Tami Glatz, wrote an excellent article about websites for digitized books on her blog, Relatively Curious at http://relativelycurious.blogspot.com/2009/11/finding-family-stories-in-online.html. Her article, Finding Family Stories in Online Digitized Books provides a great overview of places to find digitized books online that can help you in researching your family.
Digitized book sites can be excellent resources for finding information relating to your ancestor’s religion. It is on these sites that you can find historic journals, church histories and transcribed records. While everyone is probably familiar with my favorite of these sites, Google Books, there is another source that you may also want to check out.
Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org/index.php, is a website that provides many different types of online archival materials including audio, video, music and text. You can also use their Wayback Machine to find cached pages of websites addresses that no longer exist. For genealogists, their collection of almost 2 million digitized books is an important resource for research.
Once you are on the Internet Archive site, click on Texts and then at the top toolbar, click on the link, Additional Collections. Scrolling down this page will lead you to a graphic and link for Genealogy, click on this link (http://www.archive.org/details/genealogy). The Internet Archive’s Genealogy Collection includes texts from Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, University of Toronto, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library. Right now there are almost 12,000 books in this digital library, but my understanding is that there will be more added.
You can browse these titles by author or title. There are fabulous genealogy books that include family history books, vital records, land records, histories and more. I love this resource but there is one tiny feature that I am not in love with. As you are looking at book titles, the website blinks thumbnail views of the book and its contents. These views “flash” like Christmas tree lights. I find this feature difficult to stomach, literally, but it can be turned off. Just scroll down the page and you will see a link for “Turn off thumbnails.”
Some of the titles related to churches that I found include:
A brief account of the parish and church of Wiston, in the province of Canterbury, diocese of Ely, archdeaconry of Sudbury, in the county of Suffolk ([n.d.]), http://www.archive.org/details/briefaccountofpa00birc
A brief history of the First Church in Plymouth, from 1606 to 1901 (1902), http://www.archive.org/details/briefhistoryoffi00cuck
Baptisms and admission from the records of First church in Falmouth, now Portland, Maine (1898), http://www.archive.org/details/baptismsadmissio00main
Bachelor Creek Christian Church records; Hanna Cemetery records ... Noble Township, Wabash County, Indiana ([n.d.]), http://www.archive.org/details/bachelorcreekchr00ohai
Baptisms, marriages, burials and list of members taken from the church records of the Rev. Ammi Ruhamah Robbins, first minister of Norfolk, http://www.archive.org/details/baptismsmarriage00robbConnecticut, 1761-1813 (1910)
These are just some of the titles to check out the rest, browse the collection by title. This is an important resource that brings books genealogy resources to you. You can read these books online, download them as a PDF and even download them for reading on other media, like Kindle. Each book, once opened can also be searched individually.