Ohio Roman Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This wiki article describes a collection that is scheduled to become available for free online at FamilySearch Record Search.

Collection Time Period

This information pertains to church records created 1796-2004. 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 1700’s. 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. As 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, 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 Roman Catholic Church tested the religious knowledge of those who had been baptized as infants and then confirmed them a member of the church. 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 members are, 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. Churches performed confirmations and were required to record the names of those that were confirmed members of the church.

Record Reliability

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.

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 at http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/cac/.

Record Content

Genealogical information in church birth and 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 husbands and wives, 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 and birth records of christenings (baptisms) 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 Websites

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Sources of This Collection

How to Cite Your Sources

Instructions for citing this source can be found at: Cite Your Sources (Source Footnotes)

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