By Shannon Bennett, Student
I love history. Really, I do, and if you have followed this blog for any amount of time you probably have figured that out. So guess how excited I was when Module 1 of US Religious Records – Part 1 was all historical background. That’s right, I read it one sitting and went back for more.
Ok, I will admit I knew most of it, but it was really good information. If you really don’t have historical context for common Christian religions it is a must read. Seriously. Knowing how and why religions developed in relation to historical events can be a real eye opener if you have never studied it before.
Of course, I am sure everyone is familiar with the story of Henry VIII and his infamous divorce. You might also know who Martian Luther was. How about George Whitefield? Maybe, maybe not? Well he was a leader during the “Great Awakening” which was America’s first significant religious revival which occurred in the 1730s-40s. Many of the religions that formed out of it are still around today, along with their philosophies and their records.
To be honest, while the history lesson was great I particularly looked forward to Module 2 which covered the Roman Catholic Church exclusively. I wanted to know more about the records for those members of my family and how I could find them. The first section covered the history of the church in the colonies from Spain and England.
The module goes through each state that has a significant Catholic presence beginning with Florida and the colony of St. Augustine. Each state has a history section, books you should read, and a repository listing. I love timelines and at the end of the module there is a timeline of events for the Catholic Church showing all the significant dates.
I particularly like how the instructors went through each type of record. If you are not familiar with what is recorded and kept in the Catholic Church this was incredibly useful. Everything from birth to death was covered in detail with a description of the record, what information is typically found in it, where you can locate documents, and a listing of repositories that you should check out. The listing of archives and repositories is three pages long!
In the next two modules we are going to look at Southern Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed Churches, and English Quakers. I know one of those religions are in my family for sure, but maybe I will be surprised and discover that I have some of those others too?!
See you online!