The Religious beliefs of our ancestors influenced, not only their daily lives, it often impacted the direction of their life journey. It caused some to pull up roots and leave friends and family members behind in their country of origin in order to pursue emigration, and perhaps religious freedom as well. Many relocated their own families to new areas with others of similar beliefs. Wherever they were, they have left records behind that tell that part of their stories. Every country-specific certificate program includes research into this vital part of their family story. In addition to Birth, Marriage and Death records, we need to look for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, along with other religious ceremonies, according to their beliefs and customs. Here are many of the religious records courses:
American: Religious Records – Part 1
American: Religious Records – Part 2
Australian: Church Records
Canadian: Religious Records
Eastern European: Church Records
English: Parish Records
English: Poor Law & Parish Chest Records
English: Non-Anglican Church Records
German: Church Records
Irish: Conformist and Non-Conformist Church Records
Italian: Catholic Church Records – Part 1
Italian: Catholic Church Records – Part 2
Research: Jewish Records
Scottish: Old Parish Records
Scottish: Beyond the OPRs
Religious Records provide an intimate glimpse into the personal lives of its members. Three additional courses that will assist you in expanding this aspect of your ancestors’ research are listed below. Each will inspire you to dig deeper and learn what motivated the decisions they made – sometimes altering the futures of their family members for generations.
The Palaeography course goes beyond looking at handwriting and transcriptions; it takes an in-depth look into a variety of historical documents, including older church records. Those may contain records written in Latin as well as the languages of their country of origin. The course material covers many of the feast days and festivals they would have attended in the church calendar, and reveals restrictions which explain why ceremonies occurred – or didn’t occur – on specific dates. The Holiday Traditions of today may be quite different than how your ancestors celebrated in their time period.
All of these bring greater understanding of their lives. When you are researching, take note of the religious affiliations recorded on records such as census returns or civil registrations. These could be clues for where to look for additional records in their communities. Religious Records are a valuable resource and should be included in every research project.