By Shannon Combs Bennett, Student
Well color me surprised but there was more than one religion in the next two modules of US Religious Records – Part 1 that my family could have been. My Virginia lines were most likely Anglican and Episcopal. Plus, since I had ancestors in New Netherland I paid particular attention on the sections on the Dutch Reformed Churches. Now, that is not to say I didn’t learn a lot about the Lutherans, Unitarians, and the Quakers because I did. Plus I bet one of these day I will find those religions in my tree too.
Since I do quite a bit of Virginia research because I, well, live in Virginia I really tried to internalize the information presented in the course. I learned that the Anglican Church, whose roots are with the Church of England, was the colony’s official church written into the incorporation papers. It was also fascinating to read how the Methodist Church formed out of the Anglican and Episcopal Churches. I knew there was a connection but did not know how it began.
Thankfully for me a lot of the Virginia church records are just down the road in Richmond at the Library of Virginia. In my future I see another record set that I will need to investigate for my distant relations. Genealogy road trips are always so much fun.
Then there were the Reformed Churches. Ever since I learned that I had ancestors in the New Netherland’s colony I have read and studied as much as I can about it. It became a near obsession. Most likely because they were different from the colonial English, German, and Irish ancestors that are the bulk of my family tree.
According to our course the Dutch Reformed Church was the official church of the colony. It was interesting that even though they had an official church they welcomed all religions into their colony. Even after the English took control the church still has a presence which makes me hopefully I may find records. Oh, and I learned I need to check out the Holland Society of New York since they seem to have to largest collection of records on this topic.
Needless to say these two modules were very enlightening and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes courses like this make me sad that I never finished that Religious Studies minor in college. It sure would have come in handy with my new chosen field!
See you online!!