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Your Cost will be the Cost of any copies, envelope and postage plus (optional) a Good Faith Donation
to the Delta County Genealogical Society, PO Box 442, Escanaba, MI, 49829-0442.

The Project---- This E-book is of stories about research successes and failures, helpful web sites, programs to store data, records and photos that members have found useful.

Chapter 1--Reverse Genealogy--A present-to your decendents

Write an article (newspaper like) or a story about you to a person to whom you are the Great, great ,great, great Aunt or Uncle. ( or other ancestor )

In the article/story answer/explain the following::

1. Who you are
2. Where you were.
3. What was happening to you
4 When it was happening
5 Why was it happening -- the results happy or sad

Include enough events so the the person reading it will be able to say I know this person.

Chapters II to XIX to be determined by the membership

Chapter XX-Programs used by DCMIGS members to organize and print Data & Reports

1. Ancestral Quest runs on both the Windows operating system and on Mac OS X. It is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and with Mac OS X 10.7 or later ( is the program that Don uses)

2. Other programs used by others --To be determined by the memberuship…

Chapter XXI ----- A File Naming Procedure

Four W's+ file naming procedure --When, Who, What, Where, Sequence number

We had scary event happen a few years ago on a sunny beautiful Sunday afternoon, a state patrol car drove down our driveway and the officer told us that the forest about a half mile down the road was on fire and it may reach us shortly IF the wind shifts.  Thus, please vacate you property within 15 minutes- the fire fighters will try to save your home-- IF the wind shifts --but they will know that you are safe from harm! Wow--The only things that could not be replaced by insurance were the family pictures-in shoe boxes and pictures on the wall and tables. Thus photos, pets etc. evacuated the property! The good news; the wind did not shift,the fire was put out, and people,pets and photos returned.

The project-save family pictures

-Step 1 Scan all the family photos -into the computer -the scanner assigns a number (mark that number on back of the photo) --this takes a long time but there are services that will do the scanning tor you..

Step 2- In the computer identify(rename) photos With:
--When (date 2015-12-15)
--Who (names-JohnMary)
--Where (Stonnington
-- number (from scanner or camera)


If a date is only partially known-- Replace missing information with XX
NOTE==there may be a limit to file name length (computer dependent) THUS spaces are not used. When photos and documents are named. one can sort them (in the computer) by name , date etc and put copies in separate folders if so desired.
Changing the name of the picture or document from the assigned name the scanner has given it soon after it has been scanned works the best! Name the file and put them in with a date and names.

Chapter XXII------Private Data Sources

Researching Roman Catholic Church Records
by Fr. Darryl J. Pepin, Pastor
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, Bark River, Michigan
February 2023

Roman Catholic Church records can offer a wealth of information for genealogists. They are particularly useful when official when civil records of life events like births, marriages or deaths are not readily available. Tracing these records for your Catholic ancestors can sometimes be challenging, but worth the work. The records for all Catholic churches are usually kept on the premises of the Church. Whenever a particular church is closed, most often the sacramental register books are transferred to the Catholic Church that is nearest the closed church. In some dioceses and instances, records of closed churches have been transferred to the diocesan offices.

The Catholic Church keeps records of all it’s sacramental events. Record kept by the Catholic Church are these: Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Marriages, and Death. Record books of these events are required of every Catholic Church as mandated by the Church’s law, called “Code of Canon Law.” These records are kept in books that are called “Sacramental Registers.” These registers are considered private and are not usually open for public view. The reason for this is sometimes the information is to be kept confidential that is, not to be made public. (I will explain this a later in this article.)

Baptisms usually take place shortly after the child was born, although for various reasons it may occur later, sometimes even later in life. Baptismal records include the child's full name, parents’ names (including the mother’s maiden name), date of birth, place of birth, date of baptism, names of godparents (also called sponsors), and the name of the priest (or a deacon) who performed the baptism. Other notations or information may be included such as confirmation, marriage and ordinations (if the person became a priest or deacon) and religious professions (if the person became a religious brother, monk, nun or sister.)

First Communion usually takes place when a person is about seven years of age. The First Communion registers usually records the name of the child, age, parents. It could also include baptismal information, place and date of baptism and place of birth.

Confirmation is where the person is anointed with Sacred Chrism (a holy oil) usually by a bishop and usually when the person is in high school, although there was a time when Confirmation might have been done in lower grades, especially years ago. The records include the person’s name, parents’ names, sponsors’ name. It can also include the place and date of baptism and place and date of birth.

Marriage records list a date of marriage, names of the bride (including maiden name) and groom, names of the two witnesses and the priest. Other details in the registry may include: place and date of birth, place and date of baptism, parents’ names (including mother’s maiden name), and sometimes, parents’ residences. Traditionally (years ago) the wedding was held at the parish of the bride, but with a more mobile society these days, it could also be in the parish of the groom.

Death records of funerals that have taken place in a particular church are kept when a member of that local parish dies. These records usually contain the name of the deceased, the date of death, place of death and where the person is buried. It may also contain other information such as the spouse, parents, next of kin. And even sometimes, a cause of death and the name of the funeral home that conducted the funeral services may be listed.

As stated, while each Catholic parish keeps its own records, keep in mind that many early churches didn't have a priest-in-residence. Sometimes the record books traveled with the priest as they went from church to church. You may also need to check the records of other nearby parishes, especially if the church was or is listed as a “mission” church.

Now a word about the “private” nature of Catholic Church records. Catholic sacramental records are in reality of a mixed nature - they are both private and public. They are private in that they were created in circumstances presumed to be private and confidential. They are public in that they mark life events in the people’s lives who celebrated the sacraments. Copies of these records will stand in civil law as valid and authentic evidence when an appropriate civil record, such as a birth record, does not exist. However, they are not “public” in the sense that they are open to examination, research, and inspection by anyone. Sometimes, confidential events happen, such as an adoption or a marriage where a couple needs to marry but without anyone knowing about it. These instances are rare, but they do happen, and the information needs to be kept private for special reasons.

So, if you wish to learn information contained in Catholic Church records, you will need to contact the church and request that research be done. In requesting any sacramental information from a Catholic Church, you should supply as much information you have about a given person. This would be date of birth (or suspected date of birth) parents, age, etc. The more information you give the better chances of having a record found. It would not be proper to request, “Give me all the information you have in your records on the ‘Smith’ family.” Many Catholic Churches do not have the resources of a specific person who could spend the time do that amount of research! Many times, it is the parish secretary or the priest himself who will have to hunt your record(s) down. Remember, the usual work of these persons keeps them quite busy, and they may not have the time to dig through records for hours on end! When requesting a record, as was said before, be specific as to whom the person(s) is and give as much information you have on them. Another thing, please be aware that sometimes the time between requesting and receiving records may take some time. So, please be patient. Do not ask to “rush” the search.

When a record is found, be aware that often, you will receive a “transcript” or “certificate” of what is in the register book. Very rarely will a Church send you an actual photocopy of the record. This is due to having many records on a single page and there is need to protect the privacy of the other records on that page. So do not request a photocopy of the actual record itself.

In older records, sometimes the priest (or the parish secretary) wrote the name and the information to the best of their ability. That means that at times, names, places of birth and other such information may be misspelled. If it was an ethnic parish (French, Italian, Polish, etc.) the priest may have spelled names and places the way he thought they were spelled. At times, records were also written in Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church. This does not invalidate the record in any way. If there is a misspelling, you could request that the church to write the correct spelling in pencil in the actual record. The record itself must stay the way it was as written when entered.

If you know the name and location of your ancestor's parish and it still exists, the preferred way to request records is to send a friendly and precise written request or email to the church asking for information on the person you are researching. Include as many details as you can! Besides the name, include the following if you have it: birthdate, parents’ names, marriage date, etc. If dates are unknown, do your best to give a close estimate of the person’s age or year of birth.

If you do not know the name of the particular church, find out where your ancestors lived. Consult a map of the area and identify the possible Catholic churches in the area. Also, there are some resources such as: Kennedy Directory (a very large yearly published book that lists all Catholic Churches in the United States). On-line resources that may be helpful in finding a particular church would be:, and These can be searched by town or zip code to help you look up churches in a particular area. You can also use Google to find the church or diocese where the church may be. Many Catholic dioceses also have websites that list the churches that are part of it.

When you are researching Catholic Churches outside of the United States, different procedures may be required. You would need to contact the specific church to learn what requirements are needed so you can request record information. Again, you are reminded that in most instances parish priests and staff are helpful, but they are also very busy. Their first priority is serving their congregation, not researching your genealogy. Understand that your request may be delayed, denied, or even go unanswered. It's also possible that a secretary or other staff member may not be familiar with the early records or have the time to go searching for them, especially if the records are not indexed by surname or are misfiled. Therefore, try not to request more than a few records at a time and again, be very specific.

Although most Catholic Churches will not typically charge for records, some do. If a fee is required be willing to pay it. If not, you should be prepared to a least offer some sort of financial gift or donation to help to cover any research time and certificate costs. In addition, it is a very good idea to send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your request.

Other information Catholic Churches may have are church history booklets and photo albums. Also, don't overlook church and local histories, anniversary booklets, and Catholic newspapers. Sometimes the local public library, historical society or museum may have copies of these as well as other possible sources for ancestral information. Some libraries may even have whole sections of local genealogical information too.

esearching your Roman Catholic ancestors may seem daunting at first, as most sources may be, but don't be intimidated. Follow the procedures outline above, and perhaps, with a prayer or two and who knows, you'll get a bit of divine intervention to help you along the way to finding your ancestors and their information for your family tree!

Personal Genealogicaul Search by Dave Westerberg

Cousins by the Dozens
Open Quote
When I started my genealogy hobby, over 30 years ago, I intended to keep track of my first cousins! I had just purchased my first PC, a brand new 286! From the first entries into a genealogy share-ware program obtained from Bay de Noc Community College I knew that this would take a little longer than I originally thought!

After I entered all my aunts and uncles, grandparents, and all my cousins, I looked at the information that still needed to be entered, which was a real eye opener. I started visiting my relatives that live nearby, asking the questions that needed answers to fill the voids in my new dat abase. I imagine that most all genealogists feel that they should have questioned their grandiparents in more detail when they were with us.

I was lucky that I was the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family. I knew my grandfathers and one grandmother very well. My Dad’s father was my mentor for outdoor activities! he took me to our hunting camp, taught me the skills of fishiing and hunting from an early age. He often talked about his childhood in Borgvik, Sweden, hunting with his father, and the different types of game and fish they caught.

Things change as time moves on, I completed what I started out to do and got busy with other things in life. My oldest son asked for my information on the family several years later. I sent him a floppy with all that I had compiled. He couldn’t use the information! The share-ware program did not exist anymore and he could not import the data or view it from the disk. My son did some research and located the company that had developed the share-ware program. He sent them my data and they converted it to be compatible with their new program, Legacy Family Tree, which I have used since. That was many PC computers ago and before the internet was so easy to use.

As I got more interested in genealogy several things happened, old relatives passed away, contact was made with relatives in Sweden and Canada, the internet had more and more data to search, and my wife and I were empty nesters finally! I still was not interested in joining any genealogy organization, but I had been aware that Pat Sundstrom, a fellow classmate and friend, was working on such an organizaition.

When I restarted my researcih, I learned that there were lots I didn’t know about how to do the research. Organization and reucord keeping, citations needed for each individual, and now help from genealogist everywhere around ihe world via the internet. I joined “DIS” genealogy society in Sweden, and searched their database and contacted contributors to their database. It seems everyone in Sweden is a genealogist! Their records go back to the Reformation, when the Lutheran Church started keeping records.

Two of my sisters and I visited Sweden and were the guests of our cousin Hans Mjöberg and his wife Sonja. Hans was a wonderful host and gave us a tour of where our grandparents were born and raised, grandfather in Borgvik, Varmland, which is close to Karlstad, and grandmother in the small village of Kalv, Västergötland. We researched the church records for our family, took pictures of these records, and met almost all of our great grandfathers descendants (my father’s 1st cousins). It was a great trip, and for us Yoopers, it felt like home! The topography of that part of Sweden is almost exactly like here in the Upper Peninsula, very wooded with lots of lakes, hills and small towns.

Now, after doing this hobby for many years, all my cousins, that I originally wanted to keep track of, send me family information about what’s happening in their individual families! I’ve researched my wife’s side of the family and with the help of a couple of her cousins, who are genealogists, we have filled in many of the blank spaces.

My genealogy program has a feature that allows me to search many databases over the internet.,, and many others, without leaving the program! The public library in Escanaba has many family histories, including my mother’s side of the family, which I have found mistakes because of the necessity of citations was ignored by that researcher!

For many years, my wife and I wintered in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The internet was available in the apartments we rented and with life a lot slower down there, I was able to continue researching and making contacts with contributors to databases. One contact I made was a cousin in New Zealand who had emigrated from Canada. The same week I made contact with him, my sister informed me that her husband was going to New Zealand for a conference and she was accompanying him, a cousin in Denver emailed me that she had won a trip to New Zealand over the radio! I informed my sister and cousin of our relative in that country and my cousin did set up a meeting and had lunch with him.

Strange coincidences happen when doing this research! My brother told me to quit finding all these distant cousins, he has to work with many of them! “
Close Quote
Editor note: Genealogical research is personal and fun!

Chapters XXXI to XXXIV to be determined by the membership

Chapter XXXV Web sites DCMIGS members have found useful
Ebook End
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