Sunday, January 11, 2009

Church Record Sunday: Seventh-day Adventist Records

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a nineteenth century American religion, probably best known for their avoidance of meat and observing a Saturday Sabbath. While it was founded in 1844 and officially organized in 1863 in Washington, New Hampshire, it was the later work of Ellen G. White with which many people are more familiar. According to its web site, the Adventist church has 10 million members worldwide with less than 10 percent living in the United States. For an overview of the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, check out

For those related to Ellen G. White, one of the leaders and visionaries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, you may want to reference the web site for the estate of Ellen G. White at A page of the web site is devoted to her ancestry and includes a pedigree chart, Additional online resources include letters, manuscripts, and photographs,

Another important resource are the audio files for the series entitled "Pathways to our Pioneers", This 22-volume series provides stories of Adventist pioneers and events. It is also available for sale by the web site.

The Adventist Heritage Ministry is an organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Seventh-day Adventist church by purchasing, restoring and replicating historical Adventist pioneer sites. Their web site,, includes information about historical sites important in the early history of the Adventist church.

Andrews University is an Adventist University in Michigan that holds various resources for studying Adventist heritage and genealogy. A list of its Adventist resources is found at Its Center for Adventist Research, is a portal for resources, databases and indexes.

Andrews University's web site is the home of two important Adventist sources. The Periodical Index is an index to over 40 past and present Seventh-day Adventist journals and magazines. The index covers the years 1973 to the present. This index includes obituaries. Photocopies of articles can be obtained through any Adventist library or by contacting Andrews University in Michigan. For those interested in an annual CD of the Index, it may be ordered by individuals for $20.00.

The University is also the home of the Obit Index The Obituary Index is a subset of the Periodical Index. According to the web site, "the obituaries in this Index are found in a number of Seventh-day Adventist Church sponsored and published periodicals. The periodicals generally contain news and devotional material. Part of the news component is the listing of obituaries of people from the geographical area served by the periodical or in the Church at large. Local church pastors report deaths in their church to the editor of the periodical for inclusion in a later edition. Not all church members are included. Only those members for which the editor received information will be found in the magazine and therefore in this Index."

The Obituary Index covers the years 1850 to the present. The web site provides information on how to obtain a photocopy of an obituary if you are unable to request a copy from a local Adventist library.

Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California are important Adventist repositories. Loma Linda University Library's Heritage Room, holdings include diaries and manuscripts, newspapers, books, and oral histories. One of its holdings, the Seventh-day Adventist Document File includes materials resulting from the Loma Linda University and Seventh-day Adventist church there. This collection includes a local history and biography file. The biography file is indexed online at


Miriam said...

Great information, Gena! Thank you! I've bookmarked this, even though I don't have Seventh-Day Adventist ancestors. I've long thought I'd like to write a series on the different Christian movements and denominations and where to find their records.

I would like to point out that Adventism is not a religion, but a denomination of the Christian religion. Categories of religions include Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. Denominations are subcategories within the Christian religion such as Catholics, Lutherans, Adventists, Baptists, etc.

Again, great post and wonderful links! said...

I am a seventh-day Sabbath keeping Christian, but not a Seventh-Day Adventist. I have heard that Seventh-Day Adventists regard Ellen White as a prophet, but I am curious why. Has she made predictions before the fact that have come true and prove her message was inspired by God?