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
American Baptist Historical Society
Valley Forge, PA 19482
Canadian Baptist Archives
McMaster Divinity College
1280 Main St. W.
Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1
(905) 525-9140 Ext. 23511
Samuel Colgate Historical Library
1106 S. Goodman St.
Rochester, NY 14620
Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archive
901 Commerce St.
Nashville, TN 37203
Church of Christ, Scientist
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
Christian Science Plaza
175 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
Church of the Brethren
Brethren Historical Library and Archives
1451 Dundee Ave.
Elgin, IL 60120
14 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)
Disciples of Christ Historical Society
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37212
Archives of the Episcopal Church
606 Rathervue Place
Austin, TX 78768
Free Will Baptist
National Association of Free Will Baptists
Antioch, TN 37011
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
8 E. 79th St.
New York, NY 10021
Huguenot Historical Society
New Paltz, NY 12561
National Huguenot Society
9033 Lyndale Ave. S. #108
Bloomington, MN 55420
American Jewish Archives
3101 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
American Jewish Historical Society Library
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
Center for Jewish History
15 W. 16th St.
New York, NY 10011
Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
Family History Library
35 N. West Temple St.
Salt Lake City, UT84150
Concordia Historical Institute
801 De Mun Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63105
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Archives
Lutherans Online Genealogy Exchange
Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
639 38th St.
Rock Island, IL 61201
www.augustana.edu/administration/swenson (Also has microfilmed records of Swedish Baptist, Evangelical Covenant, Evangelical Free Church and Swedish-American Methodist congregations.)
Archives of the Mennonite Church
1700 S. Main St.
Goshen, IN 46526
Menno Simons Historical Library
1200 Park Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Pennsylvania and Mennonite Research Center
Drew University United Methodist Archives Center
Madison, NJ 07940
General Commission on Archives and History
36 Madison Ave.
Madison, NJ 07940
Researching Your United Methodist Ancestors
Moravian Archives (North)
41 W. Locust St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018
Moravian Archives (South)
4 E. Bank St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Moravian Church Genealogy Links
Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the Presbyterian Church by Robert Benedetto (Greenwood Press)
Presbyterian Historical Society (North)
425 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Presbyterian Historical Society (South)
318 Georgia Terrace
Montreat, NC 28757
Reformed Church in America
Reformed Church in America Archives
21 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Most records are kept in individual parishes or in diocesan offices.
American Catholic Historical Society
263 S. Fourth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Catholic Internet Directory
CatholicLink.org: Archives, Libraries
Holy Cross Provincial Archives
South Bend, IN 46556
Keeps some older North American church records.
Local Catholic Church History and Genealogy Research Guide
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)
Adventist Heritage Center
James White Library
Berrien Springs, Ml 49104
Seventh-Day Adventist General Conference Archives
6840 Eastern Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20012
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
500 College Ave.
Swarthmore, PA 19081
Magill Historical Library
Haverford, PA 19041
The Quaker Corner
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.)
Harvard Divinity School
Andover-Harvard Theological Library
45 Francis Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Unitarian Universalist Association
25 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
United Church of Christ
Includes the Evangelical and German Reformed churches and some Congregational churches.
475 E. Lockwood Ave.
Webster Grove, MO 63119
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and Archives
555 W. James St.
Lancaster, PA 17603
UCC Historical Agencies
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
Church Records Websites
- Cyndi’s List — Religion
- Locating Church Records
- Religious Organizations
- RootsWeb’s Guide to Tracing Family Trees: Church Records
- UNESCO Archives Portal
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.