List of Selected Denominations
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| Church Records
This article is part of a series.
|Overview of Church Records|
|Types of Church Records|
|Finding Church Records|
|List of Selected Denominations|
|List of Useful Church References|
The following entries provide information to better direct research. Most entries give repository contact information and a sources to assist the reader in finding and understanding records. The researcher is encouraged to consult the general references at the chapter’s end for a more comprehensive listing of titles.
Entries for a few denominations include brief commentary to identify complicated historical changes that need to be considered when undertaking research. Those entries with commentary may or may not include repository contact information and other sources.
Most denominations have undergone many changes over the years, and they continue to evolve. The church denominational name your ancestor knew may not exist today. It is recommended that the following references be consulted before research begins:
These two sites provide current and more detailed infor-mation about denominations and give links to many archives.
Finally, study the history of the area. For example, in slave-holding states prior to the Civil War, records of the local area’s established churches should be consulted for entries that will include African Americans.
These notes are neither exhaustive nor inclusive but are presented merely to serve as information to better direct research in some denominations.
Adventist Heritage Center James White Library Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 E-mail address: email@example.com
Goddard Library Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary 130 Essex Street South Hamilton, MA 01982 Web address: www.gordonconwell.edu/library/hamilton/index.php
Seventh-Day Adventists General Conference Archives 1501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600
African American Religions
The Black Church in America. Indianapolis: Lilly Endowment, 1992. Directory of African American Religious Bodies: A Compendium by the Howard University School of Divinity, edited by Wardell J. Payne. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1991.
Encyclopedia of African American Religions, edited by Larry G. Murphy, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward. New York: Garland Publishers, 1993.
Raboteau, Albert J. A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History. Boston: Beach Hill Press, 1995.
Richardson, Harry V. Dark Salvation: The Story of Methodism as It Developed Among Blacks in America. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1976.
Sanders, Cheryl Jeanne. Saints in Exile: The Holiness-Pentacostal Experience in African-American Religion and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
African Methodist Episcopal
Organized in 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is a United States Methodist Church not affiliated with the United Methodist Church governmentally. It developed from a congregation formed by some Philadelphia-area slaves and former slaves who built Bethel African Methodist Church in that city. In 1799, Richard Allen was ordained minister of the church by Bishop Francis Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1816, Allen was consecrated as bishop of the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church. After the Civil War, the church grew rapidly in the South. It holds a general conference every four years and has about 1,200,000 members. The website for the Fifth Episcopal District Headquarters in Los Angeles <www.ame-church.org> has links to dozens of other AME church sites.
There are approximately 134 separate kinds of Baptists, including Southern, United, Regular, Seed Baptist (Indiana), Primitive, Freewill (sometimes Free Will), Seventh Day, Regular, Landmark, and Independent Fundamental. Try to determine the kind of Baptist your ancestor was and narrow your search to a state and county. Baptists have this basic organizational pattern: churches belong to associations (composed of churches from a particular area/county) and to a state convention. Records are usually maintained by the church, but the associational or state offices can be of assistance in locating a church, or information if the church is defunct. Today, many Baptist archives and repositories, regardless of their own particular affiliation, acquire materials from all types of Baptist denominations. Should the repository that is contacted not have the requested church records, it may still be able to assist in a search.
Samuel Colgate Baptist Historical Library of the American Baptist Historical Society 1100 South Goodman Street Rochester, NY 14620-2532
American Baptist Historical Society Archives Center PO Box 851 Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Andover Newton Theological School (including the Backus Historical Society) 210 Herrick Road Newton Centre, MA 02459
The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collection Library Bates College 70 Campus Avenue Lewiston, ME 04240
Missionary Baptist (Southern)
Southern Baptist Library and Archives The Southern Baptist Convention Building 901 Commerce Street Nashville, TN 37203-3630
Woman’s Missionary Union Hunt Library and Archives Highway 280 East 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, AL 35242-5235 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Collection Baptist Historical Collection Furman University Library 3300 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29613
Georgia Baptist History Depository Jack Tarver Library Mercer University 1300 Edgewood Drive Macon, GA 31207
North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection Z. Smith Reynolds Library PO Box 7777 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7777
Special Collections Riley-Hickingbotham Library Ouachita Baptist University Box 3729 Arkadelphia, AR 71998
Baptist Center History Library Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware 10255 Old Columbia Road Columbia, MD 21046-1716
Mississippi Baptist Historical Collection Leland Speed Library 101 West College Street PO Box 127 Clinton, MS 39060 E-mail address: email@example.com
Virginia Baptist Historical Society Library PO Box 34 University of Richmond, VA 23173
Special Collection Samford University Library 800 Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229
James Boyce Centennial Library Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 2825 Lexington Road Louisville, KY 40280 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Texas Baptist Historical Collection 4144 N. Central Expressway, Suite 110 Dallas, Texas 75204 E-mail address: email@example.com
The Roberts Library Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary PO Box 22000 Fort Worth, TX 76122
The Primitive Baptist Library 416 Main Street Carthage, IL 62321 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethel Theological Seminary Library 3949 Bethel Dr. St. Paul, MN 55112
Swenson Swedish Research Center Box 175 Augustana College 639 38th Street Rock Island, IL 61201-2296 E-mail address: email@example.com
Seventh Day Baptist
Seventh Day Baptist Library Seventh Day Baptist Building Plainfield, NJ 07060
Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society Library PO Box 1678 Janesville, WI 53547-1678 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brackney, William Henry, ed. Historical Dictionary of the Baptists. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999. Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. 3 vols. Nashville: Broadman, –.
Helmbold, F. Wilbur. “Baptist Records for Genealogy and History.” National Genealogical Quarterly 61 (September 1973): 168–78.
Lasher, George W. The Ministerial Directory of the Baptist Churches in the United States of America. Oxford, Ohio: Ministerial Directory Co., .
Leonard, Bill. Dictionary of Baptists in America. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1994.
McBeth, Leon. The Baptist Heritage. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987.
McLaughlin, William G. New England Dissent, 1630–1833: The Baptists and Separation of Church and State. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971.
Menkus, Belden. “The Baptist Sunday School Board and Its Records.” American Archivist 24, no. 4 (October 1961): 441–44.
Piepkorn, Arthur Carl. “The Primitive Baptists of North America.” Baptist History and Heritage 7 (January 1972): 33–51.
Starr, Edward Caryl. A Baptist Bibliography, Being a Register of Printed Material By and About Baptists. 25 vols. Rochester, N.Y.: American Baptist Historical Society, 1947–76.
Brethren in Christ Church
Brethren in Christ Church Historical Library and Archives Messiah College PO Box 3002, 1 College Avenue Grantham, PA 17027-9795 E-mail address: email@example.com
Church of the Brethren
Ashland Theological Library Roger E. Darling Memorial Library 910 Center Street Ashland, OH 44805
Brethren Historical Library and Archives 1451 Dundee Ave. Elgin, IL 60120 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beeghly Library Juniata College 1815 Moore Street Huntingdon, PA 16652 E-mail address: email@example.com
German-American Pietist-Anabaptist background Bethany Theological Seminary Butterfield and Meyers Rds. Oak Brook, IL 60521
Church of Christ, Scientist
Archives and Library of the Mother Church The First Church of Christ, Scientist Christian Science Plaza International Headquarters 175 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115
Longyear Museum Daycroft Library 1125 Boylston Street (Route 9) Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Church of God
For all bodies under this name, see the current Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The (Mormons; Latter-day Saint Church; LDS)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, was organized by Joseph Smith Jr., in Fayette, New York, on 6 April 1830. As membership grew, so did persecution, causing members to move from New York to Ohio, then to Missouri and Illinois. By the late 1840s, the Mormons were again migrating, this time to what would become Utah. A more detailed history is at http://www.mormon.org. In addition to the expected record-keeping of vital events, the Church took a census every four years from 1914 to 1950 (except for 1945 during World War II). Not all members were included, but for many who were, the entire family is listed along with places and dates of birth. In addition, more than in any other denomination, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to keep journals and personal records. Church members have contributed more than eight million family group records for searching by all who are interested in their family’s heritage. Indexes to many of these records will be found online at FamilySearch.org. Similar records can also be found on Ancestry.com, including an LDS Member Name Index, 1830–45, and the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.
Family History Library 35 North West Temple Street Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400 E-mail address: email@example.com
LDS Church Historical Department Archives/Library 50 East North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Brigham Young University Center for Church History Provo, UT 84602
Jensen, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. 4 vols. Draper, Utah: Gregg Koffard Books, 2003. Also online at Ancestry.com.
Ludlow, Daniel H., ed. Encyclopedia of Mormonism. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1992.
Churches of Christ
Harding Graduate School of Religion Library 1000 Cherry Rd. Memphis, TN 38117
As a result of mergers, schisms, and other historical developments, at least three denominations contain Congregational Churches or former Congregational Churches: Congregational Christian Churches (National Association), Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ. Many early Congregational Church records will be found in compilations such as Jay Mack Holbrook, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Oxford, Mass.: Holbrook Institute, 1983) series published by The New England Historic Genealogical Society and in other New England town vital record books.
Congregational Library and Archive 14 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108
Taylor, Richard H. Southern Congregational Churches. Benton Harbor, Mich.: R. H. Taylor, 1994.
Youngs, J. William T. The Congregationalists. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
Disciples of Christ
Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street Indianapolis, IN 46208
Carl Johann Memorial Library Culver-Stockton College
- 1 College Hill
Canton, MO 63435
The Disciples of Christ Historical Society 1101 Nineteenth Avenue South Nashville, TN 37212
Lexington Theological Seminary 631 S. Limestone Lexington, KY 40508
Mary Couts Burnett Library Texas Christian University PO Box 198400 Fort Worth, TX 76219
Garrison, W. E., and A. T. DeGroot. The Disciples of Christ, a History. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1948.
Harrell, David Edwin, Jr. Quest for a Christian American 1800–1865: A Social History of the Disciples of Christ. Vol 1. in the series, Religon and American Culture. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2003.
———. Sources of Division in the Disciples of Christ, 1865–1900. Vol 2. in the series, Religon and American Culture. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2003.
Episcopal Church U.S.A.—see also Protestant Episcopal
The Archives of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Records Administration Office: Episcopal Church Center 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017-4594 E-mail address: Research@episcopalarchives.org
Historical Society of the Episcopal Church PO Box 2098 Manchaca, Texas 78652-2098
Evangelical Congregational Church
Evangelical Congregational Historical Society Evangelical School of Theology 121 S. College Street Meyerstown, PA 17067 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Evangelical Covenant Church of America
Evangelical Covenant Church of America Archives and Special Collections of North Park University 3225 West Foster Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-4895 E-mail address: email@example.com
Evangelical Free Church of America
Evangelical Free Church of America 901 East 78th Street Minneapolis, MN 55420 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Evangelical United Brethren Church—see also Methodist
Leedy, Roy B. The Evangelical Church in Ohio Being a History of the Ohio Conference and Merged Conferences of the Evangelical Church in Ohio, Now the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 1816–1951. Cleveland: Evangelical Press, 1959.
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America Department of Archives 8 East 79th Street New York, NY 10021 E-mail address: email@example.com
For other Eastern Orthodox Church archives, see the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
Huguenot (French Protestants of the Reformed Church)
The Huguenot Historical Society 18 Broadhead Avenue New Paltz, NY 12561 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Huguenot Society of America 122 East 58th Street New York, NY 10022
The National Huguenot Society 9033 Lyndale Avenue S. #108 Bloomington, MN 55420-3535
Allen, Cameron. “Records of the Huguenots in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies with Some Mention of Dutch and German Sources.” A paper delivered at the World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar, 5–8 August 1969, Area F-10, Salt Lake City, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL microfiche 6039362. Much of this material also appears in “Huguenot Migrations” in the American Society of Genealogists, Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources, 256–90. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Genealogists, 1971.
Baird, Charles W. History of the Huguenot Emigration to America. 2 vols. reprinted as one. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998.
Butler, Jon. Huguenots in America: A Refugee People in New World Society (Harvard Historical Mongraphs). Harvard University Press, 1984.
American Jewish Archives 3101 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45220
American Jewish Historical Society 10 Thornton Dr. Waltham, MA 02154
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research 555 W. 57th Street New York, NY 10019
Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. 1985–. PO Box 900, Teaneck, NJ 07666.
Kurzweil, Arthur, and Elie Wiesel. From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Rottenberg, Dan. Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy. 1977; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998. Especially note chapter 6, “Jewish Sources in America.”
Stern, Malcolm H. First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654–1977. 1978; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991.
Lutheran church records rank among the best available in terms of research content and preservation. They are invaluable for tracing German or Scandinavian ancestors, even though the numerous synods may appear baffling. Frederick S. Weiser, an authority on German records, has translated, transcribed, and published volumes of primarily Lutheran church records and documents of Lutheran pastors. His publications, both monographs and periodical articles, focus on the Lutheran church records from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.
As a result of a merger in 1988, the majority of American Lutherans now belong to a unified body called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
The American Church, formed in 1960, was composed largely of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian American), the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish American), and American Lutheran Church (Midwestern German American). The Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was formed in 1962 by the consolidation of the Augustana Evangelical Church (Swedish American), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Finnish American), American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish American), and the United Lutheran Church in America (German American) churches of the eastern and midwestern United States.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 321 Bonnie Lane Elk Grove, IL 60007 E-mail address: email@example.com
The creation of the ELCA also began an archival system featuring regional repositories
ELCA Region 1 Archives (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington) Mortvedt Library Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA 98447-0013
ELCA Region 2 Archives (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming) Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary 2770 Marin Ave. Berkeley, CA 94708-1597
ELCA Region 3 Archives (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota) 2481 Como Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55108-1445
ELCA Region 4 Archives (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas)
For Arkansas and Oklahoma: Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod 4803 S. Lewis Ave. Tulsa, OK 74105-5199
For Kansas and Missouri: Bethany College Wallerstedt Learning Center 421 N. First Street Lindsborg, Kansas 67456-1897
For Texas and Louisiana: The Rev. Arnold Moede 205 Coventry Seguin, TX 78155
For Nebraska: Ms. Vivian Peterson 1325 N. Platte Ave. Fremont, NE 68025
ELCA Region 5 Archives (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, upper Michigan) 333 Wartburg Place Dubuque, IA 52003-7797
ELCA Region 6 Archives (Indiana, Kentucky, lower Michigan, Ohio) Trinity Lutheran Seminary 2199 E. Main Street Columbus, OH 43209
ELCA Region 7 Archives (New York [except Metropolitan New York City], New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, New England, and the non-geographic Slovak-Zion Synod) Lutheran Archives Center 7301 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19119 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Metropolitan New York Synod: Lutheran Church Archives Hormann Library Wagner College Staten Island, NY 10301
ELCA Region 8 Archives (Delaware, Maryland, central and western Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C.)
For western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Maryland: Archives Thiel College 75 College Avenue Greenville, PA 16125
For central Pennsylvania, Delaware, eastern Maryland, and Washington, D.C.: A. R. Wentz Library Lutheran Theological Seminary Gettysburg, PA 17325
ELCA Region 9 Archives (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Caribbean Synod)
For North Carolina: ELCA North Carolina Synod 1988 Lutheran Synod Drive Salisbury, NC 28144
For South Carolina: ELCA South Carolina Synod PO Box 43 Columbia, SC 29202-0043
For Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Caribbean Synod: ELCA Region 9 Archives Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary 4201 N. Main Street Columbia, SC 29203
For Virginia: ELCA Virginia Synod PO Drawer 70 Salem, VA 24153
Bodensieck, Julius, ed. The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church. 3 vols. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965.
Luecker, Erwin L., ed. Lutheran Cyclopedia. St. Louis: Concordia, 1975.
Nelson, E. Clifford, ed. The Lutherans in North America. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2003.
Roebel, A. G. Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America. Reprint, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Wittman, Elisabeth. “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Archives.” Illinois Libraries 74 (November 1992): 467–69.
Lutheran—Finnish American Churches
Finnish American Historical Archives Finlandia University 601 Quincy Street Hancock, MI 49930
The second largest Lutheran denomination is the Missouri Synod. This church is much more theologically conservative than those that merged to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Largely Midwestern and German in background, it also contains some Slovak and Finnish Lutheran congregations.
Concordia Historical Institute Department of Archives and History of the Missouri Synod (LCMS) 801 De Mun Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 E-mail address: email@example.com
Lutheran—Swedish American Churches
The Swenson Center Box 175 Augustana College 639 38th Street Rock Island, IL 61201-2296 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lutheran—Wisconsin Synod (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
This denomination is ultra-conservative in its doctrine. It is German American in background, and the congregations are concentrated in the upper Midwest with a scattering elsewhere.
WELS Archives Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary 1831 N. Seminary Drive, 65W Mequon, WI 53092 E-mail address: email@example.com
Founded in Switzerland in the 1500s after secession from the Zurich state church, the followers of Jacob Ammann broke from the other Mennonites in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693. Most Amish Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century when others rejoined the main Mennonite group. Mennonites place the Bible as the sole rule of faith and shun worldly ways and modern innovation (education and technology). The sacraments are adult baptism and communion.
Mennonite Historical Library 1700 S. Main Goshen, IN 46526 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies 1717 South Chestnut Avenue Fresno, CA 93702
Mennonite Historical Library Musselman Library Bluffton College 280 West College Avenue, Ste.1 Bluffton, OH 45817-1196
Mennonite Library and Archives Bethel College 300 East 27th Street North Newton, KS 67117-0531
Menno Simons Historical Library Hartzler Library Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society 2215 Millstream Rd. Lancaster, PA 17602
The Mennonite Encyclopedia. 5 vols. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1990.
Today’s Methodist Church is the descendent of several predecessors. They are (briefly) the following: Methodist Episcopal Church (1784–1939), Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845–1939), Methodist Protestant Church (1828–1939), Methodist Church (1939–1968), United Brethren in Christ (1800–1946), Evangelical Association (1803–1922), United Evangelical Church (1894–1922), Evangelical Church (1922–1946), Evangelical United Brethren (1946–1968), and United Methodist Church (1968–present). For further details, consult the time line at http://www.gcah.org/UMC_timeline.htm. In addition to church and conference records, the Methodists published state conference newspapers, such as the nineteenth-century Southern Christian Advocate. An index to obituaries in the Southern Christian Advocate (1837–1948, South Carolina Methodist Advocate (1948–1968) and South Carolina United Methodist Advocate (1968– ) is at Wofford College Library Archives (Spartenburg, S.C.) at http://www.wofford.edu/sandorTeszlerLibrary/archives/archivesObituarySearchForm.asp.
The Evangelical United Brethren published some English and some foreign-language newspapers; an index to the obituaries in several of these UB denominational papers is at http://www.huntington.edu/ubhc/ubhcobit.html. An index to the following denominational newspapers may be searched at http://www.huntington.edu/ubhc/ubhcobit.html: Christian Conservator (1885–1954) The United Brethren (1954–1994); The UB (1994–2003); The Religious Telescope (1834–1849); Der Christliche Apologete, 1888–January 1889; Der Christliche Botschafter, selections from 1836–1865, Die Deutsche Telescope (The German Telescope), April 1847–April 1850; Evangelical Messenger, 1848–1866; Die Evangelische Zeitschrift (The Evangelical Journal), January–November 1894; Der Frohliche Botschafter (The Joyful Messenger), December 1851–April 1866; and Die Geschaeftige Martha (The Busy Martha), July 1841–December 1851.
Archives and Special Collections Roy O. West Library DePauw University Greencastle, IN 46153
Center for Evangelical United Brethren Studies United Theological Seminary 1810 Harvard Blvd. Dayton, OH 45406
Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library Perkins School of Theology Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX 75222
Interdenominational Theological Center Library 671 Beckwith Street S.W. Atlanta, GA 30314
Manuscript Department Duke University Library Duke University Durham, NC 27706
Marston Memorial Historical Center and Archives Free Methodist Church PO Box 535002 Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002 E-mail address: History@fmcna.org
New England Methodist Historical Society Library Boston University School of Theology 745 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02215
Pitts Theology Library Emory University Atlanta, GA 30322
The Swenson Swedish Center Box 175 Augustana College Rock Island, IL 61201
The United Library 2121 Sheridan Evanston, IL 60201 E-mail address: email@example.com
United Methodist Archives Center General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church PO Box 127 Drew University Madison, NJ 07940
Batsel, John, and Lyda Batsel. Union List of United Methodist Serials 1773–1973. General Commission on Archives and History, United Methodist Church with the United Methodist Librarians Fellowship, and Garrett Theological Seminar, 1974.
General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. The Directory. Madison, N.J.: United Methodist Church, 1981.
Harmon, Nolan B., ed. The Encyclopedia of World Methodism. 2 vols. Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974. Prepared and edited under the supervision of the World Methodist Council and the Commission on Archives and History.
Minutes of the Methodist Conferences Annually Held in America; From 1773 to 1813 Inclusive Volume The First. New York: 1813; reprint, Swainsboro, Ga.: Magnolia Press, 1983.
Richey, Russell E., and Kenneth Rowe, eds. The Methodist Experience in American: A Sourcebook. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000.
Moravian Archives 41 West Locust Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moravian Archives Box L Winston-Salem, NC 27108 E-mail address: email@example.com
Moravian Historical Society 214 East Center Street Nazareth, PA 18064
Fries, Adelaide, et al. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, 1752–1866. 11 vols. out of print. Vol. 12, 1856–66, edited by C. Daniel Crews and Lisa D. Bailey. Raleigh: North Carolina Archives, 2002.
Hamilton, J. Taylor, and Kenneth G. Hamilton. History of the Moravian Church: The renewed Unitas Fratum, 1722–1957. Bethlehem, Pa.: Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, 1967.
Hamilton, Kenneth G. “The Resources of the Moravian Church Archives.” Pennsylvania History 27 (1960): 263–72.
Reichel, Levin T. The Moravians in North Carolina. Baltimore: Clearfield Co., 2002; reprint of 1857 editon.
Native American Religions
Carmody, Denise Lardner, and John Tully Carmondy. Native American Religions. New York: Paulist Press, 1993.
Collins, John James. Native American Religions: A Geographical Survey. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.
McCoy, Isaac. History of Baptist Indian Missions. 1840; reprint, Springfield, Mo.: Particular Baptist Press, 2003.
Shea, John Gilmary. History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States. New York: Arno Press, 1969.
Nazarene Archives/Church of the Nazarene 6401 The Paseo Kansas City, MO 64131 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Spirit Research Center Oral Roberts University 7777 South Lewis Avenue Tulsa, OK 74171 E-mail address: email@example.com
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Assemblies of God Archives 1445 Boonville Avenue Springfield, MO 65802 E-mail address: Archives@ag.org
Hal Bernard Dixon, Jr. Pentecostal Research Center Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) 260 11th Street, N.E. Cleveland, TN 37311 E-mail address: Dixon_research@leeuniversity.edu
International Pentecostal Church Archives and Research Center PO Box 12609 Oklahoma City, OK 73157 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The father of America Presbyterianism was Francis Makemie (1658–1708), of Scotch-Irish descent, who came to the eastern shore of Maryland in 1683 where he began preaching. In 1716 the Synod of Philadelphia was formed. The colonial revival caused a temporary division (1745–58) into Old Side and New Side bodies. Presbyterianism grew rapidly and by the beginning of the Revolution ranked second to Congregationalism as the most numerous religious body in the colonies. The Plan of Union of 1801 provided for cooperation between Presbyterians and Congregationlists on the frontier, and a large number of Congregational churches became Presbyterian. Resulting controversy divided the main body of American Presbyterians into Old School and New School bodies in 1837–38. Division over the Civil War caused the southern bodies to form the Presbyterian Church in the United States; the northern wings merged in 1869–70 as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The United Presbyterian church was formed in 1858 by the union of two covenanter groups, the Associate Reformed and the Associate. In 1958 the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. merged with the United Presbyterian Church as the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The sacraments are infant baptism and communion. The church is organized as a system of courts in which clergy and lay members participate at local, regional, and national levels. Services are simple with emphasis on the sermon.
Presbyterian Historical Society Montreat Office PO Box 849 Montreat, NC 28757
Philadelphia Office 425 Lombard Street Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516
Presbyterian Historical Center 12330 Conway Road St. Louis, MO 63141 Telephone: (314) 469-9077
McCormick Theological Seminary McGaw Library 5555 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL 60637
Princeton Theological Seminary Speer Library Mercer Street and Library Place PO Box 111 Princeton, NJ 08540
Beecher, Willis Judson. Index of Presbyterian ministers containing names of all ministers of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, .
Hall, William K. The Shane Manuscript Collection: A Genealogical Guide to the Kentucky and Ohio Papers. Galveston, Tex.: Frontier Press, 1990.
Hart, D. G., ed. Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999.
Miller, William B. “Church Records of the United States: Presbyterian.” A paper delivered at the World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar, 5–8 August 1969, Salt Lake City, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Spence, Thomas H., Jr. The Historical Foundation and Its Treasures. Montreat, N.C.: Historical Foundation, 1960. Union Catalog of Presbyterian Manuscripts. Presbyterian Library Association, 1964.
Witherspoon, E. D., comp. Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861–1967. Doraville, Ga.: Foote and Davis, 1967.
Protestant Episcopal—Episcopal Church, USA
The Episcopal Church does not maintain central membership lists. The local church maintains its records, unless it becomes defunct, then the records are transferred to the diocesan archives. To determine whether a particular church is active, contact the archives or use an Episcopal Web resource, such as http://anglicansonline.org/usa, which lists by state all ECUSA churches and provides information about the denomination.
For information regarding records of the colonial Church of England in what is now the United States, consult the collection at Lambeth’s Palace in London and those of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The Society kept extensive records of the colonists requesting parish priests and complaining about the “dissenters” and reports and letters of more than three hundred missionaries. These records have been microfilmed and are available at many archival and academic repositories.
Archives of the Episcopal Church 606 Rathervue Place PO Box 2247 Austin, TX 78768 E-mail address: Research@episcopalarchives.org
O’Connor, Daniel. Three Centuries of Mission: The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 1701–2000. New York: Continuum, 2000.
Painter, Bordon W. The Anglican Vestry in Colonial America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965.
Reformed Church in America or Dutch Reformed
This denomination was established in North America in New Amsterdam. The first services were held on Manhattan Island in 1628, and a church was built as early as 1633. Until becoming the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in 1867, this denomination was known as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. It was the only Christian denomination permitted to hold public worship in New Amsterdam until the English takeover of 1664. The Dutch minister married nearly every couple and baptized nearly every child in the city prior to that time, conducting these sacraments for all nationalities and races. Manhattan’s collegiate Dutch Reformed churches form a corporation within the RCA that owns the original records of the collegiate churches from 1639 (only copies exist of the earliest registers) through 1806, when some churches began to keep their own registers. Transcripts have been published by The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) in various forms, such as Harry Macy Jr., “Dutch Reformed Records of New York City in the NYG&B Library,” NYG&B Newsletter (Spring 1994). It may also be found online at online at The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The NYG&B Society has also published Hugh Hastings, Ecclesiastical Records State of New York, 1901–16 (Albany: J. B. Lyons, state printer, 1901–1916), which features selected transcripts of the church administrative records and correspondence. See also The Holland Society of New York for lists of members, 1649–1829, and other holdings.
Holland Society of New York Manuscript Collection 122 East 58th New York, NY 10022 E-mail address: email@example.com
Archives of the Reformed Church in America. New Brunswick Theological Seminary 21 Seminary Place New Brunswick, NJ 08901 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heritage Hall The Archives of Calvin College and Theological Seminary 3201 Burton Street, SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546
German—see United Church of Christ
For other Reformed churches, see the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.
De Jong, Gerald Francis. The Dutch Reformed Church in the American Colonies. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978.
A Guide to Local Church Records in the Archives of the Reformed Church in America. New Brunswick, N.J.: Reformed Church in America Archives. A regularly updated guide; ordering instructions at <www.rca.org>.
The Historical Directory of the Reformed Church in America, 1628–2000. Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, no. 37. Edited by Russell Gasero. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world. Traditionally Catholic records have been kept at the parish level, so the vast majority of sacramental records (baptism, marriage, communion, confirmation, burial, and other original records) will be found at the church in which the event took place. However, older records and those of closed parishes have often been moved to diocesan archives or occasionally to historical societies or university archives. Locating records of older churches can be challenging. Begin looking for the church at the parish level and then consult local diocesan sources, which can at least provide information on where those records can be found. Links to many helpful sites dealing with historical and record-keeping information can be found at the World Wide Catholic Web Directory at http://www.catholic.net/RCC/Indices. This site also has links to various dioceses and parishes, religious orders, schools, colleges, and universities.
Special Collections Division Joseph Mark Lauinger Library Georgetown University 3700 O Street NW Washington, D.C. 20057-1006
University of Notre Dame Archives 607 Hesburgh Library Nortre Dame, IN 46556 E-mail address: Archives.email@example.com
American Catholic History Research Center & University 101 Life Cycle Institute Catholic University of America Washington, DC 20064
Baton Rouge Diocese. Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records. 21 vols., 1707–1898. Baton Rouge: Diocese of Baton Rouge Department of the Archives, 1978–.
Curran, Francis X., S. J. Catholics in Colonial Law. Chicago, 1965; reprint, Clark, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange, 2003.
Ellis, John Tracy. Catholics in Colonial America. Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1963.
Findlen, George L. “The 1917 Code of Canon Law: A Resource for Understanding Catholic Church Registers.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 93 (June 2005): 126–47.
Hebert, Donald J. Southwest Louisiana Records, to 1897, and Southern Louisiana Records, to 1895. 40 vols. Eunice, La.: Hebert Publications. Translates and transcribes several Louisiana parishes.
Humling, Virginia. U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1995.
Linck, Joseph C. Fully Instructed and Vehemently Influenced: Catholic Preaching in Anglo-Colonial America. Philadelphia: St. Josephs University Press, 2002.
McAvoy, Thomas T. “Catholic Archives and Manuscript Collections.” American Archivist 24 (1961): 409–14. The Official Catholic Directory. National Register Publishing, 2001.
O’Toole, James M. “Catholic Records: A Genealogical and Historical Resource.” Register (October 1989): 251–63.
Salvationists—The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army National Headquarters Archives Center 615 Slaters Lane PO Box 269 Alexandria, VA 22313
Contact Information Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center 150 Seminary Street Pennsburg, PA 18073 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shakers—The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing
Shaker Library 707 Shaker Road New Gloucester, ME 04260 E-mail address: email@example.com
Williams College Archives and Special Collections 55 Sawyer Library Drive Williamstown, MA 01267
Western Reserve Historical Society History Library 10825 East Blvd. Cleveland, OH 44106
Society of Friends (Quaker)
The Society of Friends was an important religious group from the seventeenth century onward in North America. They spread throughout New England and into New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. The Quakers are organized into meetings designated for worship (First Day Meetings), congregational business (Monthly Meetings), meetings that combine a group of congregations from a specific area that come together for worship and business (Quarterly Meetings), and meetings that have jurisdiction over a wide geographical area (Yearly Meetings). Quakers usually chose not to register marriages in civil records prior to the close of the nineteenth century, and most Quakers did not use tombstones until the mid-nineteenth century. These omissions add importance to the consistent and thorough record-keeping found in Quaker meeting records, which record a family’s births, deaths, and marriages. Certificates of removal were issued when a Quaker moved from one meeting to another and also appear in the monthly meeting minutes of both the transferring and receiving congregations.
Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081-1905
The Quaker Collection @ Magill Historical Library Haverford College Library 370 Lancaster Avenue Haverford, PA 19041 E-mail address: genealog@Haverford.edu
The Quaker Collection @ The Hege Library Guilford College Library 5800 West Friendly Avenue Greensboro, NC 27410
Archives New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Rhode Island Historical Society Library 121 Hope Street Providence, RI 02906
QuakerMeetings.com--A website with information about all the Quaker congregations (Meetings) that have ever existed in the United States.
Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana, Part One through Six (1962–1975) with Index. By Willard Heiss. Indiana Historical Society, 1972. Covers Indiana Meetings. Reissued as volume 7 of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia series. The Indiana Historical Society did not release the Heiss work for inclusion in the CD.
Berry, Ellen, and David Berry. Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding Them in Quaker Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002; reprint of 1987 edition.
Comfort, William W. “Quaker Marriage Certificates.” Friends Historical Bulletin 40 (1951): 67–80.
Elliot, Errol T. Quakers in the American Frontier: History of the Westward Migrations, Settlements, and Developments of Friends on the American Continent. Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press, 1969.
Heiss, Willard. Abstracts of Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana. Volume 7 of the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by Hinshaw (see following). Vol 7 published Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1977. Revised by Ruth Dorell and Thomas Hamm in 1986.
Hinshaw, William Wade, ed. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1936; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991–96. Available on CD-ROM from Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. Also available on Ancestry.com.
Index to Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. CD-ROM. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.
Jacobsen, Phebe R. Quaker Records in Maryland. Annapolis, Md.: Hall of Records, 1966.
Jones, Rufus M. The Quakers in the American Colonies. 1911; reprint, New York: Russell and Russell, 1962.
Unitarian and Universalist
Unitarian Universalist Association 25 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108
Curator, Manuscripts and Archives Harvard University Divinity School Andover-Harvard Theological Library 45 Francis Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138-1994
Meadville Theological School of Lombard College Wiggin Memorial Library 5701 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL 60637 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Congregational Christian Historical Society 14 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02420
Divinity Library and University Library Yale University New Haven, CT 06520
Hartford Theological Seminary Library Hartford, CT 06105
Harvard Divinity School Library Cambridge, MA 02140
Evangelical and Reformed
Evangelical Synod Archives Eden Theological Seminary 475 East Lockwood Avenue St. Louis, MO 63119
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society Philip Schaff Library Lancaster Theological Seminary 555 West James Street Lancaster, PA 17603 E-mail address: email@example.com
The United Church of Christ
The heritage and history of the United Church of Christ incorporates several antecedent traditions. The United Church of Christ was founded in 1957, when the Evangelical and Reformed Church united with the Congregational Christian Churches. The Evangelical and Reformed Church was formed in 1934 by the merger of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) and the Evangelical Synod of America. The Congregational Christian Church was formed in the 1800s. The United Church of Christ is organized by congregations, which are represented at a general synod that sets policy.
Archives of the United Church of Christ 700 Prospect Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115 E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clark, Elmer T. The Small Sects in America. Rev. ed. New York: DIANE Publishing Co., 1981; revision of 1937 edition. Hinke, William J. “German Reformed Church Records in Pennsylvania.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 37, 2 (June 1949): 33–38.
Rosenberger, Francis C. “German Church Records of the Shenandoah Valley as a Genealogical Source.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 66 (April 1958): 195–200.