Saturday, January 29, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Immigration History Research Center

Yes, today's Church Record Sunday involves records from the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), part of the University of Minnesota. If you haven't checked out this website, I encourage you to do so. They have an interesting collection of resources for immigration research that goes beyond what we tend to think of searching for as genealogists, namely "ship manifests and naturalization records."  They have a list of record types describing what they do have and why they are important, such as fraternal organization records and newspapers. Their Guide to Collections is searchable by ethnic group and can help you get a better understanding of what records are available.

So what about church records?  Well IHRC has them. According to their website "The IHRC maintains records of several individual churches, church auxiliary societies, and national or regional administrative bodies. Many of these collections contain documentation on church members in the form of birth, death, marriage, baptism, or other records reflecting rites of passage or sacraments. Important information on individuals is also available in papers of ethnic clergymen."  (emphasis mine)

"A common item on the IHRC's shelves of published material is the church jubilee or anniversary album. Prepared in celebration of a church's founding or in commemoration of a major event such as the opening of a new place of worship, these monographs usually include listings of current and past members, brief histories of the church and sometimes of the local ethnic community, profiles of the church's leaders, numerous photographs, and ads or notices from the various sponsors of the publication. Some of these publications offer surprisingly detailed and unique information for local and family history research."

To search the collection click here . Records in their collection that are microfilmed may be borrowed via inter-library loan.  Otherwise you will need to visit the Center in person or hire a researcher. They will do limited research for $40.00/hour.

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