Finding Sacramental Records

Are you looking for sacramental records? A recent certificate of baptism or other sacraments is usually required to receive other sacraments. Especially for those preparing for marriage, there is a need to find sacramental records.

All baptismal records for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are kept at the parish of baptism (assuming the parish is still in existence).

Indeed, all sacramental records in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are kept only at the parish where that particular sacrament was celebrated. (If a parish is no longer in existence, the parish that took over that geographical territory usually gets the closed parish’s records. For historical records, visit our Archival Center.)

Please note that our sacramental records are private, and not part of the public domain. Therefore, they are not open to the general public for genealogical research.

Obtaining Records from a Parish

If you know the name of the parish, please contact that parish directly. If you have a general idea of which parish it may be, or know the geographic area, please check our parish directory.
When you contact a parish to request a baptismal certificate, please be prepared to provide the following information:
  • Your name at birth
  • Date of birth
  • Date of baptism (if known)
  • Mother’s name (including maiden name)
  • Father’s name

Tips for Finding Records

1. Assuming you are looking for your baptismal certificate, did you ever receive First Communion, Confirmation, or Matrimony in the Catholic Church? Parishes celebrating these other sacraments are supposed to send that information (a notation only, not the certificate) back to the parish of baptism, so if you contact the parishes of these other sacraments that may point you back to the parish of baptism. Please note that the parish of baptism cannot give you your certificate for First Communion, Confirmation, etc.; it would just have a notation that you received that sacrament (elsewhere). Sacramental certificates are only available from the parish where you celebrated that sacrament.
For birth or marriage records, you can also contact the County’s Hall of Records.
For Los Angeles, it is:
Los Angeles County Hall of Records
12400 E. Imperial Highway
Norwalk, CA 90242
(562) 462-2137  phone
2. Where were your sisters and brothers baptized? Sometimes siblings were baptized together, or at least at the same parish.
3. What address did you live at when you were baptized? We can check the map book and see in what parish that address geographically belongs.
4. Do you know the priest’s or deacon’s name who baptized you? If so, we can check the clergy records and see where he was stationed at the time.
5. Is there any remembrance of the parish (examples: it was named after Mary; it was in Hollywood; it was run by the Claretians)?
6. Was it in the City of Los Angeles or one of its suburbs? The City of Los Angeles has almost 100 parishes, while each suburb usually has only three or four.
7. Was it near downtown Los Angeles? Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish (also known as La Placita Olvera or the Plaza Church) is on Olvera Street, and baptizes many children each month. It is also the oldest parish in the City of Los Angeles. When people believe they were baptized in downtown Los Angeles, it is most likely this parish. Please contact:
Our Lady Queen of Angels Parish
Attention: Baptism Office
535 N. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2870
phone: (213) 629-3101
parish website:

Records from the Cathedral of St. Vibiana

Many people were also baptized at the Cathedral of St. Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles. The Cathedral closed due to earthquake damage, and the records were moved to the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. You may request baptismal records for St. Vibiana’s by sending a written request to:
Cathedral Archivist
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
555 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Please note that it is the policy of the Cathedral Archives to make sacramental information available only to a person who is legally entitled to it. Therefore, Sacramental Registers of the Cathedral of St. Vibiana are closed to any type of genealogical research. By reason of a decree signed by Cardinal Mahony on 28 September 1999, Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral Parish is the successor entity to St. Vibiana Cathedral Parish. In other words, the Cathedral Parish was not suppressed but renamed, with its boundaries amended.

Accordingly, the sacramental records of St. Vibiana’s Parish now belong to Our Lady of the Angels Parish, regardless of where they are actually housed.  Accordingly, any certificate issued for a sacrament received in St. Vibiana’s Church should be issued under the seal of the Cathedral Parish.  It can be signed by anyone the Pastor designates, which could include the Cathedral Archivist.

Records from Military Bases

Were you baptized on a U.S. military base, either in the U.S. or abroad? If so, your records should be at the Military Archdiocese:
Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A.
Office of Sacramental Records
P.O. Box 4469
Washington, DC 20017-0469
phone: (202) 719-3605
fax: (202) 269-1002

Visit the webpage for sacramental record requests here. Please send a request to the Military Archdiocese by postal mail, fax, or on-line, not by phone. It takes two to six weeks to process a request, with their busiest time from mid-January through mid-June.Each certificate costs the Military Archdiocese more than $25.00 to produce, process, maintain, and mail. Donations are gratefully accepted.

Donations for Records

No matter which parish, diocese, or archdiocese provides you the baptismal certificate, it would be kind to send a donation once you have received your certificate to help the entity recover its expenses (searching the records for the certificate, typing it up with the notations of the other sacraments, mailing it). Twenty-five dollars or more would be gratefully accepted. (See the information immediately above for the costs incurred by the Military Archdiocese for each sacramental records request.)

For Further Assistance

We hope these questions help you in your search.

If you need further assistance or would like to be directed to your local diocese or archdiocese, please feel free to contact us. You may also find a listing of dioceses and archdioceses in the United States at website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

You can also contact:
Eileen E. O’Brien, Director of Chancery Facilities and Operations
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241 U.S.A.
phone: (213) 637-7618
fax: (213) 637-6618