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Early Kaskaskia Mission and Parish Records


The archival record of French colonial Illinois includes some remarkable church documents dating as early as the late seventeenth century and extending through the eighteenth century. 

What is often cited as simply the “Parish Register” of the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Kaskaskia consists of several bound volumes of eighteenth and nineteenth century records now kept at the Diocese Archives at Belleville, Illinois. There is no single register from the church, and most vital records made by the church have been copied and / or rebound at various times during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 


One of the most significant of these records, containing the earliest documents associated with the mission and the church, is the Registre de la Paroisse de la Conception de Notre Dame des Caskcaskias, a leather-bound volume with silver clasps dating to the nineteenth century. While the title implies a single, uniformly constructed record book, the volume at Belleville is instead a synthetic compendium. It contains original records, handwritten copies, and transcriptions made during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This compendium was assembled by historian E.G. Mason in 1879. 

A total of seven separate sections are present in this compendium.   These can be ascertained through changes in paper type, the creation of new headings by various authors or copyists, or changes in record type. Presented below are the digitally enhanced pages from Sections 1-5, which predate 1730 and which represent very early attempts to gather together the oldest records affiliated with the mission and church. 

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