The baptismal certificates (Exhibits C and D) are likewise not public papers or writings since the parochial records of baptisms are not public or official records because they are not held by public authorities and give no proof of the child's relationship or filiation. They are merely private documents maintained by the parents.
Baptismal certificates are useful to show that a person has been baptized in the Catholic Church. The priest who performs the baptism can issue a certificate which can be used as evidence of this fact before the church and in legal proceedings. However, such documents are not required by law to be given legal effect.
In the United States, where religious freedom is provided for under the First Amendment to the Constitution, churches have the right to decide what role, if any, they want to play in issuing baptismal certificates. Some churches may choose to do so as a matter of policy while others may see no need for such documentation.
In Canada, where freedom of religion is provided for under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, churches have the right to determine their own policies with respect to baptismal certificates.
In Australia, where freedom of religion is provided for under the Australian Constitution, churches have the right to determine their own policies with respect to baptismal certificates.
Baptismal Certificate: The baptismal certificate must be presented to your parish office. If your parents do not have a personal copy of your baptismal certificate, you may obtain one from the parish where you were baptised. If the church has since closed, contact the diocese where it was situated. It may be possible to order a copy of the record.
They are not permitted to be duplicated for legal reasons. Baptismal certificates are useful for personal history and genealogy since they provide information about a person's life that is not available elsewhere. However, they are completely useless for legal reasons.
Churches offer baptism certificates, so you might be able to uncover one among historical documents. Few individuals who were baptized as newborns have such documents, unless their parents kept them and handed them down to them. However, it never hurts to start your search with documents in storage, such as those in an old picture book or tucked away in a Bible.
In addition to church records, civil records are available from government agencies that include information on births, marriages, and deaths. These records are public records and anyone can access them free of charge. Some examples of civil record categories include birth indexes, marriage licenses, death certificates, and property tax records.
Baptism certificates are often stored with other personal papers in archives or history centers. The location will vary depending on the denomination. For example, if you're searching for a Lutheran baptism certificate, look under "archives" at the local library or church history center. You may need to ask for help finding the right document.
Individual churches may keep copies of baptismal registers dating back several generations. To search for these records, contact the pastor or church historian of the baptizing congregation. They will be able to direct you to the proper repository.
Making contact with the church Find the church where the baptism took place. Many churches keep records of the baptisms that have taken place within their gates. You may be able to request a copy of your or your child's baptismal record straight from them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a website with information about finding a church near you find a church.
Contacting the Records Department Of course, if you cannot find the church where the baptism took place, one option is to search through LDS archives. To do so, you will need an official reference for the baptism (i.e., a name or date). You can view our online guide to help you make contact with the records department: Contacting Our Archives.
If you have not been able to make contact with the church where the baptism took place, it may be time to start looking elsewhere. Have you contacted other religious groups in your area? Some religions hold on to baptism records until they are destroyed (e.g., Hindu temples).
Searching Online For guidance on how to search online for information related to your ancestor's baptism, see Searching the Family History Library Catalog.