NorthernIrelandGenWeb-L ArchivesArchiver > NorthernIrelandGenWeb > 2012-04 > 1335142323
From: "Karen Hoy" <>
Subject: Re: [NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB] NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB Digest, Vol 7,Issue 14
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:52:03 -0400
After the Council of Trent in 1563, Catholic parishes were obliged to keep
sacramental records for members (and they are to this day.) For some
parishes, these records weren't kept until the mid 1600s. Even to this day,
the church of Baptism is obligated to hold all sacramental records of an
individual. So, receipt of the Sacraments of Initiation--Eucharist or
Communion and Confirmation-- should be documented on the Baptismal record,
as should Marriage and Holy Orders. People moved around, and record keeping
isn't always what it should be, but you can try and it should be noted on
the back of the Baptism record. Go back to the parish where the Baptism
occurred. This was the process for both the RC church then and now, and for
the Church of Ireland and Episcopal church. It's a treasure to find these
In the RC tradition and with the Episcopal churches I have researched, these
records are considered private, and you must use the church or diocesan
librarians for research. There is usually a small donation, but the
information is great.
[mailto:] On Behalf Of Juliana
Sent: Saturday, April 21, 2012 12:44 PM
Subject: Re: [NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB] NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB Digest, Vol
Yvonne, Wendy, and listers,
Another reason for requesting a baptismal certificate from another church,
whether or not there is a birth certificate, may have something to do with
the local church at the time.
If RC, it may have something do do with Confirmation or Marriage. Age 15
for Mary Jane ALLEN could be either, I suppose. Or simply moving from a
second parish to third when the second parish's records aren't available. A
need to prove that she had been baptized as a Catholic for whatever was
happening to her at age 15 might be the key.
I would like to know what others' experience or thoughts are. Here is my
own experience in USA records with immigrants from Cork (RC), Londonderry /
Derry (Scots Presbyterian), Scotland and England. I have no experience with
UK church records but think some of this may be transferrable:
1) I am not sure how RC churches keep track of this information, but when I
contacted a rural California parish years ago for information about my
grandmother (1874-1917), I received a modern birth certificate, but also a
typed summary of sacramental events, locations and dates: baptism and
confirmation in that parish, marriage years later in a parish hundreds of
miles away, and death / burial in yet another parish. All parish registers
in those localities are now in Archdiocesan archives and if I wrote today
and asked for certificates of these events, my guess is that is all I would
get -- at something like US$ 25. I was happy to make a donation to the very
helpful parish secretary, and she was happy to have fuller information on
an early parish family for a future church history.
2) f Protestant / "dissenter": In some religious traditions, there is a
certificate of transferral that is recorded at both ends -- for
genealogical purposes one can often tell when a family left one parish and
where they were going, and at the other end who was admitted as a
communicant and from where. This can be seen in parish registers, Friends'
Monthly Meeting minutes, and so on. I have seen images on the web recently
for US Methodists (sometimes organized by itinerant minister or "circuit
rider" instead of parish), Presbyterians, and Anglican / Episcopalians.
3) I have seen one original family certificate of transferral from 1800
that was kept by the firstborn, perhaps as the equivalent of a birth
certificate -- it was handwritten on a small piece of parchment by a
Presbyterian minister in rural Pennsylvania, USA, briefly (1-2 sentences,
signature, and denomination--I suspect there was no "church") introducing
the parents as leaving in good standing and the infant as having been
baptized. When the child died in Mexico (age 46) he had lived in NY, OH,
and Washington, DC. and had become a Methodist in OH. It was deposited by
his last descendants (along with a lock of hair but mostly his important
political papers) in a private research archive devoted to scholarly
research (PhD and above). So such things must have been kept by individuals
and descendants and may be out there "somewhere." Finding an image of the
register rather than (or +) requesting a new birth certificate is the key.
4) I have seen Presbyterian and Methodist registers (or images of same)
with the basic "to" or "from" information and date, and Friends' minutes
often are available as abstracted information, organized by Annual Meeting.
The AM region often include parts of several geographical entities but with
the name of the city where the annual meeting was held, and the size of the
region may change over time, so you need to keep that in mind. Methodists
had a similar structure (churches, circuits, and annual conferences) in the
19th C and I infer Baptists did too. In the USA this becomes important as
Methodist and Baptist membership expanded while Anglican / Episcopalian and
Presbyterian shrank, unless sustained by immigration from the UK.
5) I infer that letters of dismissal also were given to members who were
expelled. Dismissal could happen for a whole variety of reasons, from
personal beliefs (pro- or anti-slavery, for instance), behavior (holding
slaves, helping slaves escape, marrying outside the religious tradition,
not getting married soon enough -- the pregnancy "shows" too soon after the
religious ceremony). The dismissal is recorded at one end but it just never
occurred to me anyone would carry a certificate of dismissal around with
them and present it to another congregation of the same or different
denomination. But I have just learned that in a modern revision (2012) of a
local (OH) Baptist congregation, admission into membership can be by
"Christian" experience, and one can demonstrate that by simply just saying
one had been baptized as a Christian, for instance. The language was in
earlier (20th C) versions of this particular congregation. I am not sure
whether it goes back to the 1831 founding. I think it might, and will ask.
It has a progressive tradition (abolition, Underground Railroad, universal
suffrage, welcoming and affirming of diversity, including sexual
orientation / preference, etc), In 2011 an adult who had moved away in the
early 1970's was received back into membership by requesting and then
presenting a letter of transferral from the previous church (a progressive
Methodist congregation) and I gather the transaction was a happy one one
both sides. So in this instance it was the general philosophical stance
rather than the denomination that was important.
6) Given the history of political debates, schisms and mergers, plus
conversions by "altar calls," in Protestant traditions, I suspect the
practice of presenting a letter of dismissal and having it recorded (not
the reason, perhaps), as well as transferral from one denomination to
another, might be much more widespread. It would allow a 70-year old who
was kicked out of one church for a particular stance or behavior that was
near and dear to a neighboring church's heart to present the letter of
dismissal (as sort of a letter of recommendation) than a birth certificate,
even if they still had one.
7) Why I have been so slow to think of looking for a record of a dismissal
on the receiving end is that I just could not imagine that a Quaker couple
would want to present a letter of dismissal for "fornication" when they
moved with their telltale firstborn to another area (same AM but different
MM). So thanks for stimulating this line of thinking. Now I will have to
look. Maybe there was an implicit term limit on such dismissals, or the
equivalent of early release for good behavior.
On Sat, Apr 21, 2012 at 3:00 AM, <
> Today's Topics:
> 1. Re: George ALLEN-Belfast 1927 (Yvonne Cooper)
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2012 13:39:28 +1000
> From: Yvonne Cooper <>
> Subject: Re: [NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB] George ALLEN-Belfast 1927
> To: ""
> Message-ID: <>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Thanks Wendy, unfortunately the 1891 census has George ALLEN born at
> Islington in 1885 but I have checked many birth records and certificates
> and cross-checked with census records and I still can't find a birth
> certificate for him or his sister Mary Jane ALLEN. I have her baptism
> certificate which was issued by the church in Notting Hill 23 Feb 1907
> (age 15) giving her birthdate as 26 Feb 1892 so I am assuming she got that
> because there was no birth certificate. I have two baptism records and
> birth registrations for two siblings who were born in Cork Ireland.
> they just did not bother to register the births in England.
> I know his parentage, he wrote a letter in 1927 trying to find his sister
> in Australia. His parents were George ALLEN and Teresa Agnes GREEN.
> I would like to know about his life, did he live in Belfast until he died,
> did he have a family?
> best wishes, Yvonne Cooper
> > From: > Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 23:25:53 +1000
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: [NORTHERNIRELANDGENWEB] George ALLEN-Belfast 1927
> > If he had siblings born in England, it would be easier to determine
> which of the numerous George Allens born in London that year he was.
> > http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/cgi/search.pl
> > Best wishes from Wendy
> > On 19/04/2012, at 9:54 AM, Yvonne Cooper wrote:
> > >
> > > Hi I am looking for information about or descendants of, George ALLEN.
> > > He lived at 6 White Street, Belfast on 8th September 1927.
> > > His parents were George ALLEN and Teresa Agnes GREEN(e) and they were
> married at St Finbarrs Roman Catholic Church in Cork City, 30 Apr 1876.
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