records generally have a wealth of information, and in any era when vital
records were not kept by governmental authorities, they are excellent
substitutes. Even in modern times, you may want to seek out the records because
they may contain items not included on a civil certificate, for instance, names
of witnesses to baptisms and marriages, and names of those who are often
records besides baptisms, marriages and burials may provide the clue you need.
For instance, many churches require a person to be baptized before he can be
confirmed. If your ancestor was born in the old country, but came to
confirmation age here, the church record might show the name of the town where
he was baptized.
churches keep lists of people who join, who are current members, and those that
move away. Even minutes of the board, records of excommunications, and pew
rentals can provide valuable information. Church histories are often valuable,
as groups of people migrated together, and they may contain biographies of
European countries and in early America, the state church was responsible for
vital records keeping and may include items we would consider unusual, such as
vaccination records, and lists of men eligible to serve in the militia.
vary greatly in content and quality from organization to organization. Some
churches kept no records at all. If a church has disbanded, the records might be
anywhere, in an archive, a historical society, a university, in another church
or even in private hands.
the address of a church, synagogue, mosque, or other religious organization my
ancestor may have attended.
out if my church's records have been published.
the address of an archive that may have the records.
about the religious practices of a particular denomination.
To ask these or
similar questions, click on Help Me!, fill
out the form that comes up, and submit your questions.