Once a day on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page a new post is shared. There is a theme for each month and October’s was church records. You will get bonus posts relating to the theme but only on the Blair Archival Research Facebook page these will not be posted on the monthly blog review.
This month we are going to look at tips that will help you with your church research. The first thing to remember is that your family may have practiced a particular religion but when it came to baptism, marriage and burial it may have been a case of the closest church available, particularly if they lived a fair distance from their church of choice.
When researching the parish of your ancestors remember to search the surrounding parishes in case they may have decided to frequent the churches in those parishes. You never know they may have had a falling out with their church and started worshiping in another.
Ancestry.ca has the Drouin Collection (1747-1967) an index of Catholic Church records in Quebec and Ontario.
Did you know that in the very early days of settlement in Ontario if a couple wanted to get married and there was no church within 20 miles of their home that they would put a notice up on a tree in the town to announce their intention to marry. If they got no objections they were married. This must have happened in other places as well.
Did you know that the United Church of Canada began in 1925 and was created from congregations that were Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist? If you can’t find your people in the archives for those churches try the United Church.
The Public Archives and Record Office of Prince Edward Island have a Baptismal Index that spans roughly from 1777 to 1923.
There is an indexed called Wesleyan Methodist Baptismal Register for the Province of Ontario.
A great book for Irish church records is “Irish Church Records” By James G. Ryan published by Flyleaf Press.
There is a free searchable database at Ancestry.com’s ProGenealogists website called “Church of Ireland Parish Registers and Vestry Minutes at the RCBL in Dublin” RCBL is Representative Church Body Library.
Irish Genealogy which is part of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has a searchable database for church records. This is a work in progress and more are being added each month. These records refer to both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. You will find some Presbyterian records for Dublin.
Are you looking for Diocese and Parishes for the Church of Ireland? You can search their webpage to find current information. You will find the current minister and contact information. You may also find a website that could provide you with more information.
Want to get really confused about the history of the Scottish church? A copy of “Burleigh’s Chart of Scottish Churches” is a must in any genealogist’s library. You can find a reproduction in Kathleen B. Cory’s book “Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry.”
In Scotland sometimes a couple just had to announce their intentions to marry to people in their town and they were considered married. No record in a church or civil registration had to be made. This is one variation of an Irregular Marriage.
The ScotlandsPeople website has church registers for the Church of Scotland (Old Parish Registers OPRs) and the Roman Catholic births and baptisms.
Trying to find a parish in England? See if the Parish Locator can help. You can even find the distance between two parishes to see if your ancestors may have traveled to another parish to worship.
Another free resource is Online Parish Clerks (Genealogy) which is still a work in progress and covers only a few counties. They are looking for volunteers so if you can help I am sure they will appreciate it.
Ancestry.com has some location and date specific church records for England: London, West Yorkshire, Dorset, Warwickshire and Liverpool to name a few.
Ancestry.com also has some location and date specific church records for the United States. It appears to centre on the eastern states.
FamilySearch has a long list of christenings and burials in their catalogue for the United States.
FamilySearch has a database called “Canada Births and Baptisms, 1661-1959” and one called “Canada Deaths and Burials, 1664-1955” these are general databases but the births and baptisms is a much larger database. Some of the information may be from the old International Genealogical Index.
FamilySearch has a database called “New Brunswick Births and Baptisms, 1819-1899” with over 22,000 records. There are Catholic records for Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia on FamilySearch.
If you are looking for Irish Catholic registers that are available to the public then check the online catalogue listing at the National Library of Ireland. They are working on digitizing this collection and putting it online.
FamilySearch has a database called “Ireland Birth and Baptisms, 1620-1881” which contains nearly 5,300,000 records. This is based on the International Genealogical Index.
The FamilySearch Wiki has a section called “England Church Records.”
They also have one called “Ireland Church Records.” They also get specific with Irish church records with pages for Church of Ireland, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Church History and Quaker.
Don’t assume that because you found a couple in a marriage index for Ireland that they married there.
The FamilySearch Wiki has a page on “United States Church Records.”
You will find a page for “Scotland Church Records” on the FamilySearch Wiki.
They have one on “Australian Church Records.”
And they have one on “New Zealand Church Records.”
Remember that church records are subject to the whims of the people taking care of them. Sometimes you will find them in the attic or basement of the family of one of the ministers of the church. They took them with them when they left/retired. They are also subject to natural disasters and the ravages of time.
To get a new tip each day all you have to do is “Like” Blair Archival Research.
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