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 FamilySearch.org. 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 FamilySearch.org 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 FamilySearch.org 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?