Another under utilized genealogy resource is Church Records. We tend to focus our research on civil records, but need to be aware that often church records pre-dated civil records and are a great resource as well. In the BMD Records section of this website there are about 15,000 collections of civil records that are available online. Yes, that's a lot, but we need to also search church records as well.
What can we find in church or synagogue records? Here's just a shortlist of what nuggets we can find:
- Baptisms and Christenings
- Membership lists
- Church Minutes
- Church Directories
- Transfer Letters
- Bar or Bat Mitzvahs
- Sunday School lists
- Church newsletters
In addition, many folks also documented important events in family bibles, so they need to be searched as well if the event information has been digitized.
Here are a couple of articles that you might find useful:
- U.S. Church Records Research Guide
- United States Church Records
- A Genealogist’s Guide to Using Catholic Records in Genealogy Research
There is a large number of Free Online Church Record collections; the links accessible by state below:.
Note: Some of the links listed below take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections' images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital.
(Updated February, 2020; recently added links are in BOLD):
- Freeman, Reformed German Church Church Records, 1838-1966
- Hutchinson County Church Records Germans from Russia Collection
- Jerauld County, Viola Methodist Episcopal Church, Miscellaneous Church Records
- Lodi, Methodist Episcopal Church Records, 1888
- Plankinton, Methodist Episcopal Church Records, 1888
- Quaker Records : Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota Monthly Meetings
- Sioux Falls, Calvary Cathedral Church Church Records 1878-1990, index 1878-1976
- Sioux Falls, Church and Cemetery Records, 1894-1982
- Sioux Falls, Episcopal Church. Rosebud Mission Church Records, 1875-1993
- South Dakota Methodist Church Baptismal Records 1927-1977
- South Dakota, Church Records, 1875-1993
- South Dakota, Miscellaneous Church Record Collections
- South Dakota, Miscellaneous Church and Cemetery Records
- Union County, Le Roy Baptist Church Church Records, 1871-1922
- White Lake, Methodist Episcopal Church Records, 1888
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!