List of Selected Denominations

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Church Records

This article is part of a series.
Overview of Church Records
Types of Church Records
Finding Church Records
List of Selected Denominations
List of Useful Church References

This article originally appeared in "Church Records" by Elizabeth Crabtree Wells, MA, MLS in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy



This Catholic First Communion photograph was taken by Schanz Studio of Fort Wayne, Indiana, n.d. From the collection of Reverend Charles Banet.

The following entries provide information to better direct research. Most entries give repository contact information and a sources to assist the reader in finding and understanding records. The researcher is encouraged to consult the general references at the chapter's end for a more comprehensive listing of titles.

Entries for a few denominations include brief commentary to identify complicated historical changes that need to be considered when undertaking research. Those entries with commentary may or may not include repository contact information and other sources.

Most denominations have undergone many changes over the years, and they continue to evolve. The church denominational name your ancestor knew may not exist today. It is recommended that the following references be consulted before research begins:

These two sites provide current and more detailed infor-mation about denominations and give links to many archives.

Finally, study the history of the area. For example, in slave-holding states prior to the Civil War, records of the local area's established churches should be consulted for entries that will include African Americans.

These notes are neither exhaustive nor inclusive but are presented merely to serve as information to better direct research in some denominations.


Contact Information

Adventist Heritage Center James White Library Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI 49104-1400 E-mail address:

Goddard Library Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary 130 Essex Street South Hamilton, MA 01982 Web address:

Seventh-Day Adventists General Conference Archives 1501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600

African American Religions


The Black Church in America. Indianapolis: Lilly Endowment, 1992. Directory of African American Religious Bodies: A Compendium by the Howard University School of Divinity, edited by Wardell J. Payne. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, 1991.

Encyclopedia of African American Religions, edited by Larry G. Murphy, J. Gordon Melton, and Gary L. Ward. New York: Garland Publishers, 1993.

Raboteau, Albert J. A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History. Boston: Beach Hill Press, 1995.

Richardson, Harry V. Dark Salvation: The Story of Methodism as It Developed Among Blacks in America. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1976.

Sanders, Cheryl Jeanne. Saints in Exile: The Holiness-Pentacostal Experience in African-American Religion and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

African Methodist Episcopal


Organized in 1816, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is a United States Methodist Church not affiliated with the United Methodist Church governmentally. It developed from a congregation formed by some Philadelphia-area slaves and former slaves who built Bethel African Methodist Church in that city. In 1799, Richard Allen was ordained minister of the church by Bishop Francis Asbury of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1816, Allen was consecrated as bishop of the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church. After the Civil War, the church grew rapidly in the South. It holds a general conference every four years and has about 1,200,000 members. The website for the Fifth Episcopal District Headquarters in Los Angeles <> has links to dozens of other AME church sites.



There are approximately 134 separate kinds of Baptists, including Southern, United, Regular, Seed Baptist (Indiana), Primitive, Freewill (sometimes Free Will), Seventh Day, Regular, Landmark, and Independent Fundamental. Try to determine the kind of Baptist your ancestor was and narrow your search to a state and county. Baptists have this basic organizational pattern: churches belong to associations (composed of churches from a particular area/county) and to a state convention. Records are usually maintained by the church, but the associational or state offices can be of assistance in locating a church, or information if the church is defunct. Today, many Baptist archives and repositories, regardless of their own particular affiliation, acquire materials from all types of Baptist denominations. Should the repository that is contacted not have the requested church records, it may still be able to assist in a search.

Contact Information

American Baptist

Samuel Colgate Baptist Historical Library of the American Baptist Historical Society 1100 South Goodman Street Rochester, NY 14620-2532

American Baptist Historical Society Archives Center PO Box 851 Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851

Andover Newton Theological School (including the Backus Historical Society) 210 Herrick Road Newton Centre, MA 02459

Freewill Baptist

The Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collection Library Bates College 70 Campus Avenue Lewiston, ME 04240

Missionary Baptist (Southern)

Southern Baptist Library and Archives The Southern Baptist Convention Building 901 Commerce Street Nashville, TN 37203-3630

Woman's Missionary Union Hunt Library and Archives Highway 280 East 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, AL 35242-5235 E-mail address:

Special Collection Baptist Historical Collection Furman University Library 3300 Poinsett Highway Greenville, SC 29613

Georgia Baptist History Depository Jack Tarver Library Mercer University 1300 Edgewood Drive Macon, GA 31207

North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection Z. Smith Reynolds Library PO Box 7777 Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7777

Special Collections Riley-Hickingbotham Library Ouachita Baptist University Box 3729 Arkadelphia, AR 71998

Baptist Center History Library Baptist Convention of Maryland-Delaware 10255 Old Columbia Road Columbia, MD 21046-1716

Mississippi Baptist Historical Collection Leland Speed Library 101 West College Street PO Box 127 Clinton, MS 39060 E-mail address:

Virginia Baptist Historical Society Library PO Box 34 University of Richmond, VA 23173

Special Collection Samford University Library 800 Lakeshore Dr. Birmingham, AL 35229

James Boyce Centennial Library Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 2825 Lexington Road Louisville, KY 40280 E-mail address:

The Texas Baptist Historical Collection 4144 N. Central Expressway, Suite 110 Dallas, Texas 75204 E-mail address:

The Roberts Library Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary PO Box 22000 Fort Worth, TX 76122

Primitive Baptist

The Primitive Baptist Library 416 Main Street Carthage, IL 62321 E-mail address:

Swedish Baptist

Bethel Theological Seminary Library 3949 Bethel Dr. St. Paul, MN 55112

Swenson Swedish Research Center Box 175 Augustana College 639 38th Street Rock Island, IL 61201-2296 E-mail address:

Seventh Day Baptist

Seventh Day Baptist Library Seventh Day Baptist Building Plainfield, NJ 07060

Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society Library PO Box 1678 Janesville, WI 53547-1678 E-mail address:


Brackney, William Henry, ed. Historical Dictionary of the Baptists. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999. Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists. 3 vols. Nashville: Broadman, [1958]'.

Helmbold, F. Wilbur. 'Baptist Records for Genealogy and History.' National Genealogical Quarterly 61 (September 1973): 168'78.

Lasher, George W. The Ministerial Directory of the Baptist Churches in the United States of America. Oxford, Ohio: Ministerial Directory Co., [1899].

Leonard, Bill. Dictionary of Baptists in America. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1994.

McBeth, Leon. The Baptist Heritage. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman Press, 1987.

McLaughlin, William G. New England Dissent, 1630'1833: The Baptists and Separation of Church and State. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971.

Menkus, Belden. 'The Baptist Sunday School Board and Its Records.' American Archivist 24, no. 4 (October 1961): 441'44.

Piepkorn, Arthur Carl. 'The Primitive Baptists of North America.' Baptist History and Heritage 7 (January 1972): 33'51.

Starr, Edward Caryl. A Baptist Bibliography, Being a Register of Printed Material By and About Baptists. 25 vols. Rochester, N.Y.: American Baptist Historical Society, 1947'76.

Brethren in Christ Church

Contact Information

Brethren in Christ Church Historical Library and Archives Messiah College PO Box 3002, 1 College Avenue Grantham, PA 17027-9795 E-mail address:

Church of the Brethren

Contact Information

Ashland Theological Library Roger E. Darling Memorial Library 910 Center Street Ashland, OH 44805

Brethren Historical Library and Archives 1451 Dundee Ave. Elgin, IL 60120 E-mail address:

Beeghly Library Juniata College 1815 Moore Street Huntingdon, PA 16652 E-mail address:

German-American Pietist-Anabaptist background Bethany Theological Seminary Butterfield and Meyers Rds. Oak Brook, IL 60521

Church of Christ, Scientist

Contact Information

Archives and Library of the Mother Church The First Church of Christ, Scientist Christian Science Plaza International Headquarters 175 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115

Longyear Museum Daycroft Library 1125 Boylston Street (Route 9) Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 E-mail address:

Church of God


For all bodies under this name, see the current Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The (Mormons; Latter-day Saint Church; LDS)


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, was organized by Joseph Smith Jr., in Fayette, New York, on 6 April 1830. As membership grew, so did persecution, causing members to move from New York to Ohio, then to Missouri and Illinois. By the late 1840s, the Mormons were again migrating, this time to what would become Utah. A more detailed history is at In addition to the expected record-keeping of vital events, the Church took a census every four years from 1914 to 1950 (except for 1945 during World War II). Not all members were included, but for many who were, the entire family is listed along with places and dates of birth. In addition, more than in any other denomination, Latter-day Saints are encouraged to keep journals and personal records. Church members have contributed more than eight million family group records for searching by all who are interested in their family's heritage. Indexes to many of these records will be found online at Similar records can also be found on, including an LDS Member Name Index, 1830'45, and the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.

Contact Information

Family History Library 35 North West Temple Street Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400 E-mail address:

LDS Church Historical Department Archives/Library 50 East North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Brigham Young University Center for Church History Provo, UT 84602


Jensen, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. 4 vols. Draper, Utah: Gregg Koffard Books, 2003. Also online at

Ludlow, Daniel H., ed. Encyclopedia of Mormonism. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1992.

Churches of Christ

Contact Information

Harding Graduate School of Religion Library 1000 Cherry Rd. Memphis, TN 38117



As a result of mergers, schisms, and other historical developments, at least three denominations contain Congregational Churches or former Congregational Churches: Congregational Christian Churches (National Association), Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ. Many early Congregational Church records will be found in compilations such as Jay Mack Holbrook, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Oxford, Mass.: Holbrook Institute, 1983) series published by The New England Historic Genealogical Society and in other New England town vital record books.

Contact Information

Congregational Library and Archive 14 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108


Taylor, Richard H. Southern Congregational Churches. Benton Harbor, Mich.: R. H. Taylor, 1994.

Youngs, J. William T. The Congregationalists. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.

Disciples of Christ

Contact Information

Christian Theological Seminary 1000 W. 42nd Street Indianapolis, IN 46208

Carl Johann Memorial Library Culver-Stockton College

  1. 1 College Hill

Canton, MO 63435

The Disciples of Christ Historical Society 1101 Nineteenth Avenue South Nashville, TN 37212

Lexington Theological Seminary 631 S. Limestone Lexington, KY 40508

Mary Couts Burnett Library Texas Christian University PO Box 198400 Fort Worth, TX 76219


Garrison, W. E., and A. T. DeGroot. The Disciples of Christ, a History. St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1948.

Harrell, David Edwin, Jr. Quest for a Christian American 1800'1865: A Social History of the Disciples of Christ. Vol 1. in the series, Religon and American Culture. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2003.

. Sources of Division in the Disciples of Christ, 1865'1900. Vol 2. in the series, Religon and American Culture. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2003.

Episcopal Church U.S.A.'see also Protestant Episcopal

Contact Information

The Archives of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. Records Administration Office: Episcopal Church Center 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017-4594 E-mail address:

Historical Society of the Episcopal Church PO Box 2098 Manchaca, Texas 78652-2098

Evangelical Congregational Church

Contact Information

Evangelical Congregational Historical Society Evangelical School of Theology 121 S. College Street Meyerstown, PA 17067 E-mail address:

Evangelical Covenant Church of America

Contact Information

Evangelical Covenant Church of America Archives and Special Collections of North Park University 3225 West Foster Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-4895 E-mail address:

Evangelical Free Church of America

Contact Information

Evangelical Free Church of America 901 East 78th Street Minneapolis, MN 55420 E-mail address:

Evangelical United Brethren Church'see also Methodist


Leedy, Roy B. The Evangelical Church in Ohio Being a History of the Ohio Conference and Merged Conferences of the Evangelical Church in Ohio, Now the Evangelical United Brethren Church, 1816'1951. Cleveland: Evangelical Press, 1959.

Greek Orthodox

Contact Information

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America Department of Archives 8 East 79th Street New York, NY 10021 E-mail address:

For other Eastern Orthodox Church archives, see the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.

Huguenot (French Protestants of the Reformed Church)

Contact Information

The Huguenot Historical Society 18 Broadhead Avenue New Paltz, NY 12561 E-mail address:

The Huguenot Society of America 122 East 58th Street New York, NY 10022

The National Huguenot Society 9033 Lyndale Avenue S. #108 Bloomington, MN 55420-3535


Allen, Cameron. 'Records of the Huguenots in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies with Some Mention of Dutch and German Sources.' A paper delivered at the World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar, 5'8 August 1969, Area F-10, Salt Lake City, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL microfiche 6039362. Much of this material also appears in 'Huguenot Migrations' in the American Society of Genealogists, Genealogical Research: Methods and Sources, 256'90. Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: American Society of Genealogists, 1971.

Baird, Charles W. History of the Huguenot Emigration to America. 2 vols. reprinted as one. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998.

Butler, Jon. Huguenots in America: A Refugee People in New World Society (Harvard Historical Mongraphs). Harvard University Press, 1984.


Contact Information

American Jewish Archives 3101 Clifton Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45220

American Jewish Historical Society 10 Thornton Dr. Waltham, MA 02154

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research 555 W. 57th Street New York, NY 10019


Avotaynu: The International Review of Jewish Genealogy. 1985'. PO Box 900, Teaneck, NJ 07666.

Kurzweil, Arthur, and Elie Wiesel. From Generation to Generation: How to Trace Your Jewish Genealogy and Family History. New York: Jossey-Bass, 2004.

Rottenberg, Dan. Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy. 1977; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998. Especially note chapter 6, 'Jewish Sources in America.'

Stern, Malcolm H. First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies, 1654'1977. 1978; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991.



Lutheran church records rank among the best available in terms of research content and preservation. They are invaluable for tracing German or Scandinavian ancestors, even though the numerous synods may appear baffling. Frederick S. Weiser, an authority on German records, has translated, transcribed, and published volumes of primarily Lutheran church records and documents of Lutheran pastors. His publications, both monographs and periodical articles, focus on the Lutheran church records from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.

As a result of a merger in 1988, the majority of American Lutherans now belong to a unified body called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

The American Church, formed in 1960, was composed largely of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian American), the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish American), and American Lutheran Church (Midwestern German American). The Lutheran Church in America (LCA) was formed in 1962 by the consolidation of the Augustana Evangelical Church (Swedish American), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church (Finnish American), American Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish American), and the United Lutheran Church in America (German American) churches of the eastern and midwestern United States.

Contact Information

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America 321 Bonnie Lane Elk Grove, IL 60007 E-mail address:

The creation of the ELCA also began an archival system featuring regional repositories

ELCA Region 1 Archives (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington) Mortvedt Library Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA 98447-0013

ELCA Region 2 Archives (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming) Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary 2770 Marin Ave. Berkeley, CA 94708-1597

ELCA Region 3 Archives (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota) 2481 Como Ave. W. St. Paul, MN 55108-1445

ELCA Region 4 Archives (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas)

For Arkansas and Oklahoma: Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod 4803 S. Lewis Ave. Tulsa, OK 74105-5199

For Kansas and Missouri: Bethany College Wallerstedt Learning Center 421 N. First Street Lindsborg, Kansas 67456-1897

For Texas and Louisiana: The Rev. Arnold Moede 205 Coventry Seguin, TX 78155

For Nebraska: Ms. Vivian Peterson 1325 N. Platte Ave. Fremont, NE 68025

ELCA Region 5 Archives (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, upper Michigan) 333 Wartburg Place Dubuque, IA 52003-7797

ELCA Region 6 Archives (Indiana, Kentucky, lower Michigan, Ohio) Trinity Lutheran Seminary 2199 E. Main Street Columbus, OH 43209

ELCA Region 7 Archives (New York [except Metropolitan New York City], New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, New England, and the non-geographic Slovak-Zion Synod) Lutheran Archives Center 7301 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19119 E-mail address:

For Metropolitan New York Synod: Lutheran Church Archives Hormann Library Wagner College Staten Island, NY 10301

ELCA Region 8 Archives (Delaware, Maryland, central and western Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C.)

For western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Maryland: Archives Thiel College 75 College Avenue Greenville, PA 16125

For central Pennsylvania, Delaware, eastern Maryland, and Washington, D.C.: A. R. Wentz Library Lutheran Theological Seminary Gettysburg, PA 17325

ELCA Region 9 Archives (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Caribbean Synod)

For North Carolina: ELCA North Carolina Synod 1988 Lutheran Synod Drive Salisbury, NC 28144

For South Carolina: ELCA South Carolina Synod PO Box 43 Columbia, SC 29202-0043

For Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and the Caribbean Synod: ELCA Region 9 Archives Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary 4201 N. Main Street Columbia, SC 29203

For Virginia: ELCA Virginia Synod PO Drawer 70 Salem, VA 24153


Bodensieck, Julius, ed. The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church. 3 vols. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965.

Luecker, Erwin L., ed. Lutheran Cyclopedia. St. Louis: Concordia, 1975.

Nelson, E. Clifford, ed. The Lutherans in North America. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2003.

Roebel, A. G. Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in Colonial British America. Reprint, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1998.

Wittman, Elisabeth. 'The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Archives.' Illinois Libraries 74 (November 1992): 467'69.

Lutheran'Finnish American Churches

Contact Information

Finnish American Historical Archives Finlandia University 601 Quincy Street Hancock, MI 49930

Lutheran'Missouri Synod


The second largest Lutheran denomination is the Missouri Synod. This church is much more theologically conservative than those that merged to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Largely Midwestern and German in background, it also contains some Slovak and Finnish Lutheran congregations.

Contact Information

Concordia Historical Institute Department of Archives and History of the Missouri Synod (LCMS) 801 De Mun Avenue St. Louis, MO 63105 E-mail address:

Lutheran'Swedish American Churches

Contact Information

The Swenson Center Box 175 Augustana College 639 38th Street Rock Island, IL 61201-2296 E-mail address:

Lutheran'Wisconsin Synod (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)


This denomination is ultra-conservative in its doctrine. It is German American in background, and the congregations are concentrated in the upper Midwest with a scattering elsewhere.

Contact Information

WELS Archives Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary 1831 N. Seminary Drive, 65W Mequon, WI 53092 E-mail address:



Founded in Switzerland in the 1500s after secession from the Zurich state church, the followers of Jacob Ammann broke from the other Mennonites in Switzerland and Alsace in 1693. Most Amish Mennonites immigrated to Pennsylvania in the eighteenth century when others rejoined the main Mennonite group. Mennonites place the Bible as the sole rule of faith and shun worldly ways and modern innovation (education and technology). The sacraments are adult baptism and communion.

Contact Information

Contact Information for Selected Mennonite Historical Libraries and Archives

Mennonite Historical Library 1700 S. Main Goshen, IN 46526 E-mail address:

Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies 1717 South Chestnut Avenue Fresno, CA 93702

Mennonite Historical Library Musselman Library Bluffton College 280 West College Avenue, Ste.1 Bluffton, OH 45817-1196

Mennonite Library and Archives Bethel College 300 East 27th Street North Newton, KS 67117-0531

Menno Simons Historical Library Hartzler Library Eastern Mennonite University 1200 Park Road Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society 2215 Millstream Rd. Lancaster, PA 17602


The Mennonite Encyclopedia. 5 vols. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1990.



Today's Methodist Church is the descendent of several predecessors. They are (briefly) the following: Methodist Episcopal Church (1784'1939), Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845'1939), Methodist Protestant Church (1828'1939), Methodist Church (1939'1968), United Brethren in Christ (1800'1946), Evangelical Association (1803'1922), United Evangelical Church (1894'1922), Evangelical Church (1922'1946), Evangelical United Brethren (1946'1968), and United Methodist Church (1968'present). For further details, consult the time line at In addition to church and conference records, the Methodists published state conference newspapers, such as the nineteenth-century Southern Christian Advocate. An index to obituaries in the Southern Christian Advocate (1837'1948, South Carolina Methodist Advocate (1948'1968) and South Carolina United Methodist Advocate (1968' ) is at Wofford College Library Archives (Spartenburg, S.C.) at

The Evangelical United Brethren published some English and some foreign-language newspapers; an index to the obituaries in several of these UB denominational papers is at An index to the following denominational newspapers may be searched at Christian Conservator (1885'1954) The United Brethren (1954'1994); The UB (1994'2003); The Religious Telescope (1834'1849); Der Christliche Apologete, 1888'January 1889; Der Christliche Botschafter, selections from 1836'1865, Die Deutsche Telescope (The German Telescope), April 1847'April 1850; Evangelical Messenger, 1848'1866; Die Evangelische Zeitschrift (The Evangelical Journal), January'November 1894; Der Frohliche Botschafter (The Joyful Messenger), December 1851'April 1866; and Die Geschaeftige Martha (The Busy Martha), July 1841'December 1851.

Contact Information

Archives and Special Collections Roy O. West Library DePauw University Greencastle, IN 46153

Center for Evangelical United Brethren Studies United Theological Seminary 1810 Harvard Blvd. Dayton, OH 45406

Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library Perkins School of Theology Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX 75222

Historical Society of The United Methodist Church

Interdenominational Theological Center Library 671 Beckwith Street S.W. Atlanta, GA 30314

Manuscript Department Duke University Library Duke University Durham, NC 27706

Marston Memorial Historical Center and Archives Free Methodist Church PO Box 535002 Indianapolis, IN 46253-5002 E-mail address:

New England Methodist Historical Society Library Boston University School of Theology 745 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02215

Pitts Theology Library Emory University Atlanta, GA 30322

The Swenson Swedish Center Box 175 Augustana College Rock Island, IL 61201

The United Library 2121 Sheridan Evanston, IL 60201 E-mail address:

United Methodist Archives Center General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church PO Box 127 Drew University Madison, NJ 07940


Batsel, John, and Lyda Batsel. Union List of United Methodist Serials 1773'1973. General Commission on Archives and History, United Methodist Church with the United Methodist Librarians Fellowship, and Garrett Theological Seminar, 1974.

General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church. The Directory. Madison, N.J.: United Methodist Church, 1981.

Harmon, Nolan B., ed. The Encyclopedia of World Methodism. 2 vols. Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974. Prepared and edited under the supervision of the World Methodist Council and the Commission on Archives and History.

Minutes of the Methodist Conferences Annually Held in America; From 1773 to 1813 Inclusive Volume The First. New York: 1813; reprint, Swainsboro, Ga.: Magnolia Press, 1983.

Richey, Russell E., and Kenneth Rowe, eds. The Methodist Experience in American: A Sourcebook. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000.


Contact Information

Moravian Archives 41 West Locust Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 E-mail address:

Moravian Archives Box L Winston-Salem, NC 27108 E-mail address:

Moravian Historical Society 214 East Center Street Nazareth, PA 18064


Fries, Adelaide, et al. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, 1752'1866. 11 vols. out of print. Vol. 12, 1856'66, edited by C. Daniel Crews and Lisa D. Bailey. Raleigh: North Carolina Archives, 2002.

Hamilton, J. Taylor, and Kenneth G. Hamilton. History of the Moravian Church: The renewed Unitas Fratum, 1722'1957. Bethlehem, Pa.: Interprovincial Board of Christian Education, 1967.

Hamilton, Kenneth G. 'The Resources of the Moravian Church Archives.' Pennsylvania History 27 (1960): 263'72.

Reichel, Levin T. The Moravians in North Carolina. Baltimore: Clearfield Co., 2002; reprint of 1857 editon.

Native American Religions


Carmody, Denise Lardner, and John Tully Carmondy. Native American Religions. New York: Paulist Press, 1993.

Collins, John James. Native American Religions: A Geographical Survey. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

McCoy, Isaac. History of Baptist Indian Missions. 1840; reprint, Springfield, Mo.: Particular Baptist Press, 2003.

Shea, John Gilmary. History of the Catholic Missions among the Indian Tribes of the United States. New York: Arno Press, 1969.


Contact Information

Nazarene Archives/Church of the Nazarene 6401 The Paseo Kansas City, MO 64131 E-mail address:


Contact Information

Holy Spirit Research Center Oral Roberts University 7777 South Lewis Avenue Tulsa, OK 74171 E-mail address:

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Assemblies of God Archives 1445 Boonville Avenue Springfield, MO 65802 E-mail address:

Hal Bernard Dixon, Jr. Pentecostal Research Center Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) 260 11th Street, N.E. Cleveland, TN 37311 E-mail address:

International Pentecostal Church Archives and Research Center PO Box 12609 Oklahoma City, OK 73157 E-mail address:



The father of America Presbyterianism was Francis Makemie (1658'1708), of Scotch-Irish descent, who came to the eastern shore of Maryland in 1683 where he began preaching. In 1716 the Synod of Philadelphia was formed. The colonial revival caused a temporary division (1745'58) into Old Side and New Side bodies. Presbyterianism grew rapidly and by the beginning of the Revolution ranked second to Congregationalism as the most numerous religious body in the colonies. The Plan of Union of 1801 provided for cooperation between Presbyterians and Congregationlists on the frontier, and a large number of Congregational churches became Presbyterian. Resulting controversy divided the main body of American Presbyterians into Old School and New School bodies in 1837'38. Division over the Civil War caused the southern bodies to form the Presbyterian Church in the United States; the northern wings merged in 1869'70 as the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The United Presbyterian church was formed in 1858 by the union of two covenanter groups, the Associate Reformed and the Associate. In 1958 the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. merged with the United Presbyterian Church as the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The sacraments are infant baptism and communion. The church is organized as a system of courts in which clergy and lay members participate at local, regional, and national levels. Services are simple with emphasis on the sermon.

Contact Information

Presbyterian Historical Society Montreat Office PO Box 849 Montreat, NC 28757

Philadelphia Office 425 Lombard Street Philadelphia, PA 19147-1516

Presbyterian Historical Center 12330 Conway Road St. Louis, MO 63141 Telephone: (314) 469-9077

McCormick Theological Seminary McGaw Library 5555 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL 60637

Princeton Theological Seminary Speer Library Mercer Street and Library Place PO Box 111 Princeton, NJ 08540


Beecher, Willis Judson. Index of Presbyterian ministers containing names of all ministers of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, [1883].

Hall, William K. The Shane Manuscript Collection: A Genealogical Guide to the Kentucky and Ohio Papers. Galveston, Tex.: Frontier Press, 1990.

Hart, D. G., ed. Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

Miller, William B. 'Church Records of the United States: Presbyterian.' A paper delivered at the World Conference on Records and Genealogical Seminar, 5'8 August 1969, Salt Lake City, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Spence, Thomas H., Jr. The Historical Foundation and Its Treasures. Montreat, N.C.: Historical Foundation, 1960. Union Catalog of Presbyterian Manuscripts. Presbyterian Library Association, 1964.

Witherspoon, E. D., comp. Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861'1967. Doraville, Ga.: Foote and Davis, 1967.

Protestant Episcopal'Episcopal Church, USA


The Episcopal Church does not maintain central membership lists. The local church maintains its records, unless it becomes defunct, then the records are transferred to the diocesan archives. To determine whether a particular church is active, contact the archives or use an Episcopal Web resource, such as, which lists by state all ECUSA churches and provides information about the denomination.

For information regarding records of the colonial Church of England in what is now the United States, consult the collection at Lambeth's Palace in London and those of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The Society kept extensive records of the colonists requesting parish priests and complaining about the 'dissenters' and reports and letters of more than three hundred missionaries. These records have been microfilmed and are available at many archival and academic repositories.

Contact Information

Archives of the Episcopal Church 606 Rathervue Place PO Box 2247 Austin, TX 78768 E-mail address:


O'Connor, Daniel. Three Centuries of Mission: The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 1701'2000. New York: Continuum, 2000.

Painter, Bordon W. The Anglican Vestry in Colonial America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965.

Reformed Church in America or Dutch Reformed


This denomination was established in North America in New Amsterdam. The first services were held on Manhattan Island in 1628, and a church was built as early as 1633. Until becoming the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in 1867, this denomination was known as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. It was the only Christian denomination permitted to hold public worship in New Amsterdam until the English takeover of 1664. The Dutch minister married nearly every couple and baptized nearly every child in the city prior to that time, conducting these sacraments for all nationalities and races. Manhattan's collegiate Dutch Reformed churches form a corporation within the RCA that owns the original records of the collegiate churches from 1639 (only copies exist of the earliest registers) through 1806, when some churches began to keep their own registers. Transcripts have been published by The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) in various forms, such as Harry Macy Jr., 'Dutch Reformed Records of New York City in the NYG&B Library,' NYG&B Newsletter (Spring 1994). It may also be found online at online at The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. The NYG&B Society has also published Hugh Hastings, Ecclesiastical Records State of New York, 1901'16 (Albany: J. B. Lyons, state printer, 1901'1916), which features selected transcripts of the church administrative records and correspondence. See also The Holland Society of New York for lists of members, 1649'1829, and other holdings.

Contact Information


Holland Society of New York Manuscript Collection 122 East 58th New York, NY 10022 E-mail address:

Archives of the Reformed Church in America. New Brunswick Theological Seminary 21 Seminary Place New Brunswick, NJ 08901 E-mail address:


Christian Reformed

Heritage Hall The Archives of Calvin College and Theological Seminary 3201 Burton Street, SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546

German'see United Church of Christ

For other Reformed churches, see the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.


De Jong, Gerald Francis. The Dutch Reformed Church in the American Colonies. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1978.

A Guide to Local Church Records in the Archives of the Reformed Church in America. New Brunswick, N.J.: Reformed Church in America Archives. A regularly updated guide; ordering instructions at <>.

The Historical Directory of the Reformed Church in America, 1628'2000. Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, no. 37. Edited by Russell Gasero. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001.

Roman Catholic


The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world. Traditionally Catholic records have been kept at the parish level, so the vast majority of sacramental records (baptism, marriage, communion, confirmation, burial, and other original records) will be found at the church in which the event took place. However, older records and those of closed parishes have often been moved to diocesan archives or occasionally to historical societies or university archives. Locating records of older churches can be challenging. Begin looking for the church at the parish level and then consult local diocesan sources, which can at least provide information on where those records can be found. Links to many helpful sites dealing with historical and record-keeping information can be found at the World Wide Catholic Web Directory at This site also has links to various dioceses and parishes, religious orders, schools, colleges, and universities.

Contact Information

Special Collections Division Joseph Mark Lauinger Library Georgetown University 3700 O Street NW Washington, D.C. 20057-1006

University of Notre Dame Archives 607 Hesburgh Library Nortre Dame, IN 46556 E-mail address:

American Catholic History Research Center & University 101 Life Cycle Institute Catholic University of America Washington, DC 20064


Baton Rouge Diocese. Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records. 21 vols., 1707'1898. Baton Rouge: Diocese of Baton Rouge Department of the Archives, 1978'.

Curran, Francis X., S. J. Catholics in Colonial Law. Chicago, 1965; reprint, Clark, N.J.: Lawbook Exchange, 2003.

Ellis, John Tracy. Catholics in Colonial America. Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1963.

Findlen, George L. 'The 1917 Code of Canon Law: A Resource for Understanding Catholic Church Registers.' National Genealogical Society Quarterly 93 (June 2005): 126'47.

Hebert, Donald J. Southwest Louisiana Records, to 1897, and Southern Louisiana Records, to 1895. 40 vols. Eunice, La.: Hebert Publications. Translates and transcribes several Louisiana parishes.

Humling, Virginia. U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1995.

Linck, Joseph C. Fully Instructed and Vehemently Influenced: Catholic Preaching in Anglo-Colonial America. Philadelphia: St. Josephs University Press, 2002.

McAvoy, Thomas T. 'Catholic Archives and Manuscript Collections.' American Archivist 24 (1961): 409'14. The Official Catholic Directory. National Register Publishing, 2001.

O'Toole, James M. 'Catholic Records: A Genealogical and Historical Resource.' Register (October 1989): 251'63.

Salvationists'The Salvation Army

Contact Information

The Salvation Army National Headquarters Archives Center 615 Slaters Lane PO Box 269 Alexandria, VA 22313


Contact Information Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center 150 Seminary Street Pennsburg, PA 18073 E-mail address:

Shakers'The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing

Contact Information

Shaker Library 707 Shaker Road New Gloucester, ME 04260 E-mail address:

Williams College Archives and Special Collections 55 Sawyer Library Drive Williamstown, MA 01267

Western Reserve Historical Society History Library 10825 East Blvd. Cleveland, OH 44106

Society of Friends (Quaker)


The Society of Friends was an important religious group from the seventeenth century onward in North America. They spread throughout New England and into New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana. The Quakers are organized into meetings designated for worship (First Day Meetings), congregational business (Monthly Meetings), meetings that combine a group of congregations from a specific area that come together for worship and business (Quarterly Meetings), and meetings that have jurisdiction over a wide geographical area (Yearly Meetings). Quakers usually chose not to register marriages in civil records prior to the close of the nineteenth century, and most Quakers did not use tombstones until the mid-nineteenth century. These omissions add importance to the consistent and thorough record-keeping found in Quaker meeting records, which record a family's births, deaths, and marriages. Certificates of removal were issued when a Quaker moved from one meeting to another and also appear in the monthly meeting minutes of both the transferring and receiving congregations.

Contact Information

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081-1905

The Quaker Collection @ Magill Historical Library Haverford College Library 370 Lancaster Avenue Haverford, PA 19041 E-mail address:

The Quaker Collection @ The Hege Library Guilford College Library 5800 West Friendly Avenue Greensboro, NC 27410

Archives New England Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Rhode Island Historical Society Library 121 Hope Street Providence, RI 02906 website with information about all the Quaker congregations (Meetings) that have ever existed in the United States.


Abstracts of the Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana, Part One through Six (1962'1975) with Index. By Willard Heiss. Indiana Historical Society, 1972. Covers Indiana Meetings. Reissued as volume 7 of Hinshaw's Encyclopedia series. The Indiana Historical Society did not release the Heiss work for inclusion in the CD.

Berry, Ellen, and David Berry. Our Quaker Ancestors: Finding Them in Quaker Records. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002; reprint of 1987 edition.

Comfort, William W. 'Quaker Marriage Certificates.' Friends Historical Bulletin 40 (1951): 67'80.

Elliot, Errol T. Quakers in the American Frontier: History of the Westward Migrations, Settlements, and Developments of Friends on the American Continent. Richmond, Ind.: Friends United Press, 1969.

Heiss, Willard. Abstracts of Records of the Society of Friends in Indiana. Volume 7 of the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy by Hinshaw (see following). Vol 7 published Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1977. Revised by Ruth Dorell and Thomas Hamm in 1986.

Hinshaw, William Wade, ed. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 vols. 1936; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991'96. Available on CD-ROM from Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. Also available on

Index to Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. CD-ROM. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999.

Jacobsen, Phebe R. Quaker Records in Maryland. Annapolis, Md.: Hall of Records, 1966.

Jones, Rufus M. The Quakers in the American Colonies. 1911; reprint, New York: Russell and Russell, 1962.

Unitarian and Universalist

Contact Information

Unitarian Universalist Association 25 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108

Curator, Manuscripts and Archives Harvard University Divinity School Andover-Harvard Theological Library 45 Francis Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138-1994

Meadville Theological School of Lombard College Wiggin Memorial Library 5701 South Woodlawn Avenue Chicago, IL 60637 E-mail address:


Congregational Christian Historical Society 14 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02420

Divinity Library and University Library Yale University New Haven, CT 06520

Hartford Theological Seminary Library Hartford, CT 06105

Harvard Divinity School Library Cambridge, MA 02140

Evangelical and Reformed

Evangelical Synod Archives Eden Theological Seminary 475 East Lockwood Avenue St. Louis, MO 63119

Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society Philip Schaff Library Lancaster Theological Seminary 555 West James Street Lancaster, PA 17603 E-mail address:

The United Church of Christ


The heritage and history of the United Church of Christ incorporates several antecedent traditions. The United Church of Christ was founded in 1957, when the Evangelical and Reformed Church united with the Congregational Christian Churches. The Evangelical and Reformed Church was formed in 1934 by the merger of the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) and the Evangelical Synod of America. The Congregational Christian Church was formed in the 1800s. The United Church of Christ is organized by congregations, which are represented at a general synod that sets policy.

Contact Information

Archives of the United Church of Christ 700 Prospect Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115 E-mail address:


Clark, Elmer T. The Small Sects in America. Rev. ed. New York: DIANE Publishing Co., 1981; revision of 1937 edition. Hinke, William J. 'German Reformed Church Records in Pennsylvania.' National Genealogical Society Quarterly 37, 2 (June 1949): 33'38.

Rosenberger, Francis C. 'German Church Records of the Shenandoah Valley as a Genealogical Source.' Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 66 (April 1958): 195'200.