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Church records

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Published in: Education, Spiritual
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  • 1. CHURCHRECORDSKathy PetrasLibrary AssociateMedina County District Library
  • 2. Church Records Church records can be a rich source of genealogical information, but they are under utilized because of the difficulties in locating them. Before the establishment of government vital records, churches recorded the deaths, births, marriages and baptisms of their members. Of course, they still do. Besides these life event records, churches also maintain records of confirmations, memberships, meeting minutes, and financial reports. From church records you can discover how important religion was to your ancestors. If your ancestor was a minister, rabbi, priest or nun, he/she might be listed in the church archives or history.
  • 3. FIRST Determine what religion or denomination the family practiced. This information might be in the family Bible, published county history, a diary, on a tombstone, or mentioned in a will. Where your ancestors settled or where they came from can provide clues as to which denomination you need to look for. Also, investigate which churches were very near your ancestor’s home. People tended to attend churches that were nearby.
  • 4. Detail from Revolutionary War Pensionfile that gives clues to possible religiousaffiliation…
  • 5. Notes from The Uncompromising Sessionist byGeorge Knox Miller
  • 6. Map showingmajor religionsby Europeancountry circa1600.
  • 7. National Geographic Historical Atlas of the United States, National Geographic, Washington,D.C., 2004. Page 72
  • 8. SECOND Discover if that church or temple kept records and where those records are now. *Handout Some denominations kept great records, others did not. Check to see if churches melded together or split away from each other. And of course, like all records, they were subject to destruction by fires, floods or “a big wind”. Along with the handout of the location of church records, many church records can be ordered on microfilm from Family History Centers. www.familysearch.org and http://www.familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.a (Library Catalog).
  • 9. Example: Ohio Methodist records are kept inan archive at Ohio Wesleyan University. http://library.owu.edu/spuma.htm
  • 10. Portrait of Rev. John H. Tagg found in the hallway of the UnitedMethodist Church in Pomfrey, New York.
  • 11. The END

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