Church records

Church records are great substitutes for missing vital records, particularly before county-level records were recorded.


On the Member website

St. Peter’s Catholic Church 1859-1909 burials (Belleville). Abstracts from Latin include name, age, date buried, date died, date buried, spouse (if married), and, if a child, the parents.


On this website

Bethel Baptist Church Minutes Index 1809-1909.

Belleville’s Methodist church histories and surname index to baptisms, marriage, and death registers, 1840-1998.

Catholic parish records

German Catholic Clergy in Illinois 1892 (PDF 128KB)

A finding aid and introduction to microfilmed records of 140 parishes in 28 southern Illinois counties.

Map of parishes in St. Clair and others in the Diocese of Belleville

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Genealogical value of church records

  • The baptism, marriage, death, or confirmation is recorded at or very close to the time of the event and written by the officiant who was present at the event. The information then scores as highly reliable in genealogy proof arguments.
  • Baptisms often cite a birth date and parental names. Statewide recording of that information was mandated in 1916.
  • Sponsors and witnesses are often related to the recipient.
  • Marriages provide parental information for the bridal couple and occasionally provide the age and place of residence, some from other counties or states. It wasn’t until circa 1878 that county-level marriage applications recorded the parents.
  • Death and burial dates are often found in church burial records, as the decedent’s age, spouse, cause of death and cemetery where buried.

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