Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Tale Of Two Baptisms

A couple of years ago we came across a piece written by Fr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P. Part of the article is the following:

[Begin Article]

"Batter Up! Baseball, Baptism, Babe Ruth, and Baltimore

Over a year ago I was looking through The Passionist. This magazine was published by Holy Cross Province from the 1940s until the early 1960s. It has a wide mix of Passionist history. The 1944 issue mentioned that Passionist Fr. Francis Murmann had died in Baltimore and that he had baptized Babe Ruth when Ruth was a youngster at St. Mary's Industrial School.

The baseball season kicks off for all teams but the Cubs and Mets - they already played in Japan - in the first week of April. What better way to celebrate the start of the season than to ponder where Fr. Murmann and Babe Ruth can lead us as we get ready to celebrate the Passionist Sesquicentennial in the U.S. in 2002.

First, with the help of Father Bill Murphy, C.P., the newly installed Passionist pastor at St. Joseph's Passionist parish in Baltimore ( and an Orioles fan) I was able to confirm more information about the baptism of Babe Ruth. My request by e-mail to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore to date has not been answered! While baptismal information has to always be prudently respected, it is also true that most Catholic dioceses in the United States have put their records on microfilm. We thus hold in respect and prayer the following historical information.

George Herman Ruth was born on February 7, 1895. He was baptized in the parish of St. Peter the Apostle in Baltimore. (That parish is now linked with St. Martin's and St Jerome's). He was baptized by Fr. Joseph O'Brien on March 1, 1895. What most Babe Ruth fans know is that as a young boy, he was a student at St. Mary's Industrial School in 1906. It was there that he made his first communion on August 15, 1906. The record book has him listed at his first communion as a 'convert' because he was also baptized (again) on August 7, 1906, a week before his first communion, by Fr. Francis Murrmann, C.P. George Herman Ruth's confirmation took place on May 9, 1907. Patrick Fogarty is listed as his godparent. Why was Ruth baptized again? What Fr. Bill Murphy suspects is that it came time for the boys at the Industrial School to make their first communion and the baptismal certificate for Ruth was not found. So to make all things acceptable to God and Canon Law young Babe Ruth was baptized again, conditionally. And the 'convert' notation would seem to suggest he wasn't known as a practicing Catholic at that young age……….

………. So let us pray for our favorite baseball team. Let us pray for those who are orphans or abandoned. Let us pray for the Passionist presence in Baltimore. Let us pray for the Passionists as we make our way to celebrate 150 years in the United States in 2002.

Fr. Rob Carbonneau, C.P.
Historian and Director of The Passionist Historical Archives.
March 30, 2000

Please contact me at if you have any comments.

Copyright Passionist Historical Archives 2001. All rights reserved.
Permission of Archives needed for publication"

[End Article]

We obtained permission for publishing this part of this piece. The full article can be viewed at the following link:

Now that we know the story, we can fetch the documents.

Batter Up! Baseball, Baptism, Babe Ruth, and Baltimore

NEXT POSTING: Saint Peter the Apostle.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Star Is Born

Ruth's death certificate said that he was born Feb. 7, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. Death certificates are usually correct for birth dates but they are far removed from the event. It is only as accurate as the informant's recollection.

In the case of George, he thought it was Feb. 7. It was only when he had to supply a birth certificate for a passport application that he found it to be Feb. 6. In most family history research it is usually the year that is off by one or two - not the month or day.

Fortunately, he was born in Baltimore City. Birth and Death certificates were required starting in 1875. The counties of Maryland started certificates in 1898.

"The earliest certificates contained the sex, race, and number (birth order) of the child, date and place of birth, names and birthplaces of the parents, occupation of the father, and the name and address of the medical attendant. In 1903 the city's Bureau of Vital Statistics revised the form to add a line for the child's name. However, the certificates do not routinely include the name of the child until 1911."

Birth Certificates that are 100 years or less are restricted. We are free to view and print all before 1908. However, we either have to pay the Maryland Archives or do it ourselves. The archive is located at 350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401. The birth certificates are indexed by the last name and provides the actual certificate number. The microfilm series is described at the link: MicrofilmBirths. The film we want is CM1134-11. We may have to use the 1894 and 1896 films, if we do not find anything for 1895.

The index gives the certificate number as A63400. At this point we can find the appropriate microfilm and print from there or we can view the copies of the actual certificate. The list of certificate groupings is at the link: ArchiveBirths.

* Dates: 1895/02-1895/03
* Description: 3, A63352-A64044
* Accession No.: 50,257-46
* MSA No.: C6-46
* Location: 2/61/1/23

I filled in the form at the desk and they provided the box. After viewing the image I decided that I wanted a certified copy. So, I paid $25.00 for an image with an embossed stamp. The citation is: Birth Certificate, 1st child, male of Geo. H Ruth and Katie Shamborg, 06 Feb. 1895, Baltimore City Health Department Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate no. A63400. {MSA C6, MdHR 50,257-46, 2/61/1/23} (1). Copy in possession of BabeRuthGenealogy.

The date of birth is not the 7th. It looks like a "6" that is over top of an "8". George is the first child born. The only names listed are the parents (Katie Shamborg and Geo. H. Ruth) and the midwife, Mrs. Minnie Graf. Father and mother were born in Baltimore and the father's occupation is a "Lightning Rod Worker". The place of birth is 216 Emory Street.

The mother's name on the birth certificate is a shortened form of Schamberger. According to the Babe Ruth Museum Site, he was born in the home of his mother's father, Pius Schamberger.

The 1899 Baltimore City Directory shows Pius and Gustav living at this address. Pius is an upholsterer. The address on the birth certificate provided clues for other family members. The directory lists Minnie J. Graf, midwife at 827 W. Lexington Street. In later postings we will use census data and city directories to search for people and addresses.

If we did not have access to birth certificates, we would turn to church Baptism records. There may be sponsors who are related.



MD Archives


Archive Births

NEXT POSTING: Baptism Records - Both Of Them.

Copyright 2008 BabeRuthGenealogy