Sunday, September 16, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Annunciation 1901-1954

Back in January and February of this year, I ordered and viewed two rolls of microfilm records from the LDS Family History Library via  They were for Annunciation Catholic Church in Houston, Texas.  One roll was for  baptisms, 1880-1957, and the other covered confirmations, 1863-1955, first communions, 1914-1956, marriages, 1840-1957, and deaths, 1853-1956.  The reason the dates precede that of the church's founding in 1866 is that they also include the original St Vincent’s Catholic Church established in 1839 in Houston, which Annunciation succeeded.

Here's what I found.  Click on all images to view them in a larger format.  Image quality is poor due to the nature of the microfilm readers used.

My great aunt, Elizabeth Wanda Guokas Johnson Sayers (died 1980) and her first cousin, Adam Lawrence Guokas (died 1966), were both born February 1, 1901, and baptized on the same day, February 17, 1901.  Here is the page where the baptisms were recorded (they are both at the bottom):
Here's a closeup of the records for Adam and Elizabeth.  Unfortunately, the way the pages were bound and/or the way the book was copied, the full maiden name of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Banevich (we think, in Lithuanian, it's Benevičiūtė) Guokas (18-1929), falls into the gutter and cannot be read - darn it!
The following year, both families had another child, within a month of each other.  My great uncle Justice Guokas was born July 18, 1902, and baptized in August, either the 14th or 16th.  He is the fifth entry on the page.  His first cousin, Verna Guokas Tubbs (died 1983) was born September 6, 1902, and baptized what looks to be September 15 or 16.
Here is a closeup of Justice's record (and once again, you cannot read my great-grandmother's maiden name):
Here is a closeup of Verna's record:
Sadly, Justice did not live long.  Here are the death records for the church for 1902:
At the bottom (also below), it says "On the 16th of Aug 1902 I buried from the church Justice Guokas one month old.  T[homas] Hennessy."  So Justice was baptized just before or just after he died, on August 15.  He is buried in St. Vincent Cemetery in Houston, but the grave is not marked.
I also found a couple baptismal records I did not expect. Mary Thelma Wolfe (born January 21 or 23, 1899 or 1900, died 1923), the daughter of my great-grandfather Louis Henry Wolfe's brother James Shannon Wolfe, was baptized on May 23, 1901.  Most of the Wolfes were not Catholic, but Thelma's mother Annie Volce was, so the children were baptized in the Catholic faith.
Here is a closeup of Thelma's record:
Thelma's brother Joseph Shannon Wolfe (born May 8, 1902, died 1983), was baptized on October 30, 1902. 
Here is a closeup of Joseph Shannon's record:
Finally, my parents were married at Annunciation on September 11, 1954.  Although it was not my mother's parish church at the time, she obtained permission to be married at Annunciation so my aunt, Sister Jean Marie Guokas, could attend.  At that time Sister Jean Marie was at Incarnate Word Convent next door to Annunciation, and was not allowed to go elsewhere.
© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. The place of the marriage would have had me puzzled. I volunteer for the Diocese of Pittsburgh and would have searched the church where the bride attended and the place where the groom attended.

    I doubt I would have found a record for Frederick and Geraldine.

  2. So true, Claudia. Maybe there would have been a note on Frederick's baptismal record about his marriage - I came across some of those when looking through various baptismal records. Fortunately, in this case, my parents and aunt are all alive and we have numerous labeled photographs of the event. I will need to make sure this is well documented for future generations! Thanks for commenting!

  3. LOVE this article! i actually found my grandmothers real name from a copy of her COMMUNION orginal record from ST ANTHONY'S CHURCH IN RED BANK, NJ from 1921! Her real nme was ANNUNIZATA not EDNA and she never told anyone.

    1. Lisa, I imagine Annunziata was a little difficult to pronounce! I've run into lots of cases where the church records differ from the names people went by! Thanks for commenting!