Saturday, November 27, 2010

Church Record Sunday: Church Bulletins from World War II Internment Camps

Church bulletins have a lot to offer the genealogist. Unfortunately, they are not always archived; they fall in the realm of ephemera, paper items not meant to be kept for long periods of time. When they can be found, typically in an archive or in a private collection, they provide a snapshot of our ancestor's church life at a specific time.  Names of members, events, upcoming activities and more can be part of the bulletin.

The collection found on the Online Archive of California entitled Japanese-American internment camp church bulletins and newsletters collection, 1942-1945 includes church bulletins and newspapers from seven of the Japanese-American Internment Camps. In the cases of these church bulletins, there is much more mentioned about the community the church served than would be found in a typical church bulletin.

The collection description says, "The bulletins and newsletters provide orders of worship for Sunday services, articles, announcements, notices of baptisms, mariages, deaths, and other items of interest for the church members. Several have sections reprinting parts or all of letters received from members who had left the camps for school, jobs, or to serve in the armed forces. Though there are more extensive runs for the churches in Minidoka, Rohwer, and Poston camps, all are incomplete."

This collection is housed at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California . The original materials in this collection are fragile and require permission from the archivist to be used.  There are photocopies available for research. This collection is not available online.

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