Baptismal Notices (Taufzettel) and Confirmation Records

Baptismal notices (Tauzettel, Taufbriefe, Taufhelgeli) have been an attribute of the baptismal ritual in the German lands since as early as 13th century. Earliest surviving notices date back to the late 16th century. Short notices with quotations from the Bible or folk blessings often accompanied baptismal gifts (often a little purse with money) from the sponsors, and served as a reminder to the parents of the baptized.

The baptismal notices in this collection come from 1830s-1860s Switzerland, preserved in the family of Bill Dean. It is possible that the church ordered blank baptismal notices from a local printing shop and on a day of a baptismal or confirmation sponsors could fill them in with congratulations and best wishes. The Schuetz children received these notices from members of their home protestant church in Canton Berne where they were from. Their parents, Gottlieb Schuetz and Anna Parli kept the notices as a keepsake and valued so much that brought them with other documents to America. Today those baptismal notices with their printed and hand-colored ornaments are a part of German folk art heritage.