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WikiProject Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Progress Chart Gotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Wiki Project Task - Church Records: UsGenWeb

Contents

Task

Wiki Project Pennsylvania Tasks - Church Records: USGenWeb Task

Description

Use USGenWeb to locate pertinent church record databases on the county website.

Instructions

1. Search USGenWeb.org for the county you are working on.

2. Locate the church section of the page.  Sometimes the church records are hidden in the Birth, Marriage, or Death sections.

3. If there are no church databases on the county page, you are finished with this task. If there are databases, go to the next step.

4. For each church database found, review the databases listed in this county, and analyze them to see if they are worthwhile (contain individuals' names and is complete for the county). If it is not worthwhile, do not include it. The decision is up to you.

5. If you think the database is worthwhile, determine which denomination(s) the databases cover(s). Now go to your wiki county page in wikitext and add the database to the appropriate denomination headings already listed. If the denomination is not listed, please add it as a heading 5 in alphabetical order with the other denominations. Leave out the word "Church" for each denomination.

6. Now list each applicable database from USGenWeb under the correct denomination heading and after any written description about the denomination (you do not need to add a description) in chronological order and then alphabetical order in the following manner:

6a. WITHOUT DATES IN TITLE
:* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~buckscounty/churches/Southampton_Baptist_Church_Tomb.html Southampton Old School Baptist Church] at [http://usgenweb.org/ USGenWeb] - index only; original name may have been Pennypack(Pennepack) Church<br>


6b. WITH DATES IN TITLE
:*'''1803-1913''' – [http://pagenweb.org/~bucks/Churches/stjohn.html St John The Baptist Roman Catholic Church] at [http://usgenweb.org/ USGenWeb] - index only; located in Haycock Township<br>


7. After each database listed, add any helpful info about the database after the title by putting a dash in the entry such as, "not complete" or "index only" or "index and images". See examples above.

8.  If an index covers more than one church for the county, put the database under the heading, "County-wide Datbases - Multi-denominational" you added in Part A. Put it in chronological and alphabetical order among the other databases.

9. We are not listing any church histories at this time. Only add church databases that have individuals' names.

Example of Task

Church Records

Baptist
Roman Catholic

Example of Complete Church Records Section

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.


Many denominations dot the landscape of Berks County. Visiting the church your ancestor attended is recommended; however, many times, due to distance, that is not possible. The Historical Society of Berks County has an on-line index of more then 1.2 millions names, gleaned from the records of more than 300 local churches. It is not a complete index but still worth your time if you are looking for baptism, marriage, and burial records. The index is searchable in numerous ways, but searching by last name or church name is probably most popular. The index lists the name of the record, volume and page number where the individual record can be found. The volume and page number refer to books located at the historical society. To view the actual record, use the printable on-line form that can be mailed to obtain a copy of the record or visit the society. There is a fee for acquiring the record by mail. 

The Berks County Genealogical Society has various records for churches throughout the Berks County area. However, the society has not put the records on-line and to view the records one must go to the society.

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Berks County, Pennsylvania Church Records in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Baptists

Baptists settled in Berks County about 1738 along the Tulpehocken creek by individuals from the counties of Chester and Philadelphia. Two congregations were formed but by 1774 both had disappeared from the Tulpehocken region.[1]

Brethren

Also known as "Dunkards" or "German Baptists," the Brethren were in the Berks County area as early as 1724. However, the first Brethren congregation was settled in 1723 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Early Berks County congregations were located near Pricetown, Millersburg and Oley with additional groups in the townships of Tulpehocken, Upper Tulpehocken and Bern.[2]

Moravian
Presbyterian

While never a denomination of prominence in Berks County, their beginnings were early in the county. Organized in 1812 the First Presbyterian Church is currently located at 37 South Fifth Street in Reading, PA. There are currently five Presbyterian churches in the city of Reading and the surrounding area. Currently the Historical of Berks County has only records for First Presbyterian. Additional records may be located at the individual churches.

Roman Catholic


  1. Morton L. Montgomery, "Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania" (Chicago: J.H. Beers and Co., 1909), 47. WorldCat 4281157; FHL book 974.816 D2m
  2. Morton L. Montgomery, "Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania" (Chicago: J.H. Beers and Co., 1909), 46-47. WorldCat 4281157; FHL book 974.816 D2m