Baptism Records and Baptism Certificates

 

 

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Finding Baptism Records and Baptism Certificates

Baptism Records and the Search to Find Them

Baptism Certificates are religious documents that are often accepted as legal documents as well. It is important to secure your Baptism Certificate in a safe location in the event that you may need it later. In fact, Baptism is necessary as a precursor to other sacraments including Confirmation and Marriage.

Baptism records are used as proof that an individual has been baptized into a particular faith. Typically, a copy of our official Baptism Certificate is provided to our families at the time of the Baptism. Since this happens when we are very young, it is quite possible that our Baptism Certificate may accidentally become misplaced or irretrievably lost.

Typically, it is not necessary to have an actual copy of your Baptismal Certificate when you are going to receive another sacrament. If you are receiving the sacrament from the same church or parish in which you received Baptism, the staff will simply check their records.

If you have moved out of your original parish or church, then you will need to contact the original church for the information. In most cases, the staff from one church or parish will simply contact the staff at the other church or parish. The specific information that is requested will be given and verified over the telephone.

Fortunately, Baptism Certificates are easy to locate, as long as the original church remains open. The search for a copy of our Baptism Certificate should always begin at the church of origin since this is the most likely place to locate it. The request for a copy can be made either by telephone or by mail. Typically, the church does not request a fee for this service. However, a donation to the church is always acceptable.

When the church closes due to financial reasons or the lack of a congregation, then it may become a bit more difficult to locate our official Baptism records. If this is the situation that you have encountered, then you will need to contact the church that took over the geographic location of your original church.

Typically, you will contact the church that is the closest to the location of the old church. However, if the area is a heavily populated one, you may need to scout around a bit to locate the right church to contact. If this proves to be too difficult, you can always contact the main branch of your religious faith and ask them directly.

Generally, the following information is found on the Baptismal Certificate:
• Full name given to the Baptized individual- usually this is also his or her birth name
• Full name of the individual’s mother
• Full name of the individual’s father
• Full name of the church where the individual is baptized
• Exact date the Baptism ceremony took place
• Full name of the godmother or first sponsor of the individual
• Full name of the godfather or the second sponsor of the individual

In some cases, either the names of the parents or the names of the godparents might be excluded, depending upon the church and its religious affiliation. When requesting a copy of your records, it is a good idea to provide the above information, since it will make the search easier for the individual making it.

Additionally, providing all of the above information aids in verifying that the correct Baptism Certificate is being provided. Many names are common and therefore, it is possible that two individuals did receive the sacrament of Baptism on the same date. Perhaps the year that the Baptism was received is different but the actual month and day are the same. In that case, having additional information can prove to be useful.

In the event that you have received your Baptism on a United States Military Base, then you will need to contact the military archdiocese for your records or for an official copy of your Baptismal Certificate. The military archdiocese prefers to receive such requests in writing including postal mail, fax, or e-mail.

It will be necessary to provide as much information as possible. However, at the very least, you need to provide the full name of the baptized individual, the exact date of the Baptism, and the military base at which the Baptism was received. The request may take up to three full weeks to get processed, although two weeks is the average.

To request an official copy of a Baptism Certificate from the Military Archdiocese:
• Send a fax to 202-269-9022
• Send an e-mail to info@milarch.org
• Send a written request to:
Archdiocese of the Military Services, U.S.A.
415 Michigan Avenue, N.E.
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20017-1518

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