Notes about the parish and state of its baptismal and marriage registers are summarized here.
St. Alphonsus Church, Lemont, IL: This was a German parish founded in 1867 and attended by many Polish immigrants from Prussian-Poland. In 1882, Ss. Cyril & Methodius in Lemont was founded as a primarily Polish parish. Most of St. Alphonsus' Polish parishoners started to attend the new church. By 1885, St. Alphonsus was largely depleted of its Polish population. Since some Polish names were poorly spelled, many were "corrected" and not identical to what's written in the record. Some of the Notes indicate marriage records of parents which were gleaned largely from the Poznan Project database. This should make locating ancestors in Poland a bit easier.
With regard to death records, the names were cross referenced to a 1999 edition of Saint Alphonsus Cemetery: Lemont, Illinois, a cemetery index published by the Lemont Area Historical Society. The book was prepared largely by reading information off the gravestones. So, in the Notes field, you may find additional information about the deceased-- usually a birth date. There are sometimes discrepancies in the death date. Church death records sometimes include the date of death AND the date of burial. When only one date was provided in the record, it seems that it coincided with the burial date. At the time the data was extracted, there was no way to know which date was recorded. Not unexpectedly, the Polish names largely disappeared after the establishment of Ss. Cyril & Methodius.
St. Ann Church, Chicago: This is the St. Ann parish on Leavitt St. The place of birth of brides and grooms was seldom given. Based on prior research, this parish had a decidedly Galician influence.
Ascension Church, Evanston, IL: Ascension Church is a closed parish and its records are at the Archdiocesan Archives. In about 2007, the records were reimaged through 1925 instead of just 1915 as one finds on the microfilm. This means that you can find 2 images for pre-1916 records. One image is from the scanned microfilms and the other is from the reimaging.
Marriages are indexed with respect to the reimaged collection-- note the item description. If you are using microfilm, marriages through 1915 are on film 1536289, item 4.
If you are using microfilm, baptisms through 1915 are on film 1536289, item 3.
Assumption BVM, Przecław, POLAND:The parish of Przecław consists of the villages of Przecław, Błonie, Podole, Korzeniów, Tuszyma, Biały Bór, Wylów, Kadziolki, Łączki, Męciszów, Bobrowa, and Ruda. The microfilm includes manuscript copies of the registers sent to the diocesan offices. Although not listed above, records for the village of Dąbie are part of this parish as well and listed with those of Tuszyma. The village of Błonie is also known as Przedmiescie in the records. Parish registers from 1601 existed at the end of the nineteenth century. The records on this film used cover the time period from 1790 to 1867. The following years were missing from the microfilm: 1796, 1797, 1816, 1824, 1826, 1829-1832, 1838-1840, 1842-1843, 1845, 1853, and 1865-1866
St. Barbara Church, Chicago: Volume 1 of marriages generally has good writing and should be easy to use. Unfortunately, most place names are just, Poland. If from the US, the city is usually given.
St. Barbara Church, Nagoszyn, POLAND: The index is based on a microfilm of copies that were filed with the diocese and not the original parish register. The data was reformatted for this index and has not been checked.
St. Casimir Church, Chicago: A few years ago, I wanted to photograph St. Casimir Church. I found Our Lady of Tepeyac Church where I thought St. Casimir Church should have been. I saw from the cornerstone of the building that this had indeed been St. Casimir Church, now doing business as Our Lady of Tepeyac. St. Casimir Church is a closed parish and its records are at the Archdiocesan Archives. In about 2007, the records were reimaged through 1925 instead of just 1915 as one finds on the microfilm. This means that you can find 2 images for pre-1916 records. One image is from the scanned microfilms and the other is from the reimaging. Comparing quality, I found that I had to increase the contrast and lower the brightness on most of the reimaged photos to be able to read them.
Volume 1 of baptisms suffers from bad design with multiple entries per page, cramming of data at the bottom of the page, and a trim job that cuts off bottom names. As a result, some of the names were not available for the index. The bottom edge of volume 2 had also been trimmed so records at the very bottom of the page are incomplete or totally unreadable. Other volumes got better.
Volume 5 of baptisms is spread across two microfilms. Because of deterioration, some pages were out of order in the filming sequence and you may have to scan ahead or backwards to find them. For example, pages 145 and 146 are after page 150. The writing in the volume was not very good. Some pages were very light as perhaps the ink had faded.
The baptismal volume for 1916-1918 had the same problems as noted for volume 5 above. The image contrast needed to be increased and the brightness decreased to make them readable.
Volume 1 of marriages is poorly designed such that bride surnames are caught in the binding of the volume and not completely readable-- usually the last part of the surname was missing. However, most of the missing portions were restored by finding the baptisms of the couple's children. The mother's surname name there usually allowed the surname to be completed. At one point, the given names of the grooms were given by first initial only. The given name was restored in most cases using the same trick-- find the father's given name in the baptism's of his children. This volume has no page numbered 54, but the facing pages 53 and 55 match up the brides to their parents as verified by comparing their parents to parents of siblings married at St. Casimir as well. Place names are usually Galicia, ks. Poznań, or kr. Poland.
Volume 2 of marriages did not have the incomplete name problem like the previous volume. Like volume 1, the place names are general. Even inclusion of those names stopped towards the end of 1914. Now here's where things get complicated. Marriages through 1915 in volume 2 of marriages are indexed with respect to the microfilm images. However, marriages after 1915 are indexed with respect to the reimaged collection-- so pay attention to the item descriptions.
Volume 3 of marriages is described as containing records from 1925-1939 (and probably does) but due to privacy restrictions, only the remainder of 1925 was imaged.
Ss. Cyril & Methodius Church, Lemont, IL:The locations of where people came from are generally missing from the marriage records or are vaguely given as Europe. My research indicates that many of the people came from the region around Bydgoszcz in Poland. In addition to leaving out the place name, the surname of the groom and bride's mothers are largely absent. The first 37 records for the parish were conducted in neighboring St. Alphonsus Church.
St. Florian Church, Chicago: Volume 1 of marriages lists place names as Chicago or Hegewisch up until 1908 when more detail was likely to be provided. Volume 2 of marriages continues the place name detail. Most of the people were from the Limanowa and Myślenice counties in Galicia. Some of the place names were taken from the column for the home of the parents on the assumption that the brides and grooms were originally from there as well.
St. Francis of Assisi Church, Chicago: Be aware that this church is at 932 N. Kostner in Chicago. There are other St. Francis churches in Chicago but this is the only Polish one.
Good Shepherd Church, Chicago: The marriage register for this church did not include any place names.
Holy Innocents Church, Chicago: There are two marriage volumes in this collection. The location was invariably given as "Chicago". In a few cases, Chicago was changed to the birthplace of the individual if this was verified by other sources.
Holy Rosary, North Chicago: Holy Rosary Church is a closed parish and its records are at the Archdiocesan Archives. In about 2007, the records were reimaged through 1925 instead of just 1915 as one finds on the microfilm. This means that you can find 2 images for pre-1916 records. One image is from the scanned microfilms and the other is from the reimaging. Volume 1 of marriages is indexed with respect to the reimaged collection-- note the 1904-1925 in the item description. There were times when the birthplace in Poland was given but not consistently. The places may be with reference to the diocese they are in rather than the county. If you are using microfilm, marriages through 1915 are on film 1571779, item 14.
For baptisms, the index for entries through 1915 were from the microfilm but images are referenced to the reimaged 1904-1925 set. After 1915, the index was prepared from the reimaged set. If you are using microfilm, baptisms through 1915 are on film 1571779, item 13.
Immaculate Conception Church, Chicago: This is the Immaculate Conception parish on 88th St.
St. John Cantius Church, Chicago: The parish is composed largely of immigrants from the Galician region in Poland. The handwriting is generally good in the marriage registers. Place names are usually qualified well enough to find them and even when they are not, some educated guesses can help narrow them down.
St. John of God Church, Chicago: While the marriage forms included a column for the place of baptism, only a handful of records included this information. As a closed parish, its records are located in the Archdiocesan Archives. They were filmed at about the same time as other Chicago parishes but reimaged around 2007-- presumably with a digital camera. This creates the dilemma of having multiple copies of the same record to choose from. The page number will be the same for each identical record, but the image number may be off by a few numbers reflecting different starting points and "retakes" of some pages. That said, let's address how the index was prepared. The true volume 1 of marriages was recopied by hand so there are two copies which may be different due to transcriptional errors. The index for volume 1 was prepared off of the hand copied records on microfilm. The writing was generally better than in the original. No attempt was made to compare the original with the copy so it might be a good idea to do so if you find something of interest. Volume 2 of marriages was indexed with respect to the digitized copy of 2007. The records from 1912-1915 were imaged from microfilm but the volume does not end with 1915. Since the volume continues into the 1920s, the index is referenced to the newer images which span the entire volume. Volume 3 of marriages is available only in digital copy and goes through 1925, the privacy cut off date at that time (2007).
St. Joseph Church, Chicago: There are several St. Joseph parishes in Chicago but this is the Polish parish on Hermitage Ave.
St. Joseph Church, Chicago Heights, IL: As a closed parish, its records are in the Archdiocesan Archives and were imaged and made available through 1925. At the time the index was prepared, only the microfilm images through 1915 were available. It is film 1571231, item 12 for baptisms and item 13 for marriages. The records through 1925 were added later and have different item descriptions online. For example, "Baptisms 1903-1915", are images from the microfilm while "Baptisms 1903-1918 with index", are reimaged records covering the longer span of time.
Our Lady of the Rosary, Lisia Góra, POLAND:The parish of Lisia Góra consists of Lisia Góra, Żukowice Stare, Łukowa, Zaczarnie, Kobierzyn, Żukowice Nowe, Jastrząbka Nowa, Śmigno, Pawęzów, Jodłówka, Krzyż, and Jawornik. The parish had registers dating from 1656 as of the late nineteenth century. The microfilm contains copies of parish registers sent to the diocesan offices from 1800 to 1869. Jawornik was not listed on the film. The following years were missing from the film: 1816, 1819, 1832-1839, 1850, 1853, and 1866.
St. Michael, Chicago: This Polish parish identifies itself as St. Michael the Archangel but the LDS has it listed as just St. Michael, South Shore Dr. The LDS has a St. Michael the Archangel parish listed, but it's not the Polish parish. Baptismal records for the Polish parish are on 2 rolls of microfilm and had been cataloged together.
With respect to baptisms, volume 1 has bad handwriting so beware! Volume 6 had issues with confusing a's and o's. Use wildcards to search through them. Volumes 7 and 8 have imaging problems. The film they are on opens with item 4 and 5 stuff that only later is explained as a reimage of the stuff in those items that was too dark. So some data might need to be looked up in the opening section or in the true item 4 and 5 positions later on.
If you use the online image section of Family Search to look up these records, it is rather confusing for St. Michael. There are multiple St. Joseph parishes in Chicago and the descriptions do not identify which specific parish the record groups belong to. Adding to the confusion, the online images do not identify microfilm item numbers nor do they always respect the divisions between volumes. Baptisms for the Polish St. Michael parish begin with the description, Baptisms 1892-1905. Descriptions prior to 1892 are not from the Polish parish. Baptisms 1892-1905 spans three separate baptismal volumes or items as you would find them on microfilm. Additional descriptions belonging to the Polish parish are Baptisms 1905-1906, Baptisms 1906-1910, Baptisms 1910-1914, Baptisms 1914-1915, and Baptisms 1915.
With respect to deaths, there is only one volume. Except for terrible writing on page 1, the rest is generally readable. There is not a lot of information associated with these records. Parents names might be included for stillborn children but was more often added to the index based on researching the birth records. Images for pages 24 and 72 were missing. They were either not filmed or not in the register to begin with. There are anomalies besides missing pages-- some years or months seem to end abruptly. This could mean there were no deaths or perhaps that the recorder didn't keep the register up to date.
Ss. Peter & Paul, Chicago:This index includes records from the Polish parish on Paulina Avenue. Some Poles will also be found in other parishes of the same name but are not included here. The first volume of marriages has two parts. The first part is presumably the original marriage register with 4 marriages per page. The second part is a manuscript copy of these same records in a register with 8 marriages per page. The index was prepared from this second part because it generally had consistently better writing. It did not include any place names, but then even the first part just listed the generic, Chicago. So, for marriage records through 1914, you can view two different images.
Sacred Heart, Chicago: No place names were given in either marriage volume. Like several other parishes, Sacred Heart is a closed parish and its records are in the Archdiocesan Archives. As such, its records were reimaged through 1925. Image numbers in the index are with reference to the "Marriages 1910-1920 with index" item for volume 1 and "Marriages 1920-1925 with index" for volume 2. If you are using microfilm, many of these records through 1915 are on film 1711275, item 5. Familysearch.org will be needed for any records past 1915. Note: When the marriage records were reimaged, they forgot to image page 90 of volume 1. You can find it as image 122 of the online item "Marriages 1910-1916" which is a digitized image series made from the microfilm.
St. Salomea Church, Chicago: Where Polish place names are given in volume 2 of marriages, they are usually qualified by diocese rather than by the usual civil administration. Keep that in mind as you try to locate places on maps. Many of the people were immigrants from the powiat of Limanowa and Galicia in general.
St. Stanislaus B & M Church, Chicago: Some common places in Poland that cropped up frequently in the marriage records were:
Sędziszów, pow. Ropczyce, Galicia
Bychawka, Bychawa, and Kielczewice, pow. Lublin, gub. Lublin
Kraśnik, pow. Janów, gub. Lublin
This is another example of chain migration to a common location-- in this case, to St. Stanislaus B & M parish in Chicago. Chain migration is when people (who may be family or friends) from one locality move to the same locality elsewhere but not necessarily at the same time.
St. Stanislaus B & M Church, Jodłowa, POLAND:Parish records exist from the late 1600s! The index on this site only includes marriages from 1857-1920. Typical marriage records include the name of the bride, groom, and their parents. In this parish, the names of the maternal grandparents were frequently given. So, in the notes field, GMG stands for groom's maternal grandparent(s) and BMG stands for bride's maternal grandparent(s). Grandfather and grandmother names are separated by a comma. My modern source shows there are two churches in Jodłowa so I hope I picked the right name for the older of these churches.
St. Stanislaus B & M Church, Zasów, POLAND:The index is based on a microfilm of copies that were filed with the diocese and not the original parish register. The data was reformatted for this index and has not been checked.
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Chicago: The parish is composed largely of immigrants from West Prussia and Poznania. In the early 1900's, more marriages occurred among native born parishioners but also a greater number of marriages of immigrants from the Kingdom of Poland. The quality of the handwriting varies as does the quantity of information. For example, the earliest marriage records only have the names of the couple marrying and the date of marriage-- nothing else. A little bit later, it became common to provide the parent names and where the groom and bride were from. This parish is unique in that its volumes include marriage banns as well as a record of the marriage itself. This is important because not every couple whose banns were announced ultimately got married-- in many cases, someone backed out. Other times, the couple had the marriage ceremony in a different church. So a notation of no date or no marriage may occur in records where a clear marriage date was not provided. Records often included the status of the person (single or widowed), their ages, how long they have been in Chicago (could be useful for finding immigration records), who they were living with in Chicago, whether the parents were still alive or not, whether they could read or write, their address, whether they know their catechism, etc. This index includes the date of marriage that was not always indexed in the previous version of the index. By all means, consult the original record image to avoid missing out on some interesting facts!
St. Valentine Church, Cicero, IL: The images for this parish are online at familysearch.org and run through 1925. Page 75 of baptism volume 1 was not imaged but probably exists. If you are using microfilm, baptisms through 1915 are on film 1710643, item 16 and comprise the first 39 pages of baptism volume 1. Marriage through 1915 are on film 1710643, item 17 and comprise the first 13 pages of marriage volume 1. This parish had a lot of Italian parishoners.
Visitation BVM, Zdziarzec, POLAND:The parish of Zdziarzec consists of Zdziarec, Zarówka, and Dulcza Wielka. The index is based on copies of parish records that were sent to the diocesan offices.
St. Wenceslaus Church, Chicago: Wenceslaus is also known in Polish as Wacław. The Polish St. Wenceslaus Church is at 3400 N. Monticello in Chicago and should not be confused with a Czech church of the same name.