Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County Digital Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
These records cover the time period 1809 to 2006.
== Record Description ==
The collection consists of births and christenings, deaths and burials, marriages, and miscellaneous records (such as donations, minutes, and church directories) from the following churches in Schuylkill County:
• Barnesville - Delano United Church Of Christ Charge (Barnesville, Pennsylvania) • Tremont Area Methodist Charge (Hegins, Pennsylvania)
• St. Peter's United Church Of Christ (Tremont, Pennsylvania)
• Christ Lutheran Church (Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania)
• St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Tremont, Pennsylvania)
• Aurand Memorial United Methodist Church (Ringtown, Pennsylvania)
• St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church (Ringtown, Pennsylvania) The records are arranged by township, record type, and then date.
Church records include the following genealogical information:
• Event dates and places
• Names of parents, children, other family members, and witnesses
• Places of residence
How to Use the Record
To begin your search you will need to know the following information:
• The religion or sect
• The location of the congregation or parish
• The ancestor’s name
• The approximate date of the event such as the christening or baptism
If you do not have this information you will need to look for clues in other records. These suggestions may be helpful to you.
• Look at the officiator at your ancestor’s wedding or burial. They are often clergymen. Check with local congregations or a local historical society to see if they help you determine the sect from clergyman’s name.
• Many individuals attended the closest Christian church. This is especially true in small, rural communities where there may be only one church in the area. Search the records of that church.
• Immigrants usually kept the same religion after migrating and may have banded together to form their own congregation. This is especially true if they did not speak English. If the country of origin is known that may also be a clue as some countries had a state church.
• Check with local historical societies for indexes to church records. Be aware that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
Once you have located your ancestor in a church record compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
Carefully evaluate each piece of information in the record. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:
• Use christening and birth records of christenings (baptisms) to identify a person’s birth date and place. These are an excellent substitute for civil birth records.
• Use confirmation records to identify a person’s birth date and place and his or her age. If only the age is given, use it to calculate the person’s death date.
• Use death or burial records to identify a person’s birth date and place. Use age at the time of death or burial to calculate the person’s birth date. These are an excellent substitute for civil death records.
• Use marriage records to identify a couple and the marriage date and place and to begin compiling a family group. These are an excellent substitute for civil marriage records.
• Use church records in general to identify other family members who may have served as witnesses to an event.
• Use the date of the event along with the locality to find the family in census records and land records.
• Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
If you do not find your ancestor, try these suggestions:
• Look for variant spellings of the names.
• Check the records of other congregations in the area or nearby communities.
• There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.
Be aware of the following:
• An infant’s christening usually took place within a few days or few weeks of the birth, depending on the religion. Some churches, such as the Baptists, baptized only adults not infants. Members of other sects blessed their infants when they were a few weeks or a few months old.
• Many religions tested the church knowledge of those that had been baptized as infants and then confirmed them a member of that religion. Frequently, a person’s age at confirmation was between 14 and 20.
• Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the minister, or a clerk appointed by the minister, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.
Most church congregations begin keeping records as soon as they are organized. The records may list names of members, monies donated, church ordinances and communions, and vital events in the member’s lives. In some cases church records are the only record of an individual’s birth, marriage, or death.
Why this Record Was Created
These records were created to track the members and happenings within the congregation.
Church records are usually reliable because they recorded the event at, or near, the time it occurred.
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Contributions to This Article
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Sources of Information for This Collection
“Pennsylvania, Schuylkill, Digital Church Records,” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/); from various churches throughout Schuylkill County Pennsylvania. FHL digital images, 122 folders, Family History Library Salt Lake City, Utah.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
• United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
• Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
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