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.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Shiloh Presbyterian Church (Indiana)

Religious records can be found in many different locations aside from a church. Don't forget to be on the lookout for books that tell the story of a community as well as those that are histories of a congregation. Books that appear to be  more about  local history may turn out to have some great information.

Take the book, Making a Neighborhood. Speech Delivered at the Shiloh Reunion May 26, 1887 by D. D. Banta (Shiloh, Indiana) digitized on Internet Archive. This book begins as a speech delivered by D.D. Banta but ends with church records that are a valuable resource for anyone with Presbyterian ancestors from this area.

The book includes pages with the names of members of the Shiloh Presbyterian Church.  This table of members includes their name, how they joined the congregation, when they joined, from what congregation they came from, date of dismissal, where they went and death dates. (This list begins on page 39 of the book). A list of infant baptisms follows the membership list. Dates for both lists are limited to the 19th century.

Internet Archive is a valuable resource for digitized books covering genealogy and local history topics.  To search their genealogy section click here.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Some Recent Writings

I don't always have time to post articles on my blog so I thought I would list a few other places where you can find some of my more recent articles.


Dissertations and Theses as Genealogical Sources in the December 2010 issue of Family Chronicle

Weekly Tip: The Music of the Holidays on the Family History Expos Blog

How Did Your Ancestor Celebrate Christmas? and Turn Your Christmas Cards Into Dinner Conversations about Family History in the Family History Expos December 2011 Newsletter.

Finding Books for Your Genealogy and Using Menus to Learn More About Your Ancestor in the WorldVitalRecords Newsletter (23 December 2010)

Here Comes 2011: 10 Genealogy Resolutions and  Packing for a Research Trip in the WorldVitalRecords Newsletter (6 January 2011).

Also, please check out my other blog Food. Family. Ephemera.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Sometimes Searching Means More than Just a Surname

As genealogists, we get use to searching everywhere for our ancestor's surname.  Afterall, that makes sense right? We are looking for specific people and so we should look for them, typically by surname.

Surname searching is useful in many types of databases and  indexes. However, surname searching will only get you so far. It is also important to incorporate in your search the name of the locality your ancestor resided, what religion they were a member, their occupation and other affiliations.  And sometimes, searching means looking page by page.

I've been getting ready for presentations that I am delivering at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  One of my classes has to do with finding images for your family history narrative.  One example I am using  is a photo from an Images of America book by Arcadia Publishing.  This book on Snowflake, Arizona by Catherine H. Ellis has a photo that involves my grandmother but you would never know it unless you took a close, careful look. You will not find this in an index of the book, through Google Books.  It's a good example of making it a priority to look for resources on local history and to not believe everything is in the index.

On page 67 is a photo of two women holding up a quilt, with an enlargement of two of the quilt squares. Below is the bottom of that page with my grandmother's (Clara M. Nikolaus) quilt block on the left hand side.


If I strictly limited my research to surname searching I would miss out on learning about this signature quilt block made by my grandmother. Her name does not appear in the text for this page, you would have to examine the photo see her name.

As the much used phrase instructs, "think outside of the box" you never know what you might find.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives

The Messiah College Brethren in Christ Historical Library and Archives contains primary and secondary sources for those with Brethren in Christ or "River Brethren" ancestors. The home page for the Archives provides a synopsis of their holdings with primary sources, special collections, books and periodicals. Information about the Archive and their guidelines can be found here. Looking for a specific Brethren member?  This list of available manuscript collection authors includes church leaders and lay members.

Because there are various Brethren groups, you may want to contact the Archives first to make sure your Brethren ancestors would be included in this collection. A list of Brethren groups is here.