By Shannon Bennett, Student
Religious records are used frequently in genealogy research. Baptismal records can verify a birth date and parent’s names. Burial records can give an estimated death date. Then there are the marriage records, the fantastic marriage records. Needless to say, records from religious institutions can give you amazing information. That is if you know where to work.
I know my ancestors were religious. Well, at least I know they were moderately active in their local churches and participated in the typical things; you know baptisms and marriages. A few of them were involved with community church projects and others simply attended because that was where their parents, and their parents, and their parents, and so on all attended. However, how do you find those records?
For my family I know I have a large number of Catholics, followed closely by the Presbyterians, then Methodists, and finally, those who identified themselves at Protestant but I have no idea what flavor. I have to admit I was surprised by the Catholic lines. No one I personally know actively practiced Catholicism but it seems that my paternal grandmother was Catholic as well as her entire side of the family. On my maternal side, my grandfather was the first to be baptized Protestant. His father’s family were all Catholic all the way back to their roots in Maryland, but his mother was not. Can you guess who won the religious war in that family?
The course US Religious Records – Part 1 is required for the American Certificate and covers religions in America up to 1800. According to the course description from our instructors, Kyle Betit and Beverly Whitaker, CG, we will be focusing on Catholicism and Protestant denominations. It looks like I will find this very useful. For my husband’s side, I will learn more about German Lutherans as well.
Through the course’s six modules a lot of information is covered. History of various religions, timelines, record locations, and additional resources. Yep, lots of information. I am really looking forward to it!