Every parish is required to maintain its own sacramental registers
for the following sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation and marriage. First
Communion registers are not required; most parishes do record them
however. Death records are maintained but are not considered sacramental
records. The sacramental records of all parishes are retained and maintained
in the individual parishes. In those parishes that are active but have no
resident priest, the records are usually retained in the parish where the
priest resides. If a parish has a pastoral administrator, the administrator
maintains the records. In those parishes that are no longer active and have
been closed, the records have sometimes been retained in a neighboring parish
of the same community or have been transferred to the Archives. Those parishes
that have been closed since the formation of the diocese in 1971 include:
|Alverno, St. Francis Parish
||Cheboygan, St. Mary-St. Charles Parish
|Cheboygan, St. Charles Parish
||Cheboygan, St. Mary-St. Charles Parish
|East Tawas, St. Joseph Parish
||Tawas City, Holy Family Parish
|Glennie, St. Francis of Assisi Parish
||Hale, St. Pius X Parish
|Karlin, St. Joseph the Worker Parish
||Hannah, St. Mary Parish
|McBain, St. Rita Parish
||Lake City, St. Stephen Parish
|Traverse City, All Faiths Chapel (State Home)
||Traverse City, Immaculate Conception Parish
|Turner, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish
||AuGres, St. Mark Parish
|Wurthsmith Air Force Base, St. Ann Chapel
||Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
Sacramental records are of a mixed nature: 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 will stand in civil law as
valid and authentic evidence when an appropriate civil record does not exist.
They are not public in the sense that they are open to the immediate
examination and inspection by anyone for whatever reason.
Every person has the right to be provided with an authentic certificate
of their own sacramental records. If a person is seeking his or her own
record, a request must be made to the parish in possession of the record.
Authorized parish personnel will examine the registers and issue the requested
sacramental information, either directly or by mail. Research, whether
historical, genealogical, sociological, demographic, etc., is also a valid reason
for permitting access to these records, provided that the rules of access
protect the legitimate right of privacy of the persons named in the registers.
It is the responsibility of the Diocese of Gaylord, acting in and through the
priests and pastoral administrators of the various parishes, to supervise how
these records are used, by whom and for what purposes.
The passage of time has a critical effect on the sensitivity of all records.
As current events become historical events, the need for withholding them
from use is reduced and, in some cases, may eventually disappear entirely.
For this reason, older records may be more broadly available to researchers,
whereas recent records are more restricted from use.
Another effect of time on the sacramental records is the condition of the
registers. Frequent use and poor handling of the registers has created broken
bindings, loose pages, torn pages, brittle paper and sometimes illegible
handwriting. These old registers need to be handled with care.
Since the Archives of the Diocese of Gaylord does contain the sacramental
records of the parishes of this diocese on microfilm, access to the records
in the parishes is limited and restricted to the parish offices. Those seeking
information from the sacramental records will not have unlimited or free
access to the records. Access to these records is limited because of the
factors indicated above and also for confidentiality. Access to the records
is granted by the priest or pastoral administrator only. The priest or pastoral
administrator or designee will obtain the information from the records, issue a
certificate if desired or provide the information sought.
Parishes should not charge any fees for providing information from sacramental
registers, whether in the form of a certificate or otherwise.
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