Wednesday, February 17, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Google Maps - Brooklyn Catholic Churches

In trying to find sacramental records - baptisms, marriages - for my ancestors, I ran into a roadblock that must be common for people researching families who were from big cities: too many churches. Way too many churches. From what I've been able to find, upwards of 70 Catholic Churches had been founded in Brooklyn by the end of the 19th century. It's easy to know where to look in the early days; in the 1840s and '50s, there are only a handful of churches to choose from. But then, as the Catholic population expanded hugely in the second half of the century, due in large part to immigration, so too did the number of Catholic churches. Sometimes, these churches are mere blocks from one another; it's not as if each neighborhood had only one church.

In order to facilitate my own search for sacramental records, I realized I needed to know not only where my relatives had lived, but also what churches were in their neighborhoods, and how long those churches had been there. So, using information from sites like this and this, I created a Google map of all of the churches in Brooklyn that had been founded through 1900. I aim to try to add younger parishes, too, but I haven't gotten there yet. I figured 1900 was a good-enough stopping point that the map had become something I could share, and that others researching families in Brooklyn would be able to find it useful as well. The information included is fairly basic; I haven't been able to add details such as the historic ethnicity of a parish, or its mailing or web address, though I know that these would have been helpful. (A shocking number of churches still don't have websites, actually!) I hope that in its current form, though, it's nonetheless useful. Please share the map - available here - with other researchers!

View Brooklyn Catholic Churces in a larger map

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