Baptismal Records

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More often than not, the sponsors or godparents that appear in Catholic baptismal registers are relatives of the parents of the baptised child. Knowing that the sponsor is a relation can add to our knowledge of the family tree - giving us useful potential additions.

Sometimes, however, the sponsors are not related; but perhaps are close neighbours and friends. We can then use these sponsors’ names in trying to determine the location that the family lived in. 

We recently undertook a search for a family in county Wexford. When searching for them in Griffith’s Valuation, we noted that there were eight different entries in a variety of civil parishes.

We managed to find them in a parish register - narrowing down the search - but there were still more than two potential individuals who lived in the vicinity of the Catholic parish (but were in two different civil parishes).  

We looked again at the baptismal entries and using the names of the sponsors we were able to pinpoint the exact townland.

In another search of late 18th century London baptisms, we found that at least one sponsor’s name was a business contemporary - adding another little piece of the jigsaw. 


By Helen Moss.

By Caitlin Bain



1 year ago

I am looking for birth records for Cornelius Lanigan who was born about 1850. The problem is I do not know where in Ireland he was born, he emigrated the the US about 1864. I do not know where he left from or what city he came into once he got o the US. He died in Trenton, New Jersey on January 8th, 1898. Census records I have located in the US list his birthplace as Ireland, but not county or city. I realize this may be a long shot as it was such a long time ago.

1 year ago

Hi James, you will need to get his parents names from a marriage, death or naturalisation record. You can then look for a baptism in Ireland.

1 year ago

I have been looking for my great gandfather George Patrick Conway in Baptism records in tullamore but i can not find one. when searching for his 9 other siblings neither do they am i doing something wrong?

1 year ago

I am looking for my Gr Gr Grandmother, Margaret Collins. According to her marriage records in Australia she would have been born abt 1855 and came rom Kilcommon, Tipperary in maybe 1874. I have found a brother who also migrated to Australia. He was born abt 1853. Their parents were Martin Collins and Margaret McCarthy.

1 year ago

Hi Helen, you should find a baptism perhaps on FindMyPast where you can search for a child with it's mothers maiden name.

1 year ago

Margaret Ann Stewart was born 26 May 1858 Ballyhome, County Antrim, to John Stewart and Jane Brown. Where would I find baptism record for her or marriage record for her parents presuming they were married in County Antrim? I've searched FindMyPast, Ancestry, FamilySearch

I am looking for a Mary Ager, born around 1864. Have come to a bit of a dead end. She moved to England and later married Thomas Dalton. I have looked in the usual palces and can find the English documents but not the Irish ones.

1 year ago

looking for a brother or sister --for a William Madden --Father --is Daniel Madden --confirmed -by Grandson --Patrick Micheal Madden 1828-03-17 St. Paddys Day, a book he did in 1903. So his Grandfather's wife first name was Catherine. They live in Carrarea--did the Baptismal in Fohenagh Parish, -but could have moved to Clonfert Parish . So Daniel was born around 1760 -one son William 1787--his wife is Marcella Donilan --County Roscommon--confirmed --1903, her Parents --Patrick Donilan --Ellen Owens. So William --was he an only child?

3 months ago

I am looking for the burial place of Catherine and Michael Delahu ty both died in 1932.They lived in Clonmel Tipperary but I can't find a burial place

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