What can these records tell me?

With every result, you will find an image of the original transcript from the diocese archive and a transcript of the pertinent details about your ancestor. The amount of information you find in each record can vary depending on the age of the record, its legibility, and the amount of information recorded by the parish priest at the time of the event. Within most transcripts, you will find the following facts:

  • Name
  • Birth year
  • Birth date
  • Baptism year
  • Baptism date
  • Church
  • Parish
  • Deanery
  • Diocese
  • County
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Archive
  • Archive reference
  • Document type
  • Page
  • Records year range

Images may provide additional information about your ancestor such as the names of your ancestor’s godparents, the minister who performed the baptism, and residence. Some registers will even include notes about the individual’s marriage.

Earlier church records were written freehand in register books, but in later years, they were recorded formally in printed registers. Until the 1960s, Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church. Therefore, until that time, many official church records were recorded in Latin. Even the names of individuals were Latinized.

Common Latin words or phrases found on England Roman Catholic baptism records

  • Baptizandi - baptized
  • Cognomen - surname
  • Die - day
  • Domicilium - residence
  • Filia or Filius - daughter or son
  • Matrina fuit - godmother was
  • Mensis - month
  • Natus - birth
  • Patrinus fuit - godfather was
  • Sponsoribus - sponsors
  • Discover more about these records

    This collection of Roman Catholic baptisms includes records from Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Plymouth, Salford, Southwark and Westminster. Records are available to view up to 1913. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales placed a 110-year closure period on all sacramental records. Some of the parishes within these dioceses have retained their sacramental registers and are not included in the collection. Most of the sacramental registers date from the 19th century. Prior to 1918 most parishes were loosely organised into missions.

    The Roman Catholic Church in England has a long and tumultuous history. From the years of the Reformation until the Catholic Relief Acts of the late 18th century, Catholics were persecuted and denied many privileges in English society. Members of the Roman Catholic Church were not allowed to attend universities, sit as Members of Parliament, purchase land, or even worship openly. However, these restrictions were not always enforced, and there are many examples of exceptions. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Parliament began to pass a series of relief acts, which reversed their restrictions. In 1791, Catholic worship was legalised, and they were relieved of particular educational and political limitations. Prior to the legalisation of Catholic worship, Roman Catholic missions were often attached to foreign embassies for protection. For example, Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory of Warwick Street was traditionally under the protection of the Bavarian embassy.

    Catholicism in England also celebrates a rich history of devotional and charitable works—from the legacies of Saints Thomas More, Thomas Becket, and Margaret Ward to the numerous educational institutions. The Catholic Church grew from the 19th century onwards, especially with the influx of immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Ukraine.