Parish Registers







Parish records, BMS registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) or parish registers are registers or records of the baptisms, marriages and burials celebrated in a parish.

The parish priest records and dates the acts of the Christian sacraments of baptism and marriage conferred upon members of his parish. These records have existed in the first place in the Catholic church. Today, these practices have been adopted by other Christian communities as well. By extension, the Christian burial of deceased parishioners performed by the priest, deacon or other minister in the parish are also saved in a burial register.

These records give us the oldest direct information on families. In fact, through baptismal records, they give evidence of direct links between one generation and the next. Through marriage records, this is the evidence of links between two families. They are also the only evidence of existence of our ancestors who lived in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Certificate of Baptism

A birth certificate shows:
Full name of the baptized;
Full names of parents, sometimes the profession;
Full name of godfather and godmother. The relationship is sometimes indicated. This information is very interresting because they allow tracing the parents or relatives of the father or the mother.

To find a baptismal certificate, one must know the date and place of birth.

Certificate of religious marriage

Names, ages of the married;
Mention of their situation:
of age or minor, a widow or widower;
Name and surname of parents
who died with the mention or deceased or not  if it is the case;
If parents are not indicated, it will note the witnesses. It must also be looking for the baptisms of children of the couple. Parents can be sponsors;
Full names of witnesses. The links are not always indicated but they are of great interest when parents' names are not indicated. We must, in this case, search for other acts where parents can be included.

Signatures indicate those present at the wedding


Marginal annotations

     - Dispensations of consanguinity
     - Exemptions affinity
     - Children born before marriage recognition


To find a religious marriage certificate, you must know the place and date of marriage and the parish.

Burial certificate

The burial register is kept by the parish priest who records the funeral of a deceased member of the parish.
A burial certificate states:
Full name of the deceased;
His age: it is generally believed. There can be large differences between the estimated age and the actual age. Age is generally not indicated in the very anciensheure acts and place of death;
The date and place of burial: date of death is not always indicated. The place of burial is either the cemetery, the church or chapel of the parish. Interment rarely takes place the day of death, except in specific cases, or the next day in principle;
The name and surnames of the persons present;Kinship links are sometimes indicated;
The quality or title of the person: honorable person etc;
The cause of death;
The names and names of witnesses.


It is essential to know the place and date of burial to be able to find the burial certificate and therefore the date of death.

Nice and useful sites

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