While the majority of the baptismal records in this database come from the period after a new Catholic diocese was established in Liverpool in 1850, some extend back into the 18th century, when Catholicism still operated under legal sanctions in England. The 1559 Act of Uniformity had made the Church of England the official state church, and until the Catholic Relief Act passed in 1829, Roman Catholics faced varying degrees of legal discrimination. For this reason, registers of Catholic ordinances, like the ordinances themselves, were sometimes kept secret, and sometimes ordinances weren’t recorded at all.
In spite of this, thousands of Catholic registers exist, and parish records—whether Catholic or Protestant—are the best sources of vital record information before civil registration began in England in 1837 and remain an important source thereafter. Liverpool itself has historically been home to one the largest Catholic populations in England.
Most baptisms took place shortly after children were born. Baptism register entries in these records may include
- birth date
- baptism date
- father’s name
- mother’s name
Most of the records are in Latin, with many Latin variations of the English names—for example, Josephus for Joseph.