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The Christening Dress

Updated on July 16, 2014

Our Family Christening Dress

In 1949 my Aunt Alice made a beautiful christening dress. This handmade dress has a long gown with lace inset in the front and a lace collar. There was also a full length slip to go under the dress.

I was the first person to wear the dress when I was baptized in February of 1949. Since then the dress has been passed down and worn by all the girls in our family. It has now been worn by three generations of girls and I hope that many more little girls will be able to wear this dress.

Aunt Alice was always excited to hear that a new girl in the family would be wearing the dress that she made over 60 years ago. In her later years, Alice suffered from Parkinson's disease and lived in a nursing home. After my first two granddaughters were baptized I brought Alice a photo of them in the dress and you could tell she was very proud that they were wearing the dress she made. Aunt Alice passed away in 2009 before my last granddaughter was born, the dress was a wonderful remembrance that will be passed on through the generations.

photo is of Alice Amanda Ida Schroeder in 1954

First Generation

Mary Beth

first person to wear Christening dress

The first generation of girls to wear the dress were the daughters of Ann and Erwin Schroeder. Mary Beth (the author of this article) was the first to wear the dress in 1949. Her sister Donna wore the dress in 1954 and Julie in 1957.

Aunt Alice who made the dress was the younger sister of Erwin. Alice was never married and loved to make gifts for her nieces and nephews. At the time she made the christening dress, Alice was 21 years old.

Alice, passed away in 2009 at age 80. Her memory will live on with her nieces and nephews and the christening dress is a beautiful remembrance of Aunt Alice.

Note: I have now added a photo of me in the dress. Many of the older photos do not do the dress justice. In the later photos, especially those from my granddaughters, you can see the christening dress in more detail.

Donna Marie

Donna is held in this photo by Aunt Alice and standing behind her is Grandma Emma Schroeder.

Julie Ann with godparents- cousin Don and Aunt Alice

Julie Ann with godparents- cousin Don and Aunt Alice
Julie Ann with godparents- cousin Don and Aunt Alice

Second Generation

Linda Marie - the second generation

The second generation to wear the dress were Ann and Erwin's granddaughters. There were four granddaughters. Linda, Amy, Jenny and Angie.

Linda is the daughter of Mary Beth, the first person to wear the dress. Jenny is the daughter of Donna, the second person to wear the dress. Amy and Angie are the daughters of Ann and Erwin's son John.

Linda, shown in this photo with her godparents, Norma, Mary and John, wore the dress at her baptism in 1971.

Amy - with godmothers Mary Beth and Julie

Here is Amy with her godmothers, Mary Beth and Julie. Mary Beth and Julie also wore the Christening Dress.

Jennifer Lyn

Jenny is Donna's daughter. I love this photo of her with the natural light from the window. You can see the beautiful lace on the hem of the dress.

Angela Marie

Angela Marie
Angela Marie

Third Generation

Rachel Ray - 3rd Generation for Christening Dress

On October 30th, 2003 Rachel Ray was born and a third generation had arrived to wear the Christening dress. The third generation would be the great grandchildren of Ann and Erwin Schroeder. At the present time there are four girls, all of them the granddaughters of Mary Beth, the first person to wear the dress. The first two Rachel and Ella are the daughters of Linda and the next two, Mary Katherine and Emily Ann iare the daughters of Mary Beth and Ray's son John.

In this photo Rachel Ray is with her parents in the front of their church after her baptism in December of 2003.

Eleanor Ann

This happy baby is Eleanor Ann (Ella). She wore the dress at her baptism in January of 2006.

It's hard to believe that this dark haired beauty now (at age 4) has a head full of pale blond curls.

Mary Katherine - Kate at her Baptism

My granddaughter Mary Katherine (Kate) wore the dress at her baptism on July 19th, 2009. She is the first child of my son, John.

Kate was born a month premature with a condition called biliary atresia. In addition she had a malrotation of the abdomen. In layman's terms her organs were turned around and her liver was not working properly. Kate had her first operation to try to correct her problems in June and everything seemed to be going well until late August when her liver began to fail. She was put on a transplant list and we prayed she would get a liver soon. In October our prayers were answered and Kate received a new liver. After 5 weeks in the hospital Kate was able to come home. She will be on anti-rejection drugs her entire life, but at 2 years she is now doing quite well. Kate is truly a miracle!

Emily Ann - baptized on May 8th

Emily Ann was baptized on May 8th, 2011. She is the daughter of John and Larisa and the granddaughter of Mary Beth. Emily is the 11th little girl to wear the christening dress.

Christening Dress - Size 0-3 months

Child's Cross Necklace - beautiful christening gift

This beautiful cross necklace will make a wonderful christening/ baptism gift. It will serve as a wonderful remembrance of the special day.

Do you have a special Christening dress? - I'd love to hear from you

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    • profile image

      Ibidii 

      4 years ago

      What a lovely story! Thanks for sharing the story of the christening dress, I will have to do my stories on the family dresses several generations used.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      I just love this family tradition. That christening dress is truly representative of the heart of a family, its faith, and its ties across the generations. My sister's children were all baptized in a lovely christening gown passed down from her husband's side of the family. Very special.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      5 years ago

      How beautiful all the baby girls look in this family heirloom christening dress! What a fabulous gown your Aunt Alice made for generations of girls to be christened in.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 

      5 years ago

      Blessed-what a heirloom

    • bethann21 profile image

      bethann21 

      5 years ago

      I just love this. Thank you for all of the photos. So great. We seem to be losing some of tradition. Thank you for keeping it.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      Very nice and precious family tradition which produce the joy for 3 generation. We don't have this tradition, but we have another one. When I was born in Europe we still felt the consequences of the war, so it was a shortage of almost everything... When the time was right for myself to be Christening, my godmother suppose to give me a present, but it wasn't so much to buy in stores. She took out her gold earrings and give it to me... I find out later that those earrings were in the family from previous generations and they have a great value as vintage jewelry... So prior to live my country I gave them as a present to the little daughter of my cousin as I wanted to remain in the family.

      Great lens, as I love traditions. Blessings!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      6 years ago

      Gosh, we didn't have this in our family. It warms my heart to read your inspiring story of the special Christening dress. Delightful.

    • profile image

      bestdressedbaby 

      7 years ago

      wow wonderful tradition

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 

      7 years ago

      My hubby was blessed in a little knitted white jacket an' so were his brother an' sisters. When each of our children were born, they too were blessed in the little white jacket. As the oldest child, he inherited the jacket. The tradition has continued with our grandies. I love that my hubby brought this tradition with him into our family.

    • MamaRuth profile image

      MamaRuth 

      7 years ago

      We did not have a family christening dress so my daughter-in-law and her sister-in-law decided to start a tradition of their own when my first grandchild was born. They went together and bought a beautiful dress for all of their future children to wear for christening. After each one, they have had the child's name and the date embroidered into the slip of the dress. So far three babies have been christened in the dress.

    • profile image

      cmaethom1991 

      7 years ago

      what a beautiful tradition!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      What a wonderful tradition to pass down within your family. My sister in law's mother made a christening robe from her wedding dress and it too is the dress that babies are christened in.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      I've always thought the tradition of christening a child was a lovely one. You've created a delightful peek into your family album with this christening dress. Blessed by a Squid Angel and will be featured on You've Been Blessed.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      7 years ago from Concord VA

      She's just beautiful!! Congratulations! And, that dress is so pretty. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      I love traditions. We do have family Christening clothes. Only difference girls wear bonnet, boys wear cap, satin cap.

    • iped profile image

      iped 

      7 years ago

      I love the picture of Jennifer Lyn Donna's daughter. I am now thinking if there is a reborn artist that can make a Reborn Doll similar to Jennifer

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      Adding a kiss for luck on this St. Patrick's Day!

    • profile image

      poutine 

      7 years ago

      Wonderful that you got a Purple Star for this lens.

      I love the dress.

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 

      7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      Congratulations on the Purple Star and added to my Lensography of Purple Stars :-)

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 

      8 years ago

      How special that you've gotten to share a christening dress with so many generations!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      @joanhall: Just letting you know that your lens is now featured on my "SquidAngel At Your Service" lens.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      An Angel blessing on this lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I really enjoyed this article! That's such an amazing part of family history! i hope I have a daughter some day to carry on the tradition.

    • profile image

      missyharell 

      8 years ago

      I love the idea of heirloom christening dress. Thanks for sharing your photos.

      christening suits

    • profile image

      nortonpatricia99 

      8 years ago

      the dress is really perfect, well-preserved. thank you for sharing your photos. great lens!

      christening gowns

    • profile image

      tssfacts 

      8 years ago

      What a beautiful dress. Having sewn all my life I can see the detail and love that went into making this dress. The babies wearing the dress are beautiful too including you.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 

      8 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      What an absolutely gorgeous christening dress and a lovely tribute to your Aunt Alice for beginning this lovely family tradition. The dress looks like it has been perfectly preserved -- it still looks new, even in the last photo. And what adorable babies in your family! Thanks for sharing your family with us.

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 

      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing your family memories.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      Oh Mary Beth this is a beautiful Christening dress but even more beautiful is your sharing the generations who have lovingly worn it and passed it on. What a lovely tribute to your Aunt Alice!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 

      8 years ago

      Mary Beth, the dress is just beautiful, and it looks brand new each time. I can certainly admire the lace insets and see why your Aunt Alice was so proud to have her little descendants wear it. Love Jennifer Lyn's portrait. And so thankful Baby Kate is doing well. She's cute as a button too!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I love this lens! Thanks for adding my "purple star". LOL, the security work here is purplesquid!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      How lovely. I liked seeing all the babies on their special day.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      8 years ago from Concord VA

      Beautiful babies and dress! Beautiful lens! Congrats on your Purple Star!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 

      8 years ago

      Family treasures are the best!

      Congratulations on your Purple Star.

      Lizzy

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 

      8 years ago from Quezon City

      That dress is gorgeous, and the stories that go with it make it even more so. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about it, thank you for sharing. I don't have one but I'd love to start one when I become a mom (or an aunt, whichever comes first) (: *blessed by an angel*

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      What a beautiful christening dress and stories to accompany it. 5* and some angel dust for you.

    • profile image

      grannysage 

      8 years ago

      My mother made my first daughter a similar dress. And my son was baptized in his father's "dress." - yes they made them for boys too. A lot of people were horrified but he is a priest now so I guess it didn't hurt him any.

      My third child didn't have anything but a diaper because she was carried down into the baptismal font by her father. i can still picture him holding up a dripping wet baby and me standing by hoping he didn't drop her.

      And even though I am pagan now, my children are still Christian and I hope the baptismal dress my mother made gets handed down the way yours did. A beautiful story.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 

      8 years ago

      This is a beautiful story. It's an incredible tradition to be able to hand the christening dress down through the generations!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      What a beautiful dress and a beautiful tradition! I am thrilled to see gorgeous little Kate pictured in that lovely gown. All the babies are beautiful, but you know Kate holds a special place in my heart. Someday perhaps I will get to meet her in person. That dress is amazing! It looks like every stitch in the smocking and in the lace are still in perfect condition! Totally Awesome! Angel Blessed

    • profile image

      Joan4 

      8 years ago

      What a treasure!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful babies all wearing that gorgeous gown!!! I hope you printed this lens and put in a book for the family..........gorgeous!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Totally love this lens and the story that goes with it...and the dress itself!!!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh Mary Beth, This is absolutely beautiful. I love the story of your Christening Dress, your Aunt Alice and your children and grandchildren.

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