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[[United States|United States]]  
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=== Major Religious Denominations ===
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{| class="FCK__ShowTableBorders" border="0" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="100%" align="center"
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|-
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| width="58%" | <br>''[[United States|United States]] [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[United_States_Church_Records|Church Records]]''<br><br>
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__TOC__
  
Many original church records of the [[United States|United States]] are still at the local church. Others have been gathered into a church or state archives or deposited with a local historical society. To locate them, you must first identify your ancestor's denomination.
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| <br>[[Image:{{Holy Trinity Church}}]]
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|}
  
'''If you know the denomination:'''
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{{Template:US-church-sidebar}}
  
*Look for their records in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under [STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CHURCH RECORDS.  
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=== U.S. Church Records  ===
*Write directly to the minister of the local church. The addresses are usually in city or telephone directories. Some denominations, such as the Roman Catholics and Lutherans, also publish directories. Addresses are also listed in Melton's National Directory . . . cited in “Guides to Church Records” below.
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*Write to the historical society or church archives that may have the records.
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*Write to the church headquarters to ask where the records of the specific congregation are located.
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'''If you do not know the denomination of your ancestors:'''
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The United States is a country of religious diversity. Unlike many other countries, there has been no “state church,” except for a few periods in some of the early colonies.
  
*Search marriage records, obituaries, family and local histories, cemeteries, and family Bibles for clues.
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Church records in the United States began in the early 1600s. Unfortunately, the United States did not require a civil registration or recording of births, marriages, and deaths until into the 20th Century. Sometimes church records are the only records containing birth, marriage and death about individuals. Therefore, they are a valuable substitute when vital records do not exist.  
*Check local histories and city directories to determine which churches were in the area or neighborhood at the same time as your ancestors.  
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*Write to a local library or historical society for information on churches in the area. Regardless of your family's past or present denomination, look for family information in the records of other churches in the area.
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The following is a partial list of some of the major denominational archives and sources that can provide more information.  
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Your ancestor may have changed denominations for reasons of convenience or conviction.  When the family moved to a new community, they may have started attending a church located there, or they may have changed denominations by conversion.  
  
=== Baptist  ===
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For more information see the [[United States Church History|history of American Churches.]]
  
'''American Baptist - Samuel Colgate Historical Library'''<br>1106 South Goodman Street<br>Rochester, NY 14620-2532<br>Telephone: 716-473-1740<br>Internet: [http://www.baptisthistory.us/ http:www.sbhla.org]
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To learn more about the church records and their repositories, click on a state below.  
  
'''National Association of Free Will Baptists'''
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{| width="503" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" class="FCK__ShowTableBorders"
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|-
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| valign="top" align="left" |
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*[[Image:Alabama flag.png|border|22x15px|Alabama flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alabama Church Records|Alabama]]
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*[[Image:Alaska flag.png|border|22x15px|Alaska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Alaska Church Records|Alaska]]
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*[[Image:Arizona flag.png|border|22x15px|Arizona flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arizona Church Records|Arizona]]
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*[[Image:Arkansas flag.png|border|22x15px|Arkansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Arkansas Church Records|Arkansas]]
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*[[Image:California flag.png|border|22x15px|California flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[California Church Records|California]]
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*[[Image:Colorado flag.png|border|22x15px|Colorado flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Colorado Church Records|Colorado]]
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*[[Image:Connecticut flag.png|border|22x13px|Connecticut flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Connecticut Church Records|Connecticut]]
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*[[Image:Delaware flag.png|border|22x15px|Delaware flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Delaware Church Records|Delaware]]
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*[[Image:District of Columbia flag.png|border|22x11px|District of Columbia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[District of Columbia Church Records|District of Columbia]]
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*[[Image:Florida flag.png|border|22x15px|Florida flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Florida Church Records|Florida]]
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*[[Image:Georgia flag.png|border|22x14px|Georgia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Georgia Church Records|Georgia]]
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*[[Image:Hawaii flag.png|border|22x11px|Hawaii flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Hawaii Church Records|Hawaii]]
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*[[Image:Idaho flag.png|border|22x18px|Idaho flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Idaho Church Records|Idaho]]
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*[[Image:Illinois flag.png|border|22x13px|Illinois flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Illinois Church Records|Illinois]]
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*[[Image:Indiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Indiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Indiana Church Records|Indiana]]
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*[[Image:Iowa flag.png|border|22x15px|Iowa flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Iowa Church Records|Iowa]]
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*[[Image:Kansas flag.png|border|22x13px|Kansas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kansas Church Records|Kansas]]
  
Executive Office<br>5233 Mt. View Road<br>Antioch, TN 37013-2306<br>Mailing Address:<br>FWB Executive Office<br>P.O. Box 5002<br>Antioch, TN 37011-5002
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| valign="top" align="left" |
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*[[Image:Kentucky flag.png|border|22x15px|Kentucky flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Kentucky Church Records|Kentucky]]
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*[[Image:Louisiana flag.png|border|22x15px|Louisiana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Louisiana Church Records|Louisiana]]
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*[[Image:Maine flag.png|border|22x15px|Maine flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maine Church Records|Maine]]
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*[[Image:Maryland flag.png|border|22x15px|Maryland flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Maryland Church Records|Maryland]]
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*[[Image:Massachusetts flag.png|border|22x13px|Massachusetts flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Massachusetts Church Records|Massachusetts]]
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*[[Image:Michigan flag.png|border|22x15px|Michigan flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Michigan Church Records|Michigan]]
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*[[Image:Minnesota flag.png|border|22x14px|Minnesota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Minnesota Church Records|Minnesota]]
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*[[Image:Mississippi flag.png|border|22x13px|Mississippi flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Mississippi Church Records|Mississippi]]
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*[[Image:Missouri flag.png|border|22x13px|Missouri flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Missouri Church Records|Missouri]]
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*[[Image:Montana flag.png|border|22x15px|Montana flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Montana Church Records|Montana]]
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*[[Image:Nebraska flag.png|border|22x13px|Nebraska flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nebraska Church Records|Nebraska]]
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*[[Image:Nevada flag.png|border|22x15px|Nevada flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Nevada Church Records|Nevada]]
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*[[Image:New Hampshire flag.png|border|22x15px|New Hampshire flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Hampshire Church Records|New Hampshire]]
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*[[Image:New Jersey flag.png|border|22x15px|New Jersey flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Jersey Church Records|New Jersey]]
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*[[Image:New Mexico flag.png|border|22x15px|New Mexico flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New Mexico Church Records|New Mexico]]
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*[[Image:New York flag.png|border|22x11px|New York flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[New York Church Records|New York]]
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*[[Image:North Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|North Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Carolina Church Records|North Carolina]]
  
Internet: [http://www.nafwb.org/ http://www.nafwb.org/]  
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| valign="top" align="left" |
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*[[Image:North Dakota flag.png|border|22x17px|North Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[North Dakota Church Records|North Dakota]]
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*[[Image:Ohio flag.png|border|22x14px|Ohio flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Ohio Church Records|Ohio]]
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*[[Image:Oklahoma flag.png|border|22x15px|Oklahoma flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oklahoma Church Records|Oklahoma]]
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*[[Image:Oregon flag.png|border|22x13px|Oregon flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Oregon Church Records|Oregon]]
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*[[Image:Pennsylvania flag.png|border|22x15px|Pennsylvania flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Pennsylvania Church Records|Pennsylvania]]
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*[[Image:Rhode Island flag.png|border|21x20px|Rhode Island flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Rhode Island Church Records|Rhode Island]]
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*[[Image:South Carolina flag.png|border|22x15px|South Carolina flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Carolina Church Records|South Carolina]]
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*[[Image:South Dakota flag.png|border|22x13px|South Dakota flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[South Dakota Church Records|South Dakota]]
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*[[Image:Tennessee flag.png|border|22x13px|Tennessee flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Tennessee Church Records|Tennessee]]
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*[[Image:Texas flag.png|border|22x15px|Texas flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Texas Church Records|Texas]]
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*[[Image:Utah flag.png|border|22x15px|Utah flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Utah Church Records|Utah]]
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*[[Image:Vermont flag.png|border|22x13px|Vermont flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Vermont Church Records|Vermont]]
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*[[Image:Virginia flag.png|border|22x15px|Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Virginia Church Records|Virginia]]
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*[[Image:Washington flag.png|border|22x13px|Washington flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Washington Church Records|Washington]]
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*[[Image:West Virginia flag.png|border|22x12px|West Virginia flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[West Virginia Church Records|West Virginia]]
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*[[Image:Wisconsin flag.png|border|22x15px|Wisconsin flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wisconsin Church Records|Wisconsin]]
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*[[Image:Wyoming flag.png|border|22x15px|Wyoming flag.png]]&nbsp;&nbsp;[[Wyoming Church Records|Wyoming]]
  
<br>'''Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archive'''<br>901 Commerce Street, Suite 400<br>Nashville, TN 37203-3630<br>Telephone: 615-244-0344<br>Internet: [http://www.sbhla.org/ www.sbhla.org]
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|}
  
=== '''Church of the Brethern''' ===
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=== Church Records Types ===
  
Brethren Historical Library and Archives<br>1451 Dundee Avenue<br>Elgin, IL 60120<br>Phone: 847-742-5100 Ext. 294 <br>Fax: 847-742-6103 (Be sure to include Brethren Historical Library and Archives on the fax)<br>[http://www.cob-net.org/fobg/library.htm http://www.cob-net.org/fobg/library.htm]
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Each denomination has different records they kept in accordance with their theology. Some types of church records that can be found are:  
  
=== Congregational&nbsp;<span style="display: none" id="1257870652698S">&nbsp;<span style="display: none" id="1257870659982E">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="display: none" id="1257870659353S">&nbsp;</span>  ===
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*Christenings/Baptisms
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*Marriages
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*Burials
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*Confirmations
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*Communion
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*Admissions and removals
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*Financial records
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*Sunday School lists
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*Church censuses
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*Church related newsletters
  
Congregational Library<br>14 Beacon Street<br>Boston, MA 02108<br>Telephone: 617-523-0470<br>Fax: 617-523-0470<br>Internet: [http://www.congregationallibrary.org/ www.congregationallibrary.org]
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=== Information found in Church Records  ===
  
=== Episcopal  ===
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The information kept in a church record by a specific church depended largely on the denomination of the church and the record keeper. Each denomination may have recorded different information.
  
Archives of the Episcopal Church <br>606 Rathervue Place<br>P.O. Box 2247<br>Austin, Texas 78768 <br>Phone: (512) 472-6816<br>Fax: (512) 480-0437<br>Email: research@episcopalarchives.org <br>[http://www.episcopalarchives.org/ http://www.episcopalarchives.org/]
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Church records contain additional information when they recorded church sacraments or ceremonies. For example, christenings or baptisms often included the birth information of a child, parents of the child, and witnesses or godparents, which were often relatives.  
  
=== Greek Orthodox ===
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=== How to Locate Church Records  ===
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America<br>8-10 East 79th St.<br> New York, NY 10075<br>Tel: (212) 570-3500<br> Fax: (212) 774-0251<br> Internet: [http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/about http://www.goarch.org/arachdiocese/about]
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Church records are kept at local churches, in church archives, at historical and genealogical societies, and in libraries.  Many church records have been published in books and periodicals.
  
=== Jewish  ===
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To locate your ancestor in church records you must know:
  
American Jewish Archives<br>3101 Clifton Avenue<br>Cincinnati, OH 45220<br>Telephone: 513-221-1875<br>Fax: 513-221-7812<br>Internet: [http://www.americanjewisharchives.org/ www.americanjewisharchives.org]
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*Where they lived
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*The denomination
  
American Jewish Historical Society Library<br>2 Thornton Road<br>Waltham, MA 02154<br>Telephone: 617-891-8110<br>Fax: 617-899-9208<br>Internet: [http://www.ajhs.org/ www.ajhs.org]
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'''Where they lived:''' It is necessary to know the town or at least the county your ancestor lived in to locate their church records. This will help you narrow down possible churches your ancestors may have attended.<span style="display: none" id="1283981264854S"> Locating your ancestor in the censuses can help you determine where they lived in a particular year.</span>
  
=== Latter-day Saints (Mormons)  ===
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'''Determining the Denomination:''' With the religious freedom in the United States, many different churches have thrived throughout the Country’s history. This may make it difficult to determine the denomination of your ancestor.
  
Family History Library<br>35 N. West Temple Street<br>Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400<br>Telephone: 801-240-2364<br>Fax: 801-240-1584<br>Internet: [http://www.familysearch.org/ www.familysearch.org]
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Suggestions for determining denomination:  
  
Other archives and libraries also have records. For information about records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints see the [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/Rg/frameset_rg.asp?Dest=G1&Aid=&Gid=&Lid=&Sid=&Did=&Juris1=&Event=&Year=&Gloss=&Sub=&Tab=&Entry=&Guide=LDSRec.ASP LDS Records Research Outline].  
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*Look in home sources for church certificates such as a baptism certificate or a marriage certificate. Also search for funeral notices to see where the funeral took place.
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*Obituaries may mention the church where the funeral took place.
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*Locate the marriage record or certificate for a couple. If they were married by church authority, it will state the name of the clergyman and sometimes the church.
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*Look for the cemetery they were buried in. Some churches have their own cemeteries. If they were buried in a church cemetery, they belonged to the church at one point.
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*The family Bible might reveal which church the family belonged to.
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*County histories may contain information about the local churches in the area.
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*If your ancestor lived in a large city, check the city directory to see what churches were in the neighborhood. Some denominations had congregations by ethnic type (Irish, German, English, African-American). City directories often list the pastor or priest and you may be able to determine the ethnicity of the congregation.
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*Contact the local genealogical society or public library for information on churches in the area.  
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*Some communities only had one church, so most residents would have attended that church.
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*Sometimes an ancestor preferred to attend a church close to his or her home, and was not concerned about the denomination he or she attended.  Check churches close to your ancestor's home.
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*Your ancestor may have traveled some distance to attend a church n the next town or county, if the denomination was important.
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*If you know your ancestor's country of origin, it can give you a clue as to their religion. Some individuals immigrated to avoid religious persecution, and may have belonged to a church not popular or common in their home country. The following table gives the more prominent churches of a particular country and the first denomination you should research for you ancestor. It also gives the American name of the church, if it changed.
  
=== Lutheran  ===
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{| border="1" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" width="500" align="center"
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|-
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| '''Country of Origin'''
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| '''Prominent Church'''
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| '''Church in U.S.'''
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|-
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| Denmark
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| Lutheran
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| Lutheran
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|-
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| Finland
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| Lutheran
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| Lutheran
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|-
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| France
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| Roman Catholic
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| Roman Catholic
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|-
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| Germany
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| Roman Catholic
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| Roman Catholic
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|-
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| Italy
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| Roman Catholic
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| Roman Catholic
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|-
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| Latin Countries
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| Roman Catholic
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| Roman Catholic
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|-
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| Norway
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| Lutheran
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| Lutheran
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|-
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| Poland
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| Roman Catholic
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| Roman Catholic
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|-
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| Scotland
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| Church of Scotland
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| Presbyterian
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|-
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| Sweden
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| Lutheran
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| Lutheran
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|-
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| England
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| Church of England or Anglicans
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| Protestant Episcopal
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|}
  
Concordia Historical Institute<br>The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod<br>801 De Mun Avenue<br>St. Louis, MO 63105<br>Telephone: 314-505-7900<br>Fax: 314-505-7901<br>Internet: http://chi.lcms.org/
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=== Obtaining Church Records: ===
  
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA Archives)<br>8765 West Higgins Road<br>Chicago, IL 60631-4198<br>Telephone: 773-380-2818<br>Internet: [http://www.elca.org/archives/ www.elca.org/archives/]
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Once you determine the denomination and where your ancestor lived, try the following to locate church records.  
  
German-Russian Lutheran Ancestry
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==== From the Church  ====
  
[http://www.odessa3.org/collections/churches/ Odessa3.org] - This site contains German-Russian emigrant ancestry in pocket settlements in mid-west states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska . Contains transcribed minutes of meetings, membership lists (some with parentage listed), birth, deaths, and marriages.]
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If you know the church your ancestor attended, contact the current minister to find out what records are still available. Some churches keep their records and provide a way for you to research the records yourself.  
  
<br><br>If a local church is still active, it will be able to help find their records. The records of disbanded U.S. churches are at the ELCA Archives in Chicago. The archives has records of many congregations; those on microfilm can be borrowed for a small fee. Partial lists of church records in its collection are:
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If the records can only be viewed at the church, make an appointment with the minister or secretary to examine the records. Remember, the records are the property of the church. There may be instances when the minister or a representative will not allow you to view the records, but will look at a record for you.
  
*American Lutheran Church (ALC) Archives. ''ALC Congregations on Microfilm''. Dubuque, Iowa: The Archives, [197-?]. (Family History Library&nbsp;fiche [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=269930&disp=ALC+congregations+on+microfilm%20%20&columns=*,0,0 6330690-93].) Arranged by state and city of congregation. The ALC Archives are now part of the ELCA Archives.
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==== From the Church Archives or Denomination Headquarters  ====
*''American Lutheran Church Shelf List Index to Their Church Records Microfilmed as of 1987''. N.p., 1988. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=437527&disp=American+Lutheran+Church+shelf+list+inde%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 K2aL].)
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*A guide to most Lutheran churches and addresses is:
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*''Lutheran Church Directory for the United States 1982''. New York, New York: Lutheran Council in the USA, 1981. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1049302&disp=1982%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 K24L].)
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=== Methodist  ===
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When a church closes or the church records are no longer held at the church, the records of their congregation may go the denomination archives, or their church headquarters. Many larger denominations have centralized records and provide a way for the records to be accessed by genealogists. Some denominations still keep their records private and give no access to church records. It is important to contact the church organization to see what is available.
  
United Methodist Archives Center<br>Drew University Library<br>P.O. Box 127<br>Madison, NJ 07940<br>Telephone: 201-408-3189<br>Fax: 201-408-3909<br>Internet: [http://www.gcah.org/ www.gcah.org]
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For contact information for each denomination, click [[#Major Religious Denominations|here]] and choose a church from the list.
  
=== Mennonite ===
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==== FamilySearch.org ====
  
[http://www.mhsbc.com/genealogy/mr/mr.htm Mennonite Obituaries Index] 1930-2001 online. Index is from The Mennonitische Rundschau. Index covers the world and includes the following:<br>• Surname<br>• Given Name<br>• Maiden Name<br>• Birth Year<br>• Death Year<br>• Place of death<br>• Country <br>• Issue<br>• Page<br>
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Many christenings and marriages listed in the records of some churches (such as the Congregational, Dutch Reformed, and Lutheran) have been listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This index is available online at:  
  
There is also a&nbsp;&nbsp;[http://odessa3.org/collections/ships/link/mindiv.txt Mennonite Immigrants] list for the years 1872-1904<br>The Index provides the following information:<br>• Surname<br>• Given Name<br>• Sex<br>• Estimated Birth Date<br>• Arrival Age<br>• Stated Occupation<br>• Individual RIN<br>• Spouse RIN<br>• Parent RIN<br>• Ship Name<br>• Ship Code<br>
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*[https://familysearch.org/ www.familysearch.org].
  
=== Presbyterian  ===
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Hugh Wallis identifies which baptisms, christenings, and marriages of all religious faiths have been indexed in the International Genealogical Index on his website: [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers.htm IGI Batch Numbers - British Isles and North America].
  
Southern Region
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==== Genealogical and Historical Societies  ====
  
Presbyterian Church (USA) Dept. of History<br>318 Georgia Terrace<br>Box 849<br>Montreat, NC 28757<br>Telephone: 704-669-7061<br>Fax: 704-669-5369<br>Internet: http://www.upress.virginia.edu/epub/pyatt/mont01.html
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Some churches donated their records to local genealogical and historical societies. Locate a list of [http://www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/ genealogical and historical societies in the United States] or, list of [http://www.daddezio.com/society/hill/index.html genealogical and historical societies in the United States.] See also, Cyndi's List - Societies &amp; Groups: [http://www.cyndislist.com/societies/ http://www.cyndislist.com/societies/]
  
Northern Region
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==== From College and Public Libraries  ====
  
Presbyterian Historical Society<br>425 Lombard Street<br>Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516<br>Telephone: 215-627-1852<br>Fax: 215-627-0509<br>Internet: [http://www.history.pcusa.org/ www.history.pcusa.org]  
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Many local universities and public libraries have copies of church records.  Most have websites and list their holdings online.  Locate a list of [http://www.utexas.edu/world/univ/state/ universities in the United States.]  Locate a list of [http://www.publiclibraries.com/ public libraries in the United States]. Locate a list of [http://www.gwest.org/gen_libs.htm#utah genealogy libraries in the United States.]  
  
For their obituaries, news clippings, ministerial service, genealogies, histories, and biographical sketches see:
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==== From Family History Centers  ====
  
*Presbyterian Historical Society (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). ''Miscellaneous Biographical Collection''. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967. (On 69&nbsp;Family History Library&nbsp;films starting with [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=98115&disp=Miscellaneous+biographical+collection++ 506383].)  
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The [[Family History Library|Family History Library]] (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States. These include records of many denominations, particularly the [[Society of Friends (Quakers) in the United States|Society of Friends (Quaker)]], [[Presbyterian Church in the United States|Presbyterian]], [[Congregational Church in the United States|Congregational]], [[Lutheran Church in the United States|Lutheran]], Reformed, and [[Roman Catholic Church in the United States|Roman Catholic]] churches.  
*Benedetto, Robert. ''Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Presbyterian Church, USA''. New York, New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=402590&disp=Guide+to+the+manuscript+collections+of+t%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 A3ben].) Indexed.
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[http://www.libraryireland.com/ScotchIrishAmerica/Contents.php Ulster Ireland Presbyterian Immigrants] <br>An account of the (mainly) Ulster Presbyterians who immigrated to America in the 18th century and includes genealogical information. It also provides detail on the social and political conditions that the immigrants faced during that period. An extensive index is included.  
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The library also has an extensive collection of records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes [[LDS Membership Records|membership records]], [[LDS Temple Records|temple records]], and [[LDS Census|church censuses]].  
  
=== Roman Catholic  ===
+
Microfilms of these church records can be loaned to [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|Family History Centers]] (FHC) located around the world. [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp Locate a Family History Center].
  
Records of most parishes are kept in the individual parishes or in diocese offices. Guides to dioceses and parishes are:  
+
Search the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp Family History Library Catalog (FHLC)] available online to see what records are available on microfilm to order into your local Family History Center:  
  
*''Official Catholic Directory''. Wilmette, Illinois: P. J. Kennedy and Sons, annual. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=1498540&disp=2008%20%20&columns=*,0,0 282.025 Of2].)
+
#Go to [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) online].  
*Humling, Virginia. ''U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide''. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1995. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=752107&disp=U%2ES%2E+Catholic+sources%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 K2hu].)
+
#In the  “Place-names Search” of the[https://familysearch.org/#form=catalog FHLC], type in the town or city your ancestor lived in. If no church records are found, search the county. <br>
  
For older North American church records kept by priests of the Order of the Holy Cross contact:  
+
#The [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp FHLC] will give you a list of possible places that match what you typed. Click on the correct match.
 +
#Church records are located under the topic of: Church Records. Click on this topic and you will see a list of all the church records available for this particular place in the [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp FHLC].
 +
#Scan the list of church records available and determine if the church is the right denomination and covers the correct time period.
 +
#Click on the link for the church record you want to search.
 +
#Click in the upper right hand corner button, "View Film Notes."
 +
#This screen will tell you the film number for the record you want to search.
 +
#With the appropriate microfilm number, you can now [[Ordering Microfilm or Microfiche from a Family History Center|order the microfilm from a Family History Center near]] you.
  
Holy Cross Provincial Archives<br>P.O. Box 568<br>South Bend, IN 46556<br>Telephone: 219-631-5371<br>Internet: [http://www.holycross.edu/departments/library/website/archives/jprovincials.html www.holycross.edu/departments/library/website/archives/jprovincials.html]
+
=== Why Can't I find the Church Record: ===
  
&nbsp;
+
There are many reasons why an individual may not be found in a church record:
  
THE DROUIN COLLECTION:
+
*The family didn't attend a church.
 +
*The church records were destroyed or lost.
 +
*The church denomination you ancestor attended did not keep records.
 +
*The church your ancestor attended closed and the records were transferred to another local church of the same denomination or the denomination's central archives.
 +
*The minister of your ancestor may have been a circuit rider (itinerant preacher). Sometimes the preacher's records are preserved in the denomination's central archives or he may have left the records with one of the parishes he serviced.  Sometimes a pastor took the records to the next church. To locate the records, find out where the pastor died and contact libraries and societies in the area to see if they have the records.
  
Drouin Collection 1621-1967 at Ancestry.ca. When searching these databases, be creative in the spellings as well as the various focuses in searching for an ancestor. The French language has many possible spellings for a name, as well as there are errors in the indexing.
+
=== Sources  ===
  
This French-Canadian collection has over 15 million genealogical and vital records entries; they were microfilmed by the Institut Généalogique Drouin. In Quebec, under the French Regime, there were two sets of records kept: a copy for the civil government archives and a copy for the ecclesiastical church archives. The Drouin collection is a civil copy of these entries. Please note that the cutoff date of this collection is in the early 1940s; only a small percentage of entries were covered from 1948 to 1967.
+
For a history of religions in the United States see:
  
This collection is divided into six databases: 1. Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967 2. Ontario French Catholic Church Records, 1747-1967, 3. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954, 4. Acadia French Catholic Church Records, 1670-1946, 5. Quebec Notarial Records, 1647-1942, and 6. Miscellaneous French Records, 1651-1941. For details about these six databases, see "The Drouin Collection: Six Databases" at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/The_Drouin_Collection:_Six_databases .  
+
*Ahlstrom, Sydney E. ''A Religious History of the American People''. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1972. (FHL book 973 K2ah.)
  
'''Early UnitedStates French Catholic Church Records, 1695-1954''': This database only contains the French Catholic parish records from the United States; in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania. The types of records include baptisms, marriages, and burials as well as confirmations, dispensations, censuses, statements of readmission to the church, and so on. They are written mainly in French, as well as English, Latin, and Italian.
+
'''Wiki articles describing online collections are:'''  
  
=== Society of Friends (Quakers) ===
+
*[[Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
+
*[[Ohio, Cleveland Trinity Lutheran Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
Orthodox Records  
+
*[[Ohio Episcopal Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
 
+
*[[Ohio Toledo Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
Magill Historical Library<br>Haverford College<br>Haverford, PA 19041<br>Telephone: 610-896-1175<br>Fax: 610-896-1102<br>Internet: [http://www.haverford.edu/library/special/ www.haverford.edu/library/special/]  
+
*[[Ohio RLDS Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
 
+
*[[Ohio, Grace Episcopal Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
Hicksite Records  
+
*[[Ohio, Crawford County Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
+
*[[Ohio Lutheran Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
Friends Historical Library<br>Swarthmore College<br>500 College Avenue<br>Swarthmore, PA 19081<br>Telephone: 610-328-8496<br>Internet: [http://www.swarthmore.edu/library/friends/ www.swarthmore.edu/library/friends/]  
+
*[[Ohio Presbyterian Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
 
+
*[[Ohio Roman Catholic Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
Important guides to records include:
+
*[[Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County Digital Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
 
+
*[[New Jersey, Calvary United Methodist Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
*Hinshaw, William Wade. ''Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy''. Six Volumes. [http://www.erhs.info/ www.erhs.info] Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers, 1936-1950. (Family History Library&nbsp;book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=192159&disp=Encyclopedia+of+American+Quaker+genealog%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 D2he]; film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=185431&disp=Encyclopedia+of+American+Quaker+genealog%20%20&columns=*,0,0 432597]-606; fiche [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titlefilmnotes&columns=*%2C0%2C0&titleno=192159&disp=Encyclopedia+of+American+Quaker+genealog++ 6051371-79].)
+
*[[New York, New York City, Saint Peter's Lutheran Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
*Hill, Thomas C. ''Monthly Meetings in North America: An Index''. Second Edition. Cincinnati, Ohio: N.p., 1993. (Family History Library book [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=693588&disp=Monthly+meetings+in+North+America%3B+a+Q%20%20&columns=*,0,0 973 K22h] 1998; film [http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=642413&disp=Monthly+meetings+in+North+America%2C+an+%20%20&columns=*,0,0 1698282] item 11.) Alphabetical by monthly meeting. Gives address and sometimes location of records.
+
*[[New York, New York City, Church of the Transfiguration Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
+
*[[New York, Frank S. Rowland Church Register (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
=== United Church of Christ  ===
+
*[[Virginia, Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
+
(Merger of the Evangelical and German Reformed churches and some Congregational churches)  
+
 
+
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and Archives<br>555 West James Street<br>Lancaster, PA 17603<br>Telephone: 717-290-8711 or 717-393-0654<br>Internet: [http://www.erhs.info/ www.erhs.info]  
+
 
+
The Family History Library has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm.
+
 
+
These include records of many denominations, particularly the Quaker, Presbyterian, Congregational, Lutheran, Reformed, and Roman Catholic churches in the eastern, southern, and midwestern states.
+
 
+
The library also has an extensive collection of records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes membership records, temple records, and church censuses. Although these records pertain to all states and many countries, they are described in more detail in the Utah Research Outline and in the LDS Records Research Outline.
+
 
+
Church records are generally found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under [STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CHURCH RECORDS. Histories of churches are listed under [STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CHURCH HISTORIES.
+
 
+
Many christenings and marriages listed in the records of some churches (such as the Congregational, Dutch Reformed, and Lutheran) have been listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This index is available online at:
+
 
+
*[http://www.familysearch.org/ www.familysearch.org].
+
  
 
{{Place|United States}}  
 
{{Place|United States}}  
 
===  ===
 
 
<br>
 
  
 
[[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States]]
 
[[Category:Record_Types_of_the_United_States]]

Latest revision as of 06:00, 20 February 2014

Major Religious Denominations


United States Gotoarrow-kelly.png Church Records

Contents



Holy Trinity Church (Old Swedes Church). Oldest church building in America.


U.S. Church Records

The United States is a country of religious diversity. Unlike many other countries, there has been no “state church,” except for a few periods in some of the early colonies.

Church records in the United States began in the early 1600s. Unfortunately, the United States did not require a civil registration or recording of births, marriages, and deaths until into the 20th Century. Sometimes church records are the only records containing birth, marriage and death about individuals. Therefore, they are a valuable substitute when vital records do not exist.

Your ancestor may have changed denominations for reasons of convenience or conviction. When the family moved to a new community, they may have started attending a church located there, or they may have changed denominations by conversion.

For more information see the history of American Churches.

To learn more about the church records and their repositories, click on a state below.

Church Records Types

Each denomination has different records they kept in accordance with their theology. Some types of church records that can be found are:

  • Christenings/Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Burials
  • Confirmations
  • Communion
  • Admissions and removals
  • Financial records
  • Sunday School lists
  • Church censuses
  • Church related newsletters

Information found in Church Records

The information kept in a church record by a specific church depended largely on the denomination of the church and the record keeper. Each denomination may have recorded different information.

Church records contain additional information when they recorded church sacraments or ceremonies. For example, christenings or baptisms often included the birth information of a child, parents of the child, and witnesses or godparents, which were often relatives.

How to Locate Church Records

Church records are kept at local churches, in church archives, at historical and genealogical societies, and in libraries. Many church records have been published in books and periodicals.

To locate your ancestor in church records you must know:

  • Where they lived
  • The denomination

Where they lived: It is necessary to know the town or at least the county your ancestor lived in to locate their church records. This will help you narrow down possible churches your ancestors may have attended.

Determining the Denomination: With the religious freedom in the United States, many different churches have thrived throughout the Country’s history. This may make it difficult to determine the denomination of your ancestor.

Suggestions for determining denomination:

  • Look in home sources for church certificates such as a baptism certificate or a marriage certificate. Also search for funeral notices to see where the funeral took place.
  • Obituaries may mention the church where the funeral took place.
  • Locate the marriage record or certificate for a couple. If they were married by church authority, it will state the name of the clergyman and sometimes the church.
  • Look for the cemetery they were buried in. Some churches have their own cemeteries. If they were buried in a church cemetery, they belonged to the church at one point.
  • The family Bible might reveal which church the family belonged to.
  • County histories may contain information about the local churches in the area.
  • If your ancestor lived in a large city, check the city directory to see what churches were in the neighborhood. Some denominations had congregations by ethnic type (Irish, German, English, African-American). City directories often list the pastor or priest and you may be able to determine the ethnicity of the congregation.
  • Contact the local genealogical society or public library for information on churches in the area.
  • Some communities only had one church, so most residents would have attended that church.
  • Sometimes an ancestor preferred to attend a church close to his or her home, and was not concerned about the denomination he or she attended. Check churches close to your ancestor's home.
  • Your ancestor may have traveled some distance to attend a church n the next town or county, if the denomination was important.
  • If you know your ancestor's country of origin, it can give you a clue as to their religion. Some individuals immigrated to avoid religious persecution, and may have belonged to a church not popular or common in their home country. The following table gives the more prominent churches of a particular country and the first denomination you should research for you ancestor. It also gives the American name of the church, if it changed.
Country of Origin Prominent Church Church in U.S.
Denmark Lutheran Lutheran
Finland Lutheran Lutheran
France Roman Catholic Roman Catholic
Germany Roman Catholic Roman Catholic
Italy Roman Catholic Roman Catholic
Latin Countries Roman Catholic Roman Catholic
Norway Lutheran Lutheran
Poland Roman Catholic Roman Catholic
Scotland Church of Scotland Presbyterian
Sweden Lutheran Lutheran
England Church of England or Anglicans Protestant Episcopal

Obtaining Church Records:

Once you determine the denomination and where your ancestor lived, try the following to locate church records.

From the Church

If you know the church your ancestor attended, contact the current minister to find out what records are still available. Some churches keep their records and provide a way for you to research the records yourself.

If the records can only be viewed at the church, make an appointment with the minister or secretary to examine the records. Remember, the records are the property of the church. There may be instances when the minister or a representative will not allow you to view the records, but will look at a record for you.

From the Church Archives or Denomination Headquarters

When a church closes or the church records are no longer held at the church, the records of their congregation may go the denomination archives, or their church headquarters. Many larger denominations have centralized records and provide a way for the records to be accessed by genealogists. Some denominations still keep their records private and give no access to church records. It is important to contact the church organization to see what is available.

For contact information for each denomination, click here and choose a church from the list.

FamilySearch.org

Many christenings and marriages listed in the records of some churches (such as the Congregational, Dutch Reformed, and Lutheran) have been listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This index is available online at:

Hugh Wallis identifies which baptisms, christenings, and marriages of all religious faiths have been indexed in the International Genealogical Index on his website: IGI Batch Numbers - British Isles and North America.

Genealogical and Historical Societies

Some churches donated their records to local genealogical and historical societies. Locate a list of genealogical and historical societies in the United States or, list of genealogical and historical societies in the United States. See also, Cyndi's List - Societies & Groups: http://www.cyndislist.com/societies/

From College and Public Libraries

Many local universities and public libraries have copies of church records. Most have websites and list their holdings online. Locate a list of universities in the United States. Locate a list of public libraries in the United States. Locate a list of genealogy libraries in the United States.

From Family History Centers

The Family History Library (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States. These include records of many denominations, particularly the Society of Friends (Quaker), Presbyterian, Congregational, Lutheran, Reformed, and Roman Catholic churches.

The library also has an extensive collection of records for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes membership records, temple records, and church censuses.

Microfilms of these church records can be loaned to Family History Centers (FHC) located around the world. Locate a Family History Center.

Search the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) available online to see what records are available on microfilm to order into your local Family History Center:

  1. Go to Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) online.
  2. In the “Place-names Search” of theFHLC, type in the town or city your ancestor lived in. If no church records are found, search the county.
  1. The FHLC will give you a list of possible places that match what you typed. Click on the correct match.
  2. Church records are located under the topic of: Church Records. Click on this topic and you will see a list of all the church records available for this particular place in the FHLC.
  3. Scan the list of church records available and determine if the church is the right denomination and covers the correct time period.
  4. Click on the link for the church record you want to search.
  5. Click in the upper right hand corner button, "View Film Notes."
  6. This screen will tell you the film number for the record you want to search.
  7. With the appropriate microfilm number, you can now order the microfilm from a Family History Center near you.

Why Can't I find the Church Record:

There are many reasons why an individual may not be found in a church record:

  • The family didn't attend a church.
  • The church records were destroyed or lost.
  • The church denomination you ancestor attended did not keep records.
  • The church your ancestor attended closed and the records were transferred to another local church of the same denomination or the denomination's central archives.
  • The minister of your ancestor may have been a circuit rider (itinerant preacher). Sometimes the preacher's records are preserved in the denomination's central archives or he may have left the records with one of the parishes he serviced. Sometimes a pastor took the records to the next church. To locate the records, find out where the pastor died and contact libraries and societies in the area to see if they have the records.

Sources

For a history of religions in the United States see:

  • Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1972. (FHL book 973 K2ah.)

Wiki articles describing online collections are:


 

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  • This page was last modified on 20 February 2014, at 06:00.
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