Custom and Canon Law for Researching Roman Catholic Ancestors
Jan 16, 2021 11:00 AM CST
According to a course on U.S. religious records in the United States offered by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, most immigrants to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries were Roman Catholic (see handout). Many ethnic groups who immigrated to Massachusetts, specifically, were traditionally Catholic: for example, French Canadians and Polish, as well as many with Irish and Hispanic backgrounds. When researching our Roman Catholic ancestors and their families, it is helpful to know how custom, pastoral practice, and canon law might affect what records we can expect to find and where we might find them.
Denise Picard Lindgren is spending the current pandemic researching her paternal line of Catholic French Canadians from her home in Concord, Massachusetts, as well as taking full advantage of online genealogy conferences and classes. She is an academic professional in Boston University’s CPE Genealogy Studies Program—both in Genealogical Principles and the Genealogical Certificate Course—and is an editorial assistant for the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. Denise is the outgoing vice president of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (massgencouncil.org/) and a past president of MSOG, as well as the 2014 first-place winner of the MSOG writing contest