All the Church Records–Not Just Your Favorites

When reviewing church records, make certain you have accessed all extant records that are available–not just ones of baptisms, marriages, and funerals.

Those records are important, but there may be other church records as well. Some churches kept “family registers” where ecclesiastical information about the members of one family were grouped together. Some churches kept records of donations, communicants, confirmations, church joinings, dismissals from the congregation, etc.

Any of these records could provide you with an additional clue about your ancestor.

Remember that church records are private records and that you are not entitled to view them–so ask nicely. Some records have been microfilmed or digitized and may be available outside of the actual church.

Places to locate information about the records of a particular congregation are the church itself, regional or national denominational archives, local historical/genealogical libraries, local libraries, individuals who have also researched families in the area. Some records may be available online at FamilySearch or other fee-based websites.