Baptismal/Birth Record, Part
This is the name of the person born and baptized.
Sometimes a person was given two names. This was not a
common custom, but can be seen occurring in the middle to late 19th
Century. This was noted by the priest in Latin "binom" or "binominus". This is
NOT two different children, but one and the same child.
Twins were noted by the term "gemelli" if they were two
boys or one boy and one girl. The term "gemellae" was used if both were girls.
Usually, each of the twins would have a godfather and godmother. (Sometimes,
even more than one of each!)
Next to the name you may find a drawn cross. This means
that the newborn died shortly after birth. It may be the same day or even weeks
later. The specific date can only be determined by studying the Death Records
for the same village and parish. Sometimes, a date was added right next to the
cross signifying the date of death. Also, I have seen on some occasion that a
conscientious priest returned to the baptismal/birth record to make such a
notation for someone who had died much later in his/her life. Do not expect this
to happen all too often, though.
5. Religio (Religion)
Catholica/Ant Alia (Catholic/Non Catholic)
This is self explanatory. Sometimes, you may find the
abbreviation "r.l." or "r.g." in this column or next to the personís name.
"r.l." stands for Latin Rite (or Roman Catholic) and "r.g." stands for Greek
Rite (or Greek Catholic/Ukrainian Catholic).
This is self explanatory. This information can be used to
help you identify the sex of the name, which may be useful to someone not
familiar with Latin (or Polish/Ukrainian) first names. See more
in section on
languages and first names. Also, it can
be useful if the handwriting of the name is not clear, or if the page near the
name is smudged, torn or badly microfilmed. Two common names are often
misinterpreted by researchers taking notes too fast or sloppily: in Latin,
Franciscus and Francisca, which in Polish are Franciszek and Franciszka and in
Ukrainian Frantsishek and Frantsishka, and in English Francis and Frances.
Sometimes, the words "Legitimate" and "Illegitimate" are
not written in by the priest, but rather a separate column is used for each
status whereby the priest is to check the appropriate choice.
In the case of illegitimate births, the fatherís name was
not listed. It either will not be listed at all or it may read "Pater Ignotus"
(meaning "Unknown Father" in English). Everyone in the village, including the
priest, may have known who the real father is, but since the document is legal
both in terms of state and church law, the father can not be proven of the birth
of a child to an unwed mother.
8. Parentes (Parents)
Or Pater (Father)/ Mater (Mother)
sometimes included Conditio (literally Condition, or
and other information such as birthplace, current residence or death
Here the priest listed the names of the parents.
In the event of an illegitimate birth, as explained
above, the fatherís name was not given. Either it was left blank or the
statement "Pater Ignotus" was written in.
Records vary greatly, from year to year, priest to priest
and parish to parish, as the extent of names, generations, professions, and
other information written down.
Sometimes, only the fatherís and motherís first name with
the fatherís surname is listed. This makes for difficult research, especially
along the motherís line. Here, the parents of Leo are
listed only as "Joannes Geza and Eudocia, maiden name Michalewska".
Sometimes, the parents of the parentsí names are given, both
with the maiden names of the women, or without.
Joannes Małaniuk filius Procopi et Mariae.
Mater: Fewronia filia Gregorii et Oiniae Pilipiak. agricola loc.
(Ukrainian first names) Ivan Malaniuk son of Prokopyi and Maria.
Mother: Fevronia daughter of Hryhoryi and Oryna. local farmers.
(Polish first names) Jan Małaniuk
son of Prokop and Maria. Mother: Febronia daughter of Grzegorz and
Orina. local farmers.
Some Latin terms to watch out for are:
habit. in + place name residing in...
habitans=resident; habitat = he/she
de + place name from...
nat. in + place name born in...
natus for a man / nata for a woman
filius "son of..."
filia "daughter of..."
sometimes abbreviated for both "fil."
filius leg. legitimate son
filia leg. legitimate daughter
fil. leg. abbreviation for both
p.d. (post delicta) deceased
These last Latin terms above (filius and filia for son
and daughter) would then require the genitive case of the following name, so you
must be careful about noting the correct name. See more detail as to grammar and
its effect on the language, in particular on proper names in my section on
For showing maiden names, you may find these various
Anna de Majewska
Anna de domo Majewska or Majewskich
de domo "of the house of"
Anna ex Majewski
Anna nata Majewska
nata "born (with the maiden name)"
Pay particular attention to the names of the spouses.
Remarriage was very popular in the event of a spouseís death. Reasons based on
financial, social and religious well being vary for the individual. The surname
listed for the woman may be her maiden name, the surname of her first husband,
or the surname of her current husband. In turn, you must be careful of
these names in the future. A woman may be referred to in future records of her
childrenís and grandchildrenís births, marriages, and death records with her own
maiden name, the first husbandís surname or current surname. A thorough study of
all of the womanís ancestors, even of the entire village, is necessary in order
to track this properly. Of course, as always, you must be aware of the
possibility of priest error, or copy error when looking at the Bishopís Copies.
Profession is usually written in Latin.
The priest wrote down the names of the Godparents, at
least one Godfather and one Godmother. In some cases there may have been more
One can check for connections between the family of the
newborn and the Godparents. Of course, this can be difficult due to the lack of
information on the Godparents provided. (As noted before, there is a great
possibility that there were several people in the same village with the same
exact name, even with the same age.) However, the Godparents can lead to clues
and further research on your family history. You can also find out a little
character information on someone if he/she appears as a Godparent for several
children. Iíve personally seen a few people named as Godparent for dozens of
newborns. One can assume that this person, hopefully a direct line ancestors,
was well-liked throughout the village and parish!
In this example, the first group of grandparents are
Stefanus Pereymybida and Martha Makarowska, both of whom were farmers from the
village of Cheremoshnya/Czeremosznia. In the second group, this one child
had four grandparents, who were Joannes Labunski, Maria Gulka, Karolus Wilicz
and Maria Łopuch, who were all farmers, except for
Joannes Labunski, who was a potter.
Note that the married Godmotherís maiden
name is not usually given. Sometimes, her husband is listed with the Latin
phrase "uxor", meaning
Eva Kwiecien, uxor Henrici
Ewa Kwiecien, wife of Henryk (Pol.)
Eva Kwiecien, wife of Henrikh (Ukr.)
Often the priest or author of the record drew a "+" or
Sign of the Cross next to the names of the godparents. This "+" or Sign of
the Cross does NOT mean "deceased" as it does when it appears next to the name
of the birth child. Roman Kałużniacki shared some
important information to me and members of the
Galicia_Poland_Ukraine listserv regarding this notation. He states
that the priest was instructed to have the godparents sign the register.
In the event the godparents were illiterate, they were to draw a "+" or Sign of
the Cross. Understand that in the case of the Bishop's Copies,
obviously the priest or scribe would simply write out the name or draw the "+".
Finally, I should note that one does not frequently come across actual
signatures in the original records.
On a personal note, I like to compare the religion of the
Godparents to the religion of the parents to prove the good relations between
the Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics on the village level. I also would like
to add that there was in my village one cemetery where both Roman and Greek
Catholics were buried together. As a distant relative (7th cousin) of
mine I found in my ancestral village put it "they lived together, worked
together, and were buried together".
Another use of tracking the Godparent is to confirm that
the person was still living at that time. But again, remember that there could
have been more than one person in the village with that name.
10. Bottom Line of Record
Also found within the baptismal/birth record is some
other information that you may find interesting, if not helpful.
sometimes abbreviated as "Obs."
Here the midwife is Eudoxia Makarowska
(Eudokia in Polish, Євдокія/Ievdokiia in
"Obstrx et supra": In stead of writing the same
information over and over again, the priest may have written "ut supra" or "qui
supra" which means that this information is repeated from the line above.
of Priest who performed the baptism. There is sometimes an additional
statement written by the priest: "Ego to baptizo in nomine Patris, et Filii, et
Spiritus Sancti" "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost".
The priest may sign his name.
You may find these Latin terms:
In absteto: Another priest, either from a neighboring village or different Rite
(I have some Roman Catholic ancestors baptized by the Greek Catholic priest in
In this example, the priest was Stephanus Kuryś.
"Bapt qui supra": In stead of writing the same information over and over again,
the priest may have written "ut supra" or "qui supra" which means that this
information is repeated from the line above.
Baptismal / Birth Record, Part 1