Baptismal/Birth Record, Part
Click on any part of the record below for a description and to go to that
explanation. Or you can scroll down the page on your own.
The parish priest kept a record of all baptisms and
births in the parish. Before 1784 the records for all the villages in the parish
were kept together. However, after 1784, records for each particular village
were kept separately. They may have been bound in the same book, but a separate
listing for each village was organized alphabetically by village, year by year.
When searching for ancestors, never concentrate solely on
one village, or even one parish for that matter. Although itís commonly thought
that people never moved great distances outside their birth village, you will
find people often marrying into families in neighboring villages and/or
Explanation of each column
Often the first column to the left is found the Serial
or Position Number. The priest numbered each record of baptism/birth
sequentially: (1, 2, 3, etc.). Each year the priest started over with
number one. This was done to show that no oneís name could have been added
or removed at a later date.
This simple information can be used by the genealogist
to help cite information for your own family history. This extra citation
will ensure your proper record keeping. Of course, it is not essential.
However, if you would like this extra "protection", especially if the birth
record contains names in a foreign language, in particular a foreign
alphabet, you may do this. Furthermore, by tracking the sequential numbering
of the births, one can determine any missing pages or pages out of order
(which sometimes happens when researching microfilmed copies that may have
been microfilmed out of order).
On some forms, this information is not found.
For example, the graphic found at the very top of this page does not have
the column, but still shows that the priest kept a running number order in
You should note both of these dates and not just the
birth. Many genealogists concern themselves only with the actual birth date.
However, one should keep both. Sometimes you may find ripped pages or pages not
properly microfilmed where youíll only find one of the dates. Make sure that you
mark it correctly as either the birth or the baptism, depending on which one of
the two is present.
Be careful when noting the month and year. Often the
month and year is not written for each and every personís listing, only the
date. Carefully backtrack to the last month and year listed. Do so carefully so
as to not skip a month or year and mark the wrong one down. Be careful of this
especially when researching at an archive where photocopying is not available.
Unlike using microfilm at a local Family History Center, you may not easily have
a chance to return to the originals to verify your note-taking.
The months will usually be in Latin. This should not be a
problem if the month is written out as the Latin resembles the English. In older
Greek Catholic records, you may find the month in Church Slavic. Again, this
will be easy IF you can read the Cyrillic alphabet since the Church Slavic terms
also resemble the English. For a list of months in different languages,
visit my page on
Note the confusion over the written number of the month,
in the case of 7-bris, 8-bris, 9-bris, and 10-bris (or 7ber, 8ber, 9ber, 10ber).
These are NOT the numbers correlated to the way we count months today! They are
based on the old calendar where the first month of the year wasnít January, but
March. This makes sense if you look at the Latin meaning behind these four
months. Study the roots of these months:
"Sept" stands for Seven (7) in Latin.
7-bris is September, not July
"Octo" stands for Eight (8) in Latin.
Think of the word "octagon"
"Novem" stands for Nine (9) in Latin.
"Decem" stands for Ten (10) in Latin.
Think "decade" or "decagram"
8-bris is October, not August
9-bris is November, not September
10-bris is December, not October
Poland adopted the Gregorian Calendar (the one we use
today) in 1582. The Greek Catholic church records were kept in the Gregorian
Calendar. This is different than record keeping in neighboring Russian Empire,
which kept the Julian Calendar until 1918. Depending on the year, there is about
a two week difference between the two calendars.
After the tsarís government ended, the newly formed USSR
adopted the Gregorian Calendar. So, the day after January 31, 1918 was February
13, 1918. (In the mid 1800ís, the difference was usually 12 days.) As a side
note, some branches of the Orthodox church today still officially use the Julian
Calendar. As you can see, this makes for easier research in Halychyna/Eastern
Galicia than it does for our genealogical colleagues researching ancestors in
the Russian Empire.
Click here to see a
detailed description, important usage, and often misunderstood column
Baptismal / Birth Record, Part 2...