Birth/Baptismal records are by far the most basic genealogical record. A standard Slovak baptismal record will list the date of baptism, name of the baptized, the parents, and sponsors. Some will have more information and some will have less. Record formats are varied based on parish and priest. I’ll be walking through how to read three formats from two parishes and varied years starting in 1894 going all the way back to 1711.
As we can see the baptism above occurred in 1894 in the modern parish of Sklené, Turčianske Teplice, Slovakia. This layout is the most structured and probably for most the easiest to read. In the chart below I give what each heading is in Latin and then translate the heading into English. The chart also includes a translation and transcription of the baptism shown above. Under the chart, I explain each segment of the baptism and give some tips I use with the information provided to expand my research.
|Headings in Latin||Headings in English||Translation and Transcription of record|
|Nummerus currens||Number consecutive||82|
|Annus, dies, mensis nativitatis||Year, day, month of birth||26 Nov 1896|
|Annus, dies, mensis collati Baptismatis||Year, day, month of Baptism||27 Nov 1896|
|Sexus [Mas. Foem.(ina) ]||Sex [Male. Female.]||M(ale)|
|Nomen, Cognomen, conditio et Religio parentum||Name, Surname, Condition and Religion of Parents||Josephus Pittner R.C. Colon. (Farmer) Elisabetha Groszman R. C.|
|Locus originis et domicilii||place of origin and residence||T. Sz. 63|
|Nomen patrinorum||Name of sponsors (Godparents)||Joannes Daubner R.C. Joanna Daubner R.C.|
|Baptisans||Priest||Carolus Turek Parochus (Parish Priest)|
|Quando Mortuus?||When died||16 Dec 1896|
Number consecutive – Nummerus currens
The first baptism is of Andreas Pittner in 1894. The first column says in Latin Nummerus currens. This in English translates to Number consecutive. In other words, the column shows the current number of the baptism for the year. In the baptismal record shown above Andreas was the 82nd child baptized in this parish.
Year, day, month of birth – Annus, dies, mensis nativitatis
The second column is one of the most important to genealogist its the birth date column, in Latin the header says Annus, dies, mensis nativitatis and in English, this translates to Year, day, month birth. In reality, it goes year, month, and then day. Andreas was born on the 26 of Nov 1896.
Year, day, month of Baptism – Annus, dies, mensis collati Baptismatis
Annus, dies, mensis collati Baptismatis like the column before this column is a date but instead of a birthdate it a baptismal date. usually this date is shortly after the child’s birth date (one to seven days). Andreas was baptized on the 27 of Nov 1896, just one day after he was born.
Name – Nomen
Nomen is self-explanatory, it’s the name of the child baptized. In this case, it’s Andreas. Names can be recorded in Latin, Magyar, German or Slovak. Latin as shown above is the most common in Slovak Baptisms.
Sex – Sexus
Another self-explanatory column is Sexus or sex. Some parishes will write out male (mas) and female (foemina) others will put check marks and others will write M and F for male and female. Andreas has an M in this column meaning he is a male.
Legitimate/Illigimate – Legit/Illeg
The Legit and Illeg colums asks if the child is legitimate (Legit) or illegitimate (Illeg). Sometimes this will be one column in this parish it’s two and the priest wrote whether or not the child was legitimate. Some parishes will have two columns and put a check in the box instead of writing the word legitimate or illegitimate.
Name, Surname, Condition and Religion of Parents – Nomen, Cognomen, conditio et Religio parentum
Another important column is the Nomen, Cognomen, conditio et Religio parentum column or more simply in English Parents name, Surname, occupation, and religion. A lot of information is in this section and sometimes information will be missing. In Andreas’ scenario, he’s lucky as we see it list both his parent’s names (and mother’s maiden name!), religion R.C. meaning Roman Catholic, and Ocuppation. The most common occupation by far was Colonus usually shorten to Colon which means farmer. Andreas’ parents are listed a Josephus Pittner and Elisabetha Groszman both Roman Catholics and Josephus was a Farmer.
place of origin and residence – Locus originis et domicilii
Locus originis et domicilii is a very usual column for tracking families, This column is a place of origin and residence of the parents. If you’re trying to confirm to people to be siblings then you can check this column and see if they were from the same house. If they match they it’s very likely they are, but this isn’t foolproof by any means and you need more evidence to prove kinship. Andreas was born in house 63 in the village of Szklenó in Turócz which is modern-day Sklene in Slovakia.
Name of sponsors – Nomen patrinorum
The next column is the sponsors to the baptism in Latin it says Nomen patrinorum. Sponsors can be important for finding FANS of your ancestors, new family (siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, etc), or both. Andreas’ Sponsors were Joannes Daubner and Joanna Daubner both Roman Catholics.
Priest – Baptisans
The Baptisan is the person who baptized the child usually this was the parish priest and the person who wrote the information down. On the record shown above the priest was Carolus Turek and he was the parish priest.
Death Date – Quando Mortuus
Another column that may be helpful to genealogists is the Quando Mortuus column in this column it gives a death date. This gives you a major lead to the death record of the individual! Usually, if this column is complete that means the child died quite young. On the rare chance, you have an amazing parish priest they may write down older people’s death dates on their baptismal records. In Andreas’ case, he died on 16 Dec 1896 when he was 20 days old.
Observations – Observaciones
The final column is the Observaciones column this is where a priest would put any notes for the person. Sometimes in this column, they would put marriage dates and confirmations. If your relative becomes a Monk or Nun it may also be noted.
Baptismal records can be very diverse in how they are written, but they often are very similar and follow the same rules. If you struggle with reading Latin I recommend getting a piece of paper or word document a transcribing what you see, similar to what I did in my table above. Another resource I recommend is FamilySearch’s Latin word list which can be found here or if you want a complete Latin dictionary I recommend using the online Latin dictionary and that can be found here.