Using Indexed Records on (and a Question for You)

Using Indexed Records on (and a Question for You)

Here’s that post I promised on tracking down my grandfather in Texas church records using indexed information in I kept up with my Google blog reader (sometimes at 3 a.m.) while on maternity leave, so I noticed the regular record updates at

Here’s that post I promised on tracking down my grandfather in Texas church records using indexed information in

I kept up with my Google blog reader (sometimes at 3 a.m.) while on maternity leave, so I noticed the regular record updates at That’s how I got a surprise hit on my grandfather while casually searching collections from states my ancestors lived in.

The match, from the collection Texas Births and Christenings, 1840-1981, has indexed information (so, no image of the record itself) from a church baptismal register in Gonzales, Texas:

The information was close to a baptismal certificate I already had from our family papers. In 1960, my grandma wrote the church where my grandfather was baptized to request the baptismal record. Apparently she needed it so my grandfather, who didn’t have a birth certificate, could participate in his company pension program. Here’s what the priest sent her:

I was never 100 percent confident in the birth information on this certificate, since it was created when he was almost 60 and my research gives two birthdates and places for my grandfather. So I was excited when I saw on the microfilm number for the original baptismal register (circled in red above).

I ran a Family History Library online catalog search for the film number and found this catalog record:

It’s hard to read here, but the baptismal register is from Sacred Heart Church, formerly called St. Joseph, in Gonzales, Texas, part of Archdiocese of San Antonio. (Note the 1960 baptismal certificate says St. James Church at the top.)

I printed this catalog page and took it to the FamilySearch Center to rent microfilm no. 25152.

When the film came in, I quickly found my grandfather’s record (thanks to the page number provided in my search result). Here’s the first page, with my grandfather at the bottom:

My great-grandfather Mike Haddad appears in a few records as “Fadlo” (probably short for his pre-immigration name)—I believe that’s why he’s recorded as “Daddlod” here.

And the second page, with columns for the sponsors, the minister who performed the ceremony, details on the person’s Confirmation (another Catholic sacrament, usually received around age 13), and “remarks.”

See the note on the far right in the Remarks column? That reports my grandfather’s marriage t0 my grandma in 1942 in Cincinnati.

The handwriting was uniform throughout the entire book. From the title and publisher pages,

it looks like this was a blank register book printed in 1944, which someone later filled in with information from diocesan church records going back to 1883.

My guess is that the (?) in the sponsor column next to Saida’s name—a symbol also appearing by several other names on the page—means the person who copied the original records into this book couldn’t quite make out the handwriting.

In 1960, when my grandma sent her request to St. Joseph, she must’ve provided her marriage information. Then the priest who answered her letter would’ve looked at this book in order to fill out the baptismal certificate, and added the marriage details to the notes column.

So this still isn’t the actual record that was created in 1902 when my grandfather was baptized, but I have more confidence in that 1960 baptismal certificate (and the birth date it provides) now that I’ve seen where that information came from.

One question: Why does the baptism certificate sent to my grandma in 1960 say “St. James” at the top, when the church register is from St. Joseph (later changed to Sacred Heart)? Perhaps the diocese routed all records requests like my grandma’s to St. James? What do you think?

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  1. Before a Catholic is married they must present an &quot;updated&quot; baptismal certificate to show that no previous marriage is recorded. After the marriage, the information goes back to the church of the baptism. So the marriage information was written in the book right after the marriage. The handwriting is the same as the baptismal entry.

  2. The baptismal certificate that your grandmother received in 1960 says St. James at the top because St. James parish was,and is, probably the &quot;parent or main&quot; parish in Gonzales. According to the Archdiocese website, St. James was established in 1886 and Sacred Heart was est. in 1937. Sacred Heart is &quot;the center of the Hispanic worship community in Gonzales.&quot; (From the churches site.) Perhaps the Hispanic community had a stronger connection with the name &quot;Sacred Heart&quot; than they did with St. Joseph and hence the name change. I’m sure the Diocese, or even perhaps Sacred Heart, would be happy to fill you in on the reasoning behind any name changes that occured for these parishes.

    Christine Emond

  3. Did you notice that one of the baptismal sponsors seemed to be a maternal relative, perhaps an uncle or grandfather??
    Were your Syrian ancestors French influenced, by any chance?? Married women in French (and French-Canadian) cultures traditionally kept their maiden names for all legal purposes. If so, then perhaps the sponsors were a married couple!

  4. Thank you, Christine and Kay! I do believe Lazarus Ganem (&quot;Janium&quot; on the register) is a relative of my great-grandmother, but I’ve yet to find him or Saida in any other record. They were Maronite Catholic. I hadn’t considered the possibility Saida was from a culture in which women kept their maiden names–thank you.