Davidovich
v Eparchy of Parma, Ohio Parish Map
§ Chancery: 1900 Carlton Road - Parma, OH 44134; Phone, (216) 741-8773
§ Website includes a Parish Directory, with parishes in most of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Kansas. For OH check both Parma & Pittsburgh as parishes in are located in both.
Ø Closed Parishes – locations of records
Ø Cathedral of St. John the Baptist – 1900 Carlton Road – Parma, OH 44134
v Eparchy of Phoenix, Arizona (AK, AZ, CA, CO, NV,NM, OR, WA) History
§ Address: 8131 N. 16th St. - Phoenix, AZ 85020; Phone: 602-861-5379
§ Website includes a Parish Directory, with parishes in the areas of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
§ Following a 1994 earthquake, which damaged the Cathedral complex, Bishop George Kuzma relocated the administrative offices of the Eparchy of Van Nuys to Phoenix, Arizona. See the Historical Outline below:
Ø St. Stephen Pro-Cathedral – 8141 North 16th Street - Phoenix, AZ 85020
Ø Ruthenian Rite, by Andrew J. Shipman, from the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. XIII, New York: Robert Appleton Company. online at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13277a.htm
v The Eparchy of Newton (Melkite) - [Est. 1966]
§ Chancery and Eparchial Residence: 3 VFW Parkway - Roslindale, MA 02131
Ø Educational and Reference materials to learn about the Melkite-Greek rite
Ø St. George Melkite (Byzantine) Greek Catholic Church – 1617 W. State Street – Milwaukee, WI 53233;
§ Includes a History of Milwaukee Wisconsin's Melkites & Syrian-Lebanese Melkites in Milwaukee (Melkite Catholic)
Ø Annunciation Melkite Cathedral – 7 VFW Parkway – West Roxbury, MA 02132
Ø St. John of the Desert - 2525 East Osburn Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Ø Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek-Catholic Church - 8501 Lewinsville Road, McLean, VA 22020
Ø St. Basil Seminary & Salvatorian Center - 30 East Street Methuen, MA 01844
Ø See Melchite (Melkite) Catholic, by A. Fortescue, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X, by Robert Appleton Company, 1911, Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight: "...Melchites are the people of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt..."
v Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York (Maronite)
§ Office: 109 Remsen Street - Brooklyn, NY 10301
§ Website includes a Parish Directory, with parishes in the eastern states of Connecticut, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia
v Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, California (Maronite)
§ Address: 1021 South Tenth Street – St. Louis, Missouri 63104
§ Chancery: 331 So. San Vicente Blvd. -Los Angeles, CA 90048
§ Website includes a Parish Directory, with parishes in the states of Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and West Virginia
Ø Our Lady of Mount Lebanon - St. Peter Cathedral - Los Angeles, CA
Maronite Catholic Web Links
St. Maroun - Biography
St. Anthony's Parish (Maronite) - Serves the Lebanese Community in Leamington Ontario, Canada.
This page was first placed online 23 Aug 1998, and was relocated to home.att.net/~Local_Catholic/ on 12 May 1999. It is now being relocated to http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~localcatholic/Index.htm. It is hoped that the new location will be helpful to visitors.
Local Catholic Church and Family History site was named, by Family Tree Magazine, among the 101 Best New Web Sites, in the August 2004 issue, of Family Tree Magazine!
Thank you Family Tree Magazine!
Local Catholic Church and Family History site was named, by Family Tree Magazine, among the 101 Best New Web Sites, in the Special Interests Category, in the August 2001 issue, of Family Tree Magazine!
Thank you Family Tree Magazine!
May 3, 2000: Thank you for the compliments to "Local Catholic Church and Family History" from the new Family Tree Magazine!!!
Ancestry.com Daily News, for January 13, 1999, Family History Favorite.
References consulted include:
1. 1990 Catholic Almanac. Felician A. Foy, O.F. M. (Editor), Rose M. Avato (Associate Editor). Huntington: Our Sunday Visitory Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. and 1998 Catholic Almanac. Felician A. Foy, O.F. M. and Rose M. Avato (Editors and Compilers). Huntington: Our Sunday Visitory Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.
2. New Advent, Inc. From the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright © 1913 by the Encyclopedia Press, Inc. Electronic version copyright © 1997, by New Advent, Inc. (A Catholic Web Site transcribing The Catholic Encyclopedia: an International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline and History of the Catholic Church. Herbermann, Pace, et al. (Editors). Imprint: Appleton (New York) 1907-1912.)
Rt. Rev. H. J. Alerding. The Diocese of
Fort Wayne, 1857-September 22-1907, A book of Historical Reference
1669-1907. 1907. Fort Wayne: The Archer Printing Co.
The paragraph is quoted in full below:
· "The History of the Church is a record of the mercies of God on the human family. Considered in this light, the view that history is self-glorification is narrow in the extreme, and lacks the Christian instinct referring all things to God. The same holds good, be it the history of the Church in general, or of any portion of it. The purpose always is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Such is the issue, and not the individual, not the missionary, not the priest; and therefore the Church records should be kept accurately and not withheld from publication. Gratitude prompts us to thank and glorify the Giver on High." -Rt. Rev. H. J. Alerding (1907)
5. The Notre Dame Archives Guide 74. Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Baltimore (Md.). URL: http://archives.nd.edu/collections/index.htm
6. Thank you to John J. Vernoski, of Byzantine Catholic Church in America - http://www.byzcath.org/, who has kindly given guidance, and helped me grow in my understanding of the Byzantine Catholic Church. firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Liguori, Missouri: Liguori Publications. 1994.
9. Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 1998. Britannica Online is accessed at http://www.eb.com/
10. National Conference of Catholic Bishops. USCC Releases Resolution on Computer Networking. http://www.nccbuscc.org/comm/archives/97-200.htm. 1998.
+ Information learned from the many web sites for the Archdioceses, Dioceses, and Catholic Church whose links appear on these pages.
Explanation and disclaimer: Though the beliefs and practices of individual members of the Catholic Church may differ from the official teachings of the Catholic Church, I have tried to gather information and links that appear to follow the official teachings of the Roman See. I cannot, however, control the content of others' web sites, and I myself can err. Please inform me of errors on my site, and of any links which may become inappropriate to family viewing.
I am creating this site as a helpful guide to researching the history of the local Catholic Churches and Catholic ancestors in this geographic area. This is not an official Catholic Church page.
Though links to this page are encouraged, please do not download the page without requesting permission since it contains copyright protected material.
If you find an error, have a suggestion, or a site that you believe will be helpful, please let me know.
--Ann Mensch, Professional Historical Genealogist
With appreciation and love, I would like to thank my family and friends for their love, assistance, patience and guidance.
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004-2011, by Ann Mensch.
This page was first placed online 23 Aug 1998, is currently (April 2011) being relocated.
and was last updated June, 2013.