Reference and Research Services
The reference and research services offered by the Associated Archives are designed to accommodate requests for access to information found in our holdings while ensuring the long-term preservation of the collections and protecting the privacy of its individuals.
Detailed information on our policies and procedures is listed below.
The Reading Room is part of the climate-controlled facility that houses the collections of the Associated Archives. Large tables and chairs provide a comfortable work space that can accommodate up to four researchers at a time. Archival records are examined in the Reading Room and cannot be removed. Digital cameras are not allowed in the Reading Room. A microfilm reader/printer is available for use by visitors (.25 cents per copy). Outlets are available for connecting laptop computers. Lockers and a coat rack are also provided for storing personal belongings during visits. It is recommended that researchers pack a sweater or jacket.
The staff of the Associated Archives is friendly, knowledgeable, and available to assist patrons during Reading Room hours. The Visitor Policy and information on hours, scheduling an appointment, directions, and parking can be found in the About the Archives section of the website.
All visitors using the Reading Room are required to read and sign the Archives Policy Statement before being permitted access to records.
If you are unable to visit the Archives in person, the staff does provide limited reference services. To see a copy of our Reference Services and Fees policy and request form, please click on the link below.
The charge is $20.00 per hour (1-hour minimum) and is limited to four (4) hours per written request. The Associated Archives reserves the right to limit or refuse to conduct research on a patron’s behalf.
Reference services are limited due to the large number of requests that are received each week. The Associated Archives staff is available by telephone or e-mail to assist patrons in the following ways: to make an appointment, to send an inquiry by fax, mail, or e-mail, and to explain the scope of the services offered by the Archives. We DO NOT take research requests over the telephone. All requests must be submitted in writing. Please see the section above for information on submitting written research requests.
Archives staff will provide without charge research services that are limited to a brief inspection of the archives’ card catalogs, inventories, directories, and library. Requests that require lengthy use of multiple sources and/or research and reading of the collections will incur research fees.
Limited on-site document and image reproduction services are available at the Associated Archives. Reproduction of documents that are of legal or letter size are available in two formats: paper and .pdf files. Please indicate format on the request form. The cost for reproduction is based on the number of pages. Additional charges will be incurred for volume and long-distance requests.
Photographs and Digital Images may be requested for reproduction as digital images only. The cost for images is based on the resolution and file format of the image requested.
Materials that are deemed by staff too fragile to handle will not be reproduced.
All sacramental records for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore are kept at the parish level unless the parish has been closed. The sacramental registers for the following closed parishes have been transferred to the Archdiocesan Archives:
St. Andrew (1878-1974)
St. Bernard (1891-1989)*
St. James the Less (1834-1986)
St. John the Evangelist (1853-1986)
St. Monica (1883-1959)
*: Became St. Bernard Korean National Parish in 1989. In 1997 the community was renamed Holy Korean Martyrs and relocated to the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County.
Sacramental records for parishes that have been closed and incorporated into another parish are available at the new parish. If the closed parish you are interested in is not listed above, please click here for information on where these records are now located.
If you do not have information on the parish where you received the sacrament, the following questions may help to identify it:
- Assuming you are looking for your baptismal certificate, did you receive any other sacraments in the Catholic Church? Parishes celebrating these other sacraments are supposed to send this information (a notation only, not the certificate) back to the parish of baptism. If you contact the parishes where you received these other sacraments, it may point you back to the parish of baptism. Please note that duplicate sacramental certificates are only available from the parish where you received that sacrament.
- Where were your sisters and brothers baptized? Sometimes siblings were baptized at the same parish.
- What address did you live at when you received the sacrament? If you do not know the name of the parish where you received the sacrament(s), but know the geographic area where the parish was located, please check the website of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, which allows you to search for parishes by city, zip code, and pastoral region.If you do not have a local address, we recommend that you contact the public library for the city or town you were living in at the time the sacrament was performed to inquire about their city/town directory collection.If your family lived in Baltimore City, we recommend that you either visit or contact the Maryland Department at the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201) to consult their Baltimore City Directory collection. As families often attend the closest territorial church, the parish of sacrament can be identified through this information.
- Local address information can also be found on civil birth and marriage records. If you do not have a copy of your civil birth or marriage certificate, you can contact the Maryland State Office of Vital Statistics Administration to request a copy.
- Do you know the priest’s or deacon’s name who performed the sacrament? If so, we can check the Catholic directories to see where he was stationed at the time.
- Is there any remembrance of the parish (ex., it was named after Mary; it was in Cumberland, MD; it was staffed by the Redemptorists)? If so, we can check the Archdiocesan directory to see what parishes correspond.
- Were you baptized on a U.S. military base, either in the U.S. or abroad? If so, your records are probably at the Military Archdiocese:
Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
P.O. Box 4469
Washington, DC 20017-0469
The Associated Archives does not charge for official copies of sacramental certificates for the individual named on the certificate. This service is provided only to those individuals whose parish has been closed and its sacramental registers transferred to the Associated Archives (see above). To see a copy of our Sacramental Records Release form, please click on the link below. When submitting your request, please include a photocopy of your current driver’s license or other valid form of photo identification.
If you have any questions regarding these policies, or need further assistance, you can e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All other requests for duplicate copies of sacramental certificates must be sent to the parish directly. Contact information for all parishes can be found on the website of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
No matter which parish provides you with the official certificate, it would be appropriate to send a donation to help the parish recover its expenses (searching the records, typing up the certificate, and postage).
Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of their student transcript should contact the elementary, middle, or secondary school directly if it is still open. If the school has been closed but the parish is still open, contact the parish for assistance.* (Click here to search for school and parish contact information.)
*: Please note that in accordance with Maryland State law, the Archdiocese is not required to maintain the records for closed elementary schools.
The records for the following closed schools are maintained by the Maryland State Department of Education: The Cardinal Gibbons School, Baltimore, Mt. St. Agnes High School, Baltimore, St. Andrew’s Business School, Baltimore, St. Martin’s High School, Baltimore, St. Michael the Archangel Business School for Girls, Baltimore, St. Michael the Archangel High School, Baltimore, St. Paul’s Commercial School, Baltimore, Seton Keough High School, Baltimore, and Trinity Preparatory School, Ellicott City. Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of their student transcript should contact the Nonpublic Schools Approval Branch of the Maryland State Department of Education directly for assistance.
If you are interested in the records of a private school that has been closed, contact the religious community that operated the school directly for assistance:
Individuals interested in post-secondary school records will need to contact the institution’s Registrar’s Office directly.
Permission to reproduce or publish archives materials in their entirety or a substantial portion thereof requires the written authorization of the Director of the Associated Archives. Permission to cite consulted materials is included in the agreement to use the archives and is governed by scholarly practice and copyright. Written consent to publish or reproduce materials does not restrict the Archives’ right to publish the same materials or allow others to do so. To see a copy of our Permission to Use Form, please click on the link below.
Proper credit must be given to the Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University when materials are cited or published in scholarly works. To see a copy of the sample Citation Sheet we have compiled, please click on the link below.
A list of online resources has been prepared to assist you with organizing and caring for your private or family collection and what to do should it be damaged by fire and/or water.