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Church Records Resources for Genealogy Research

By David A. Fryxell Premium

A sampling of the resources available for some common and historically important church groups:

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Dennis Dickerson, Historiographer

Box 301, Williamstown, MA 01267
(413) 597-2484
www.ame-church.com

Baptist

American Baptist Historical Society

Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482
(610) 768-2378
www.abhsarchives.org

Canadian Baptist Archives

McMaster Divinity College
1280 Main St. W.
Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1
Canada
(905) 525-9140 Ext. 23511
www.mcmaster.ca/divinity/archives.html

Samuel Colgate Historical Library

(American Baptist)
1106 S. Goodman St.
Rochester, NY 14620
(716) 473-1740
www.crds.edu/abhs

Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archive

901 Commerce St.
Suite 400
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 244-0344
www.sbhla.org

Church of Christ, Scientist

The First Church of Christ, Scientist

Christian Science Plaza
175 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 450-2000
www.themotherchurch.org

Church of the Brethren

Brethren Historical Library and Archives

1451 Dundee Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120
(847) 742-5100
www.cob-net.org/fobg/library.htm

Congregational

Congregational Library

14 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 523-0470
www.14beacon.org

Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)

Disciples of Christ Historical Society

1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 327-1444
users.aol.com/dishistso

Episcopal Church

Archives of the Episcopal Church

606 Rathervue Place
Box 2247
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 472-6816
www.episcopalarchives.org

Free Will Baptist

National Association of Free Will Baptists

Box 5002
Antioch, TN 37011
(615) 731-6812
www.nafwb.org

Greek Orthodox

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

8 E. 79th St.
New York, NY 10021
(212) 570-3500
www.goarch.org

Huguenot

Huguenot Historical Society

Box 339
New Paltz, NY 12561
www.hhs-newpaltz.net

National Huguenot Society

9033 Lyndale Ave. S. #108
Bloomington, MN 55420
(952) 885-9776
www.huguenot.netnation.com/general

Jewish

American Jewish Archives

3101 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(513) 221-1875

American Jewish Historical Society Library

Hebrew College
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
(617) 891-8110
www.ajhs.org

Avotaynu

www.avotaynu.com

Center for Jewish History

15 W. 16th St.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 294-8301
www.cjh.org/archives

JewishGen

www.jewishgen.org

Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

Family History Library

35 N. West Temple St.
Salt Lake City, UT84150
(801) 240-2364
www.familysearch.org

Lutheran

Concordia Historical Institute

(Missouri Synod)
801 De Mun Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63105
(314) 505-7900
chi.lcms.org

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Archives

321 Bonnie Lane
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 690-9410
www.elca.org/os/archives (Records of disbanded US ELCA churches are here and in regional archives www.elca.org/os/archives/regsyn.html.)

Lutherans Online Genealogy Exchange

www.thrivent.com/lutheransonline/genealogy

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center

Augustana College
639 38th St.
Rock Island, IL 61201
(309) 794-7204
www.augustana.edu/administration/swenson (Also has microfilmed records of Swedish Baptist, Evangelical Covenant, Evangelical Free Church and Swedish-American Methodist congregations.)

Mennonite

Archives of the Mennonite Church

Goshen College
1700 S. Main St.
Goshen, IN 46526
www.goshen.edu/mcarchives

Menno Simons Historical Library

1200 Park Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
(540) 432-4175
www.emu.edu/library/histlib.html

Pennsylvania and Mennonite Research Center

www.ristenbatt.com/genealogy/mennonit.htm

Methodist

Drew University United Methodist Archives Center

Drew University
Madison, NJ 07940
(973) 408-3590
www.depts.drew.edu/lib/uma.html

General Commission on Archives and History

Box 127
36 Madison Ave.
Madison, NJ 07940
(201) 408-3189
www.gcah.org

Researching Your United Methodist Ancestors

www.gcah.org/Searching.htm

Moravian

Moravian Archives (North)

41 W. Locust St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 866-3255
www.moravianchurcharchives.org

Moravian Archives (South)

4 E. Bank St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 722-1742
www.moravianarchives.org

Moravian Church Genealogy Links

www.enter.net/-smschlack

Presbyterian

Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Presbyterian Church by Robert Benedetto (Greenwood Press)

Presbyterian Historical Society (North)

425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 627-1852
history.pcusa.org/about/phila.html

Presbyterian Historical Society (South)

Box 849
318 Georgia Terrace
Montreat, NC 28757
(704) 669-7061
history.pcusa.org/about/montreat.html

Reformed Church in America

Reformed Church in America Archives

21 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
www.rca.org/aboutus/archives

Roman Catholic

Most records are kept in individual parishes or in diocesan offices.

American Catholic Historical Society

263 S. Fourth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(856) 424-4728
www.amchs.org

Catholic Internet Directory

www.catholic-church.org/cid

CatholicLink.org: Archives, Libraries

www.catholiclinks.org/archivescatholiclinks.htm

Holy Cross Provincial Archives

Box 568
South Bend, IN 46556
(219) 631-5371
Keeps some older North American church records.

Local Catholic Church History and Genealogy Research Guide

home.att.net/~local_catholic

Books and Publications

The Official Catholic Directory (P.J. Kenedy & Sons)
Published annually since 1817; see www.catholicdir.com.

US Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide by Virginia Humling (Ancestry)

Seventh-Day Adventist

Adventist Heritage Center

James White Library
Andrews University
Berrien Springs, Ml 49104
(269) 471-3274
www.andrews.edu/library/ahc

Seventh-Day Adventist General Conference Archives

6840 Eastern Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20012
www.adventistarchives.org

Shakers

Shaker Heritage Society

1848 Shaker Meeting House, 875 Watervliet Shaker Road, Suite 2, Albany, NY 12211, (518) 456-7890, <www.crisny.org/not-for-profit/shakerwv>

Society of Friends (Quakers)

Friends Historical Library

(Hicksite records)
Swarthmore College
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081
(610) 328-8496
www.swarthmore.edu/library/friends

Magill Historical Library

(Orthodox records)
Haverford College
Haverford, PA 19041
(610) 896-1175
www.haverford.edu/library/sc/special

The Quaker Corner

www.rootsweb.com/~quakers

Books and Publications

Monthly Meetings in North America: An Index, 2nd edition, edited by Thomas C. Hill (self-published)

Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, six volumes, edited by William Wade Hinshaw (Edwards Bros.)

Unitarian Universalist

Harvard Divinity School

Andover-Harvard Theological Library
45 Francis Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
www.hds.harvard.edu/library

Unitarian Universalist Association

25 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 742-2100
www.uua.org

United Church of Christ

Includes the Evangelical and German Reformed churches and some Congregational churches.

Eden Archives

475 E. Lockwood Ave.
Webster Grove, MO 63119
www.eden.edu/archives/edenarch.html

Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and Archives

555 W. James St.
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 290-8711
www.erhs.info

UCC Historical Agencies

700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 736-2106
www.ucc.org/aboutus/archives

Church Records Websites

Church Records Books

Look for these reference books at your library or local Family History Center:

  • The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 7th edition, edited by John Gordon Melton (Gale Research)
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 11th edition, by Frank S. Mead, revised by Samuel S. Hill (Abingdon Press)
  • A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark A. Noll (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)
  • National Directory of Churches, Synagogues, and Other Houses of Worship, four volumes, by John Gordon Melton (Gale Research)
  • New Historical Atlas of Religions in America by Edwin S. Gaustad (Oxford University Press)
  • Searching American Church Records by Fran Carter (American Genealogical Lending Library)
  • Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches edited by Eileen W. Lindner (Abingdon Press): Published annually since 1916.

A version of this article appeared in the February 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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