US, Illinois, Chicago—Catholic Church Records, 1833–1910 [Part A]

Project Instructions

What Do the Records Look Like?

  • The three main types of records in this project are baptism, marriage, and burial. The following examples show some of the various types. This list is not all inclusive.
  • Because many forms were used by different parishes over a long span of time, you should study each form carefully to find the information for each field.
  • When an additional event is added to a record, such as a marriage on a birth record, it is not necessary to index the additional event. Do not add an extra record for this information. Click here to see an example.

Latin Records

  • Many of the forms are in Latin: Click here for help with Latin.
  • When you index names that were recorded in Latin, index the names as they were written in the record. Include any Latin name endings that were used in the record, and do not change the names to their equivalents in English or other languages.
  • On some records, names will be written more than once and may have different Latin endings, depending on the context. For example, a name written in the margin might have the ending "-us" (the nominative case), while the same name written in the context of a paragraph of the record might have the ending "-um" (accusative case). If you have multiple options, choose the nominative case, or the name as it is written in the margin.
  • When indexing gender, you should index the gender only if it was specifically recorded or if you can tell what it was from relationship terms, such as "son" or "daughter," or from other language clues, such as the ending of the word "sepultum" (male) or "sepultam" (female).
  • In some languages, the ending of the name also indicates, without question, the gender of the individual, and you can use this information to index the gender field. If you are not familiar with the language or the culture that the individual’s name comes from (such as Polish or Hungarian), you can skip the Gender field or return the batch for someone else to do.
  • Do not include descriptive words that were often written with the names, such as “uxor,” or wife.

International Characters

  • Names in this project may come from many cultures. If a diacritic or accent mark was used in writing a name on the record (such as the marks used in writing ò in Nicolò or à in Nicolàs), be sure to include the accent mark in indexing the name.
  • Because the names included in this record come from many cultures, you may not recognize how the diacritics were written in that language. For example, the Polish diacritic ł may be written as a "l" with a line above it and could be mistaken for a "t." ( Click here for an example.) When you are indexing a batch with names from a culture that is not familiar to you, you should take time to review the characters and diacritics used in that language, or you can return the batch for someone else to do.
  • Be aware that names in the lookup list may not follow normal alphabetic rules. Thus, the name "Nicolàs" will not be found on the lookup list after "Nicolas" but after "Nicolus."
  • If the name of a person or locality is written with a character not on your keyboard, such as the accented ò in Nicolò, please insert the character by doing the following:
    1. On the menu bar, click Edit.
    2. Click International Letters.
    3. Click on the letter you want to insert.
  • Or

    1. On the menu bar above the data entry area, click the Enter special international characters icon (which is a square with a ñ in it).
    2. Click on the letter you want to insert.
  • Not all diacritics will be available in the international character box. If you need a character that is not on the list, you can copy and paste the character that you need from this page: international character list.

Number of Records per Image

  • The data entry area is set at two records per image. You may need to add entry lines to match the actual number of records on the image. To add entry lines:
    1. On the menu bar, click Tools.
    2. Click Records per Image.
    3. Click in the Number of records box, and type the number of records on the image.
    4. Click OK.

Data Entry Screen

  • The only data entry option for this project is "form entry," which allows you to see the data entry area for just one record at a time. The data entry fields are arranged vertically, one above another in a column.
  • To advance from field to field, press Tab or Enter.
  • If you press Tab or Enter when you are on the last field of the record, the data for the current record is saved, and a blank form appears for you to enter the information for the next record.
  • If you are on the last record of the batch, a dialogue box will appear, asking if you want to add more records to the image. If the image has other records that you have not yet indexed, click in the Number of records box, and type the number of records on the image; then click OK. Otherwise, leave the number at 0 (zero), and click OK.

How to Index Surnames for Women

  • The general rule is that if no surname was recorded for a wife, do not assume a surname from the spouse. Leave the Surname field blank.
  • An exception to this rule is that if the names of a husband and wife were recorded with the word "and" or the symbol "&" between the two given names (for example, "John and Mary Smith"), the surname may be indexed for both the husband and the wife.
  • If both a maiden name and a married name (including any surnames from previous marriages) were recorded for a woman, index all surnames in the Surname field, with the maiden name first.

How to Index Twins

  • If multiple births, such as twins, were recorded on a single line, index each of them as a separate record.

Handwriting Helps

  • Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher handwriting.
  • To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill) on the toolbar just above the data entry area.
  • Additional handwriting helps (a resource for deciphering challenging handwriting).

Additional Information