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 March, 2020; recently added links are in BOLD):
- Afton, Lincoln County, Sexton records,
- Cheyenne Church Records : First Congregational Church [1869-1908], First Presbyterian Church records, 1870-1912 [and] Methodist Church, 1868-1901
- Cheyenne, First Presbyterian Church,Records 1870-1913
- Cheyenne, Records of Cheyenne Methodist Church, 1868-1901
- Cheyenne, Records of the First Congregational Church
- Evanston, Uinta County, Sexton records
- Laramie, Baptismal records - St. Paul's
- Laramie, Church Records,: Presbyterian Church baptisms, 1870-1910, Methodist Episcopal Church baptisms, 1873-1909, St. Paul's Evangelical Church confirmation, 1887-1918
- Laramie, First Baptist Church membership roll, 1870-1884
- Laramie, Membership roll of the First Baptist Church
- Laramie, St. Matthew's Cathedral, Episcopal Church, Parish Register
- Laramie, St. Paul's Evangelical, Baptismal records, Dec., 1886-1900
- Sweetwater County, Finnish Church Books
- Wyoming Church and Family Records
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!