Exploring U.S. Church Records in Genealogy

Some helpful videos about using U.S. church records


Church records are an excellent genealogical resource, particularly in earlier times when births, marriages, and deaths were not yet recorded by the government. Church records kept by churches may include information such as births, marriages, deaths, burials, christenings, membership lists, names of ministers, etc. Locating church records in the United States can be challenging because some churches did not record anything, some records were kept but have since been lost, and the records are kept in many locations.


Some denominations that often recorded births/christenings, marriages, and deaths/burials include Catholics, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Reformed churches, Presbyterians, and others. It is important to know which religion the family may have practiced in order to know in which church records they may appear.


The following video from FamilySearch gives an overview of U.S. church records research. It explains why we should use church records, how to find them, types of church records and information found in them, and ways to determine an ancestor's religion: United States Church Records webinar


There are some basic differences between civil registration and church records. The following video from the Barefoot Genealogist at Ancestry.com explains these and also what you might expect to find in both that will assist in your genealogy research.





Need help finding more records? Try our genealogical records directory which has more than 1.1 million sources to help you more easily locate the available records.



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