Tutorial 3 - Understanding Parish Baptismal Records


In this tutorial, you will use the flash list, learn to locate and recognize patterns and read some basic words and phrases frequently used in baptismal records of French speaking countries. The following will have exerpts from several baptismal records taken before 1793. The purpose here is to 1) recognize the type of record, and 2) locate and recognize phrases and words 3) extract only the vital information you need, not read the whole of the document, 4) and, finally, examining records, and pull out the revelant information..

Note about handwriting styles. .Refer to the Baptism Flash List If you don't have Microsoft Word, download this free fully functional office program at OpenOffice. You can easily convert a microsoft doc to the OpenOffice version.

Understanding Church Baptism records:
Before 1793, baptismal (baptême) records were the only offical documentation for a person appearing in the world. It had taken place at sometime, and it was recorded by representatives of the Catholic Church. A child could be baptised the same or following day, or several years after birth. The Protestant Churches also recorded their baptisms in much the same way.

Unless specified, I will be using examples from records of France

  • Finding the phrasing for family members in a baptismal/birth record is one of the more easier tasks to learn as it mostly requires the use of fils/fille. The extractable information usually contains: Date of baptism, sex and name of child, names of parents, names of witnesses, possibly their relationship to child, and hopefully places of residence or birth of parents
  • Examples here:
    Jules Nicolle fils de Elie Pierre Nicolle et de Julie Joséphine Dubois
    Jules Nicolle son of Elie Pierre Nicolle and of Julie Joséphine Dubois

    Julie Joséphine Dubois fille de Hubert Dubois et de Julie Félicité Paris
    Julie Joséphine Dubois, daughter of Hubert Dubois and Julie Félicité Paris

  • Examples of an early 1700 record:
    Underlined words tells us what kind of record
    Bolded words means extractable information
    All other words not bolded or underlined -not important

  • Example- limited information:
    Aujourd'hui, lundy, quatorze jour de février, mil sept cent trente un
    Today, Monday, 14 day of Febuarty, 1731
    prêtre curé, baptisé une fille
    Priest baptized a girl
    neé du legitimate mariage de Robert Paris et de Estienne Morin
    born of legitimate marriage of Robert Paris and of Estienne Morin
    age de trois jours, nomme de Anne.
    Age of 3 days, name of Anne

    Extracted Information
    Type of Record: Baptism
    Date of Record: Monday, Febuary 14 1731
    Date of Birth: Febuary 11, 1731
    Place of Baptism: (not mentioned in document)
    Name, Sex, Age of Child: Anne, female, 3 days old
    Names of Parents: Robert Paris and Estienne Morin (legitimate marriage)

  • Another Example with a little more Information:
    Marie Anne, neé dujour l'hier du legitimate mariage de Hubert Mongnet et Marie Le Breton -
    Marie Anne born yesterday of legitimate marriage of Hubert Mongnet and Marie Le Breton
    aujourd'hui mercredi, seize 9bre mil sept cent soixante quinze baptise
    Today, Wednesday 16 November 1775
    baptisé par prêtre curé (name of priest) -
    baptised by parish priest
    par Georges Mongnet et Marie Anne Mongnet, parrain et marraine
    Baptism by Georges Mongnet and Marie Anne Mongnet, godfather and godmother

    Extractable information:
    Type of Record: Baptism
    Date of Baptism: Nov 16 1775
    Date of Birth: Nov 15, 1775
    Name, Sex and Age of Child: Marie Anne Mongnet, female, 1 day
    Names of Parents: Hubert Mongnet and Marie Le Breton,
    Names of Godparents: Georges Mongnet and Marie Anne Mongnet

  • Another example - expanded information:
    L'Ans Mil Sept Cent cinquante neuf, dix-huit d'avril,
    The year 1759, 18 of April ___ prêtre curé de la paroisse de St Contest
    Parish Priest of the parish of St Contest
    baptisé un fils age de un jour
    baptized a boy age of one day (this will be how you calculate the birthday from record date)
    né du et en legitimate mariage of Jean Vachon né à Vire
    born of and to legitimate marriage of Jean Vachon born in/at Vire, ,
    et de Perrette Le Herchier née à Blangy
    and of Perrette Le Herchier, born in/at Blangy
    ses père et mere
    his father and mother
    nomme de Pierre
    name of Pierre
    par Pierre Le Herchier et Catherine Verger ses parrain et marraine,
    by Pierre Le Herchier and Catherine Verger, his godfather and godmother
    l'oncle et la tante de l'enfant
    The uncle and the aunt of the baby

    Extractable Information:
    Type of record: Baptism
    Place of Baptism: Saint Contest (Calvados, France)
    Date of Record: April 18, 1759
    Date of Birth: April 17, 1759
  • French Belgian, Luxembourgish, and French Canadian Records
    Baptismal records from these counties follow the same patterns, give the same kind of varied information, but most of parishes from early 1600s-mid 1700s will be written in Latin. Because of the fluxuating control between the French and Germans, Luxembourg records will be written in either German or French.
  • Words about deceased parents and/or spouses
    How many different ways can one say the person is dead? You'd be surprised.

    If a spouse or parents are deceased, usually the record will indicate it in either these ways: décèse,'veuf(m),veuve(f) de "feu(m),feue(f)...(name of deceased person), mort (m) morte (f). de defunt (m), de defunte (f), des defunts (both parents are dead).
    example: Philippe Morenier veuf de feue Marie Catherine Mahut = Philippe Morenier widower of deceased (or "the late") Marie Catherine Mahut

    de defunt is masuline, comes either before or after the father's or male spouse's name.
    de defunte is female, comes before or after the name of the mother or female spouse listed
    des defunts means both parents are dead, comes before the name of the first parent listed examples:
    Justine Morenier fille des defunte Leopold Morenier et Marie Catherine Mahut..(sometimes décès is added after the name)
    Marie Catherine Mahut fille de defunt Henri Mahut et de Marie Catherine Berque

  • In the next tutorial, you will examine baptismal records from France and French Canada and of varying years before the Revolution. of France, and French Canada. I'll not be using French Belgium because, during that time, they were written in Latin..

    Go To Baptism Records Example #1 -->


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