Sunday, January 10, 2010

Church Record Sunday: So Where Are The Records?

The most difficult part of looking for documents for our ancestors can be figuring out where the documents are housed. Although it may seem obvious that church records are stored at the church, it's not always that easy. Yes, sometimes the record is at the church but sometimes for a variety of reasons it may be stored elsewhere. Here are some ideas of places to look for church/religious records for your ancestor:

  • Individual Church Office (parish, church meetinghouse, etc)
  • Regional Church Office (ex. Archdiocese)
  • Church Archive
  • Church Museum (A church may have a museum attached to it, perhaps in a place where they were founded).
  • University/College associated with that religion (ex. Notre Dame, BYU, Loma Linda University)
  • University/Church not associated with that religion (they may just be in the location of the church or have had items donated by family members, associates, etc.)
  • Family History Library (, do a locality search and then scroll down for links for church directories, church histories and church records. Also do a keyword or subject search on the name of the religion)
  • Google Books (Google Book has digitized historical journals for various religions i.e., Presbyterian and Catholic. It also has digitized books of church records and transcribed records.)
  • Online Genealogy Databases (WorldVitalRecords, Ancestry, Genealogy Today and others have church records in the form of digitized books and transcripts. Go beyond the basic search and search by locality or record type to find church records)

No comments: