Latin in RC registers


Latin in Irish Catholic parish registers

Irish Catholic parish register entries were recorded in either English or Latin. Typically, Latin was used in the more rural, Irish-speaking parishes while English was used in urban districts. Irish was never used in the registers. Place names and surnames were not translated but first names were.


In most cases, the Latin versions are obvious enough, but there are a handful of names that may throw you.

Translating the Latin words is not difficult because they tend to follow the same format, over and over. So the basic vocabulary and format below should help prime you for most of what you may encounter.


Latin in RC Baptism parish registers

 Baptism register terminology

  • natus: birth
  • baptisatus: christened
  • nomen: first name
  • filia: daughter
  • filium/us: son
  • legitimum: legitimate
  • Pater: Father
  • Mater: Mother
  • nomen: first name
  • parentes: parents
  • filius: son
  • sponsores/sponsoribus: godparents

General terms

  • et: and
  • die: day
  • mense: month
  • ano: year
  • domicilium: abode
  • coram: in the presence of

 Baptism terms

  • natus: birth
  • baptisatus: christened
  • nomen: first name
  • filia: daughter
  • filium/us: son
  • legitimum: legitimate
  • Pater: Father
  • Mater: Mother
  • nomen: first name
  • parentes: parents
  • filius: son
  • sponsores/sponsoribus: godparents


General terms

  • et: and
  • die: day
  • mense: month
  • ano: year
  • domicilium: abode
  • coram: in the presence of

A typical full form Latin entry in a Roman Catholic baptism register would read: Baptisavi Michaeli, filium legitimum Patricus Daly et Ellena Mahony de Courtmacsherry. Sponsoribus Johannes Doyle, Marian Shea.

This might be abbreviated to Bapt Michaeli, fl Patricus Daly et Ellena Mahony, Courtmshry. Sp John Doyle, Marian Shea.

The translation is: I baptised Michael, legitimate son of Patrick Daly and Ellen Driscoll of Courtmacsherry. Godparents John Doyle and Mary Shea.


Latin in RC Marriage parish registers

Marriage register terminology

  • filia : daughter
  • filius/m: son
  • maritus, conjux: husband
  • uxor, marita, conjux: wife
  • matrimonium, copulatio, copulati, conjuncti: marriage
  • banni, proclamentiones: marriage banns
  • consanguinati: blood related
  • in tertius grado: second cousins
  • in secundus grado: first cousins
  • testimonium: witnesses
  • afinitatus: related through an earlier marriage of the two families

Marriage register terminology

  • filia : daughter
  • filius/m: son
  • maritus, conjux: husband
  • uxor, marita, conjux: wife
  • matrimonium, copulatio, copulati, conjuncti: marriage
  • banni, proclamentiones: marriage banns
  • consanguinati: blood related
  • in tertius grado: second cousins
  • in secundus grado: first cousins
  • testimonium: witnesses
  • afinitatus: related through an earlier marriage of the two families

A typical full form Latin entry in a Roman Catholic marriage register would read: In matrimonium conjunxi sunt Cornelius Crowley et Honoria Hayes, de Garranes. Testimonium: Thaddeus Buckley, Brigidam Lorigan.

The abbreviated version might read: Mat con Cornelius Crowley, Honoria Hayes, Garranes. Thad Buckley, Brigidam Lorigan.

The translation is: Cornelius Crowley and Nora Hayes of Garranes were joined in matrimony. Witnesses Tim Buckley and Bridget Lorigan.


Latin in RC Burial parish registers

  • mortuus, defunctus: deceased
  • sepulti, sepultus: burial, buried
  • mortuus, defunctus: deceased
  • sepulti, sepultus: burial, buried