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When researching ancestors – particularly my brick wall ancestors, I turn to the religious records in the hope I can find them mentioned there. Sadly, many of my ancestors belonged to small rural churches which rarely kept records or the church records have long since been lost.
Twice I tracked down church records only to discover the records had been removed to a church member’s home for safe keeping ….. only to be lost to fire! Twice!
I sometimes find myself “jealous” of my genealogy friends with Catholic ancestors. Oh, the records they find. Baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials……
But…. access to those records is tough. The Catholic Church has guarded its records closely. Yet, Catholic church records are some of the best-preserved records in existence, and span hundreds of years of history from the largest Christian denomination in the world.
Searching For Ancestors in the Catholic Heritage Archive
Just what can you find?
Let’s Take a Closer Look
The 10 January 1917 marriage record for Gualterum Cahill and Miriam Talbott holds a plethora of information for the genealogy researcher.
The couple was married in the Philadelphia Diocesis. Obviously, the bride and groom are named, but so much more is included! Parents of the couple are name as well as the date and place each was baptized. For the Talbott researcher, this marriage record leas us back to _____, Ireland.
Another example is this 1846 baptismal record of Catherine Talbott from the St. Patrick, Norristown Parish. Catherine’s birth date and parents are both stated.
Uh Oh ! The records are recorded in Latin….
You may find the Catholic record you are interested in is written in Latin. Don’t panic! If you are accessing this record on FindMyPast, you will find a transcription of the record. [Whew!]
The Catholic Heritage Archive at FindMyPast
Findmypast is the home to the Catholic Heritage Archive, an exclusive resource of millions of records from the Catholic church. These records – many now available to the public for the first time – are some of the best-preserved records in existence, and span hundreds of years of history from the largest Christian denomination in the world.
Historically, the Catholic Church has guarded its records closely, which is what makes this release so ground-breaking as many have never been available online or offline. It was the Canonical duty of every Priest in every Parish to preserved these records and keep them safe. Accordingly, these records contain details of:
- Congregational records and more
The Catholic Heritage Archive includes Dioceses from England, Scotland, Ireland and North America, and more records are coming online all the time. In 2017, Findmypast released records from the Archdioceses of Philadelphia in the USA and Birmingham and Westminster in England, as well as total coverage in Ireland and additional Dioceses in Scotland and England. In 2018, Findmypast has announced that it will be digitizing records from:
- New York
- Liverpool (UK)
- Middlesbrough (UK)
- Northampton (UK)
- Plus, every Archdiocese and Diocese in Scotland
If you are researching Catholic ancestors, you will definitely want to keep an eye on their digitization progress!
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