St. Henry (East St. Louis) Catholic Parish Records
Compilation Copyright 2019, Gloria Dettleff. Donated to and for the use of the
St. Clair County Genealogical Society (SCCGS), as per Agreement, May, 2019.
The compiler, and SCCGS volunteers who proofread the compilation, did so in good faith to the best of their ability using images of the church records online at FamilySearch.
SCCGS and the compiler strongly recommend researchers verify information provided here with the original image at FamilySearch. Should that image also be unsatisfactory, request help from the Archives of the Diocese of Belleville at (618) 722-5057.
Researchers are urged to correlate information here with that found in other records before forming conclusions about a person, family, or event researched. Such records may include cemetery, census, land, obituary, and/or probate records.
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About the Parish
St. Henry’s Catholic Church in East St. Louis was a “church without borders”, established in 1866 so that German immigrants residing throughout the area could attend services in their native language. The parish was part of the Diocese of Alton until 1887 when the Diocese of Belleville was created. Services were held in a frame church until the brick one was erected in 1873 at East Broadway and North Sixth Streets. It was heavily damaged in the tornado of 1896. The congregation dwindled markedly in the 20th century. The parish closed in 1985 and the church and rectory were razed the following year.
Priests assigned to this parish from 1866 through 1868 were the Revs. A.B. Rinckes, S. Wegener, G. Leve, and William Schamoni. The Rev. Christopher Koenig served as parish priest from 1869 until his death in 1901. He was succeeded by the the Rev. William Cluse; and the Revs. Frank Bergman, C. Goelz, and F. Beuchmann.
Ground for St Henry’s Cemetery on State Street, East St. Louis, was purchased 23 February 1870, the oldest cemetery within the city limits in which Catholics were buried until the 1890s. Thereafter, interments continued at Mt. Carmel (Belleville); the parish’s new cemetery, Holy Cross in Fairview Heights (established on 14 July 1907); and other locations. Eventually, remains of those still interred in the original cemetery on State Street were removed to Holy Cross.
Burnett, Betty. A Time of Favor: The Story of the Catholic Family of Southern Illinois. St. Louis, Mo.: Patrice Press, 1987.
Jacobus, Bill. “St. Henry’s Catholic Church of East St. Louis, Illinois.” History of St. Clair County, Illinois, Volume I. Belleville, Ill.: St. Clair County Genealogical Society, 1988.
St. John’s Orphanage edition of The Messenger. History of the Diocese of Belleville. 1919. Belleville, Ill: Published by Joseph Nicholas Buechler.
- Terminology reflects the time period and Roman Catholic Canon Law, both have changed over time.
- Not all entries were recorded in strict chronological order for reasons unknown to the compilers.
- The quality of the original entries or images of those entries at FamilySearch may affect the accuracy of information in this database. In a few instances, proofreaders searched Illinois marriages, the U.S. census, or this parish’s other sacramental records to help decipher the spelling of an abbreviated name, e.g., Jos or Jas (Joseph or James).
- SCCGS also microfilmed records of this church to 1930, located in its holdings at the Belleville Public Library.
- A finding aid with sequence of records on the microfilm is available for St. Henry, East St. Louis, on reels 20, 21, and 22.
- The microfilm may include additional events or record books not available from FamilySearch. The reverse may also apply.
- Images at FamilySearch are of superior quality.
Baptisms 1867 – 1907
- Generally, infant baptisms took place a few weeks after birth; the year baptized ordinarily was written at the top of the page. Unless otherwise written by the priest, the appropriate year born and baptized was added by the compiler.
- A parent’s location might refer to place born or current residence.
- Sponsors may be relatives.
Burials 1869 – 1957
- Missing or unrecorded: There are no surviving burial entries for the years 1884, and 1912-1923
- Burial places, when mentioned in the record book, are included in this data table.
Marriages 1867 – 1931 (bulk)
- Twenty-two (22) marriages 1931 – 1955 were written in the Baptismal register on pages 82 – 84 rather than the marriage register. These appear in the marriage data table on this website.
- A bride or groom’s location may refer to current residence, or perhaps place born. Further research suggestions (below) may help pinpoint the exact town of birth for immigrants.
- Brackets [ ] surround notes and observations added by Ms. Dettleff.
- Terminology denoting skin color was retained to reflect historical usage and genealogical clues. “See record” indicates the original record or image should be viewed for words not translated or phrases that require professional translation and interpretation.
- Cramped or flamboyant penmanship were challenging to decipher.
- Similar letter forms were k and h; e and a; C and K, for example. Researchers should include these spelling variations in each search.
Name spelling and pronunciation
- Given names abbreviated in the church book are spelled out when the English equivalent is certain (Elizabeth for Eliz., Louis for Ludovicus). For those of German heritage, names were translated with that heritage in mind, e.g., Johann instead of John; Heinrich rather than Henry; Carl for Charles. When no apparent equivalent was known or ambiguous, the Latin name or initials were transcribed. For example, G might represent Gustavus [Gustav] or Gulielmus [William].
- Surnames spoken with a heavy German accent may have been spelled as heard, e.g., B and P sound similar (Bopp for Popp); G and K (Graus for Kraus), D and T, and W for V (Wogel for Vogel). Include spelling variations in your searches. Slovak and Bohemian given names were translated in good faith but may not be accurate.
- Researchers are advised to determine the name by which the person was called by comparing information on this website to other independently created records.
- Obituaries and tombstone inscriptions, will or estate records, and civil birth, death, or marriage certificates may fill in record gaps or provide more information about the people in this database. See Links offsite.
- Larobadier and Pensoneau. St. Henry’s Catholic Church, East St. Louis, Illinois, Baptisms, 1867–28 May 1930 (2005). Located at the Belleville Public Library downtown and St. Louis County Library on Lindbergh. A limited edition manuscript.
- If a person died in Missouri 1910-1968, their death certificate may be digitized and freely accessed on the Missouri Secretary of State web site. That site also has abstracts of pre-1910 death records but not images.
Sample citation to a specific record in this database
Gloria Dettleff, compiler, “St. Henry (East St. Louis [Illinois]) Catholic Church Baptisms (1867 – 1907) A-F,” St. Clair County Genealogical Society (https://stclair-ilgs.org : date viewed); [ancestor’s name, date of baptism].
Sample citation to a digital image of the original church register
FamilySearch provides a citation with each image on its website.
- Latin language aids
- French language word list
- Given names translated from French and Latin into English, courtesy American-French Genealogical Society.
St. Clair County Genealogical Society, PO Box 431, Belleville, IL 62222-0431.
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