Sunday, July 03, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Inventory of Vital Statistic Records in Montana

Genealogists greatly benefit from the work done by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. Not only did this program help put people to work, it cataloged records that genealogists and researchers use.

Recently while doing some research for another project, I came across a listing of WPA records for Montana. Collection 2336- WPA Records, 1935-1942 is available through the Montana State University Library. This collection of WPA records include two sets that will be of interest to anyone looking for church records for their Montana ancestors.

Series 2: Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations is a directory that is arranged by county and then the name of the church. The description indicates that some other states are also represented and  lists Arizona, Delaware and Utah. You would have to contact the university to see if this is just a few scattered listings or an entire directory for those states.

Series 8: Inventory of Vital Statistics Records of Churches and Religious Organizations in Montana includes documents used by WPA workers to gather information about records kept by these churches and religious organizations. This set looks like a dream for genealogists looking for what vital records would have existed and where they were archived.

This collection is another good example of the value of special collections found in places like university libraries for genealogists. Not all documents leading to church records are kept at a church.

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