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FAQs

Questions and answers related to sacramental records and genealogical searches.

How do I locate my baptismal or sacramental records?

The church of baptism becomes the official site for recording sacraments, even if they are celebrated in another parish. The first step in obtaining a baptismal certificate is to contact the church of baptism. If you know the name of the parish go to our alphabetical listing of parishes to get their contact information. The record of other sacraments received may be obtained from the parish in which it was granted. If the parish in question is closed, consult the list of closed and merged parishes for the location of those records. In the event that a sacramental record is located at the Archives, please complete this electronic form to request a copy of that document. For additional questions contact the Archives.

Why can't I access sacramental or genealogy records online?

We do not have any records available online.  In order to research genealogical records you must submit your request to the archives in writing and we will do the research for you.  More information can be found here.

What are your hours?

The archives are open by appointment only. 

Where can I obtain my school transcripts?

If the school is open please contact the school directly. A list of schools can be found here.  Transcripts are only open to the student and the student must provide proof of identity. Genealogists do not have access to school transcripts.

Whose relic is in my parish's altar stone?

We don't know.  That information is not supplied to the Archdiocese so we simply don't have any records of altar stones.

How can I find historical information about a parish?

The archive has limited historical records on each parish in the Archdiocese.  If the parish is still open it is best to contact that parish directly as every parish maintains their own parish archive.  In some cases, if a parish has merged or closed the historical records went to the archives, in other cases the records went to the new parish.  Contact the archives for more information.

How do I obtain a copy of a photograph from the Archives collection?

The Archives has many valuable historical photographs. If you would like to have a photograph reproduced, you will first need to get the permission of the Archivist. Photographs can be reproduced in a variety of different ways.

  1. Copies of the photo can be made on a "color" photocopier.
    Cost: $5.00 per copy.
  2. The Archives can scan images onto a CD-ROM.
    Cost: $5.00 per image scanned.
  3. The Archives can scan an image and email it as an electronic file.
    Cost: $5.00 per image scanned.
  4. The Archives can have a photographic reprint made. Because most of our photos do not have negatives, this involves the creation of a photographic negative with a print made from the negative.
    Cost: $50 per image.

Please note that obtaining a photographic reproduction from us does not constitute permission to publish that photograph. If you would like to publish or display a photograph please consult the Archivist. If you have any other questions, please use our general information request form.

What records are available at the archives?

The holdings of the Archives include, but are not limited to:

    Administrative records of various Archdiocesan offices
    Records of closed parishes
    Pre-1921 sacramental records
    The archival records of various Catholic individuals and organizations within the Archdiocese
    Parish histories
    St. Francis Seminary Records
    Photographs

If you are interested in research involving any of these records please contact the archives to set up an appointment or email your question to us using the request form.

Does the Archives recommend rebinding old sacramental registers?

Generally, no. Several parishes have had their books repaired by a book binder, but we’ve found it usually does more harm than good.  When the binding is resewn it becomes very hard to read or annotate the information in the crease of the book.  Instead the best thing you can do is take very good care of the books so you don’t have to make repairs.  This includes:

Store the books horizontal.  Our webpage: https://www.archmil.org/offices/archives.htm has a photo of our sacramental storage book area.  It is difficult to tell from the photo, but we store the books we use frequently only 2-3 books high, and those books that we access infrequently higher.  Storing horizontal rather than the traditional vertical puts less stress on the bindings, which is usually the part of the book that deteriorates first.

Access the books only when you need to.  Records that are open to genealogists (pre-1920) are on microfilm at the Archdiocesan Archives so direct people to our website: https://www.archmil.org/offices/archives/GenealogicalResourcesandInform1.htm.  Keep an accurate index of the book outside of the book so when a certificate needs to be made you know exactly which page you need to turn to and you avoid continuously flipping through the pages.  Books older than 100 years can be transferred to the archives.

Don’t place extraneous materials in the book.  Once you enter a notification of marriage, confirmation, etc. into the register you can discard the notification.  We’ve encountered many situations when parishes stick notifications, post-its and other papers into the registers.  This can cause major damage to the binding.

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408