Ancestry is the source
for Catholic records.

Start exploring your family’s
Catholic heritage today.

Long before most governments started keeping civil records, Roman Catholic clergy were dutifully recording names and dates associated with major life events. Our Catholic collection is made up of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records from thousands of parishes that span the globe.

Catholic means "universal," and regardless of your faith, you may have some Catholic roots in your family tree. From uncovering maiden names to looking for details that pre-date civil registrations, Catholic records can open new doors as you search for your family's history and heritage.

Lived In

Reading Catholic Records

While many Catholic records share some basic characteristics, the documents, formats, and language will vary depending on the location and time frame. Below we've shared a few samples of some of the more commonly found records—calling out the clues they can contain, and how to get the most from every detail. Use the arrows to scroll through the examples to learn about Catholic baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial records.

Latin is commonly found in Roman Catholic sacramental registers. Our Latin genealogy terms may help you with reading records.

Catholicism Worldwide

Catholics - 13,070,000

% of Population - 44%
Parishes - 4,865

Catholics - 64,621,000

% of Population - 23%
Parishes - 19,081

Catholics - 123,393,000

% of Population - 87%
Parishes - 6,101

Catholics - 126,750,000

% of Population - 79%
Parishes - 9,222

Catholics - 4,161,000

% of Population - 76%
Parishes - 1,312

Catholics - 75,570,000

% of Population - 87%
Parishes - 2,909

All statistics courtesy of