The Mission of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Denver is to collect, preserve, safe guard, and make available, records and other objects that pertain to the Catholic Church in Northern Colorado and more specifically to the Archdiocese of Denver, according to Canon 486.2. The Archives was established in 1973 and serves as a repository of parish sacramental registries and historical materials for the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Archives of the Archdiocese of Denver is a private entity, whose first obligation is to the Archbishop and the Chancery. Many records will have access restrictions imposed by Canon Law and unlike governmental records, are not subject to the “Freedom of Information Act”.
The Archives has the Sacramental Record Indexes for the Archdiocese of Denver, The Diocese of Pueblo from 1935-1942, and for the Diocese of Colorado Springs until 1984. It also maintains the Sacramental Registers for St. Patrick’s church in Denver, St. Leo’s church in Denver, and for Mercy Hospital.
Sacramental records are considered private records that were created under circumstances that are presumed personal and confidential; however, they will stand up under federal law, as valid, authentic evidence when an appropriate civil record does not exist. Access to these records is restricted, only the individual for whom the record(s) pertains has the right to obtain information contained in them. The Sacramental records are kept at the parishes in which the Sacrament was performed and a reference copy is in the Archives. To obtain a certified copy of your Sacramental record, please contact the parish in which the Sacrament was performed. Please note that we will not provide certificates or certified copies of records for those that are deceased. If the parish has been closed, then please contact the Archives. If you are unsure as to what parish the Sacrament was performed at the Archivist will perform a search provided the following information is given:
- A written request from the individual whose information is contained in the Sacramental record specifying the reason the record is needed. Telephone requests are accepted for those individuals needing baptismal information for marriage or confirmation.
- A copy of a picture ID from the individual making the request or a notarized copy of a birth certificate.
- The name of the Church where the sacrament took place or approximate location. (Please check census or telephone books or city directories before making your request)
- The approximate date when the sacrament took place
- The surname of the individual’s father and the maiden or surname of the individual’s mother
- The birth date of the individual
- Type of sacrament-baptismal, confirmation, marriage, or death
Information in Sacramental records made before 1930 are open to genealogists. The Archivist will perform a free 30-minute search of records, after that the cost is $20 per hour regardless if information is located or not. To access these records is a privilege, accorded by the Archdiocese of Denver and is not a right. In order for a successful search the following information must be given at the time of the request:
- Name of person in the record
- Surname of father and surname or maiden name of mother
- Birth date of the person in the record
- Approximate date when sacrament took place
- Name of Church where the sacrament was performed or approximate location. (Please check census records, telephone books, or city directories before making your request).
Searches will be made as quickly as possible but can take up to 4 weeks, please be aware searches may not always be successful. In the cases of adoption, neither the Archives nor the parishes can reveal the names of the biological parents.
Information contained in Sacramental Records
Baptismal: Date of birth and baptism; name of child; names of parents; names of sponsors, name of officiating priest.
Marriage: date; names of individuals being married; names of witnesses; name of officiating priest.
Confirmation: dates; name of child; age of child; name of sponsor; name of officiating bishop or priest.
Death: name of individual, date of death, date of birth, date of burial, cemetery, next of kin, name of officiating priest
The Archdiocese of Denver Archives does not hold any orphanage records for St. Clara’s, Queen of Heaven, the Home of the Good Shepherd or Mt. St. Vincent Home. These facilities were operated by women religious, and the orders no longer have these records. If a person was adopted out of an orphanage through Catholic Charities then those records may exist at Catholic Charities.
Other Resources in the Archives
The Denver Catholic Register as well as the National Catholic Register and the Southern Colorado Register are now digitized and available at archives.archden.org. We also have digitized yearbooks for the closed diocesan high schools as well as scrapbooks from some of the schools and closed parishes.
Contacting the Archives
The Archives will be open only by appointment with the Archivist. An appointment is necessary to ensure that someone is available to assist patrons. She will need at least two weeks’ notice in advance either by mail, email or telephone. Prospective historical researchers will also need to obtain permission from the Office of the Chancellor to access the archives. No general permission for unsupervised examination or copy of archival materials will be given. Only the Archivist may search the original records for the manuscript or information requested. The Archivist reserves the right to deny access to collections under certain conditions, including but not limited to:
- Condition of collection
- Legal issues including canon law, privacy, and copyright
- Irreplaceability of the material
- Unprocessed state of the collection
- Donor restrictions
- Availability of material elsewhere
The Archivist will supervise the researcher at all times. Archival material will not be duplicated in any form without written permission from the Chancellor. Examination of personal Episcopal correspondence requires written permission from the Archbishop of Denver.
Research longer than 30 minutes will be assessed a $20 per hour charge with no more than 5 hours spent on any one request. Multiple requests will be assessed a $5 per request charge over 3 in addition to the $20 per hour fee. Payment will need to be received before research will continue.
Copies are 25 cents per page from the microfilm reader/printer. Photocopies if permitted by the Archivist will be 25 cents per page. (Some material may not be photocopied either due to its physical condition, copyright restrictions, or because of restrictions based on Canon Law.)
Rules while in the Archives
- No Food or Drink is permitted in the Archives
- No Smoking in the Archives
- Pencil & Paper only is to be brought into the Archives, arrangements need to be made beforehand to bring in a laptop. Bags, briefcases, and purses are not encouraged and may be subject to search before leaving.
- Cell phones are prohibited.
- No scanners or cameras of any sort are permitted in the archives.
- Materials are to be handled in such a manner that will not damage them and materials that are in a very fragile state may not be accessed. Gloves will be required when handling photographs.