Georgia Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Georgia Wiki Topics
Georgia flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Georgia Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In the colonial period, the Church of England, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Moravian churches were the largest religous groups in Georgia. After 1900 the largest religious groups were the Baptists and Methodists.[1]

The composition of religious affiliation in Georgia is 70% Protestant, 9% Catholic, 1% Mormon, 1% Jewish, 0.5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist, and 0.5% Hindu. The largest Christian denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Southern Baptist Convention with 1,759,317; the United Methodist Church with 619,394; and the Roman Catholic Church with 596,384. [2]

Information Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

To effectively use church records, become familiar with their content. Click on these links to learn about a specific record type:

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for online records.[edit | edit source],, and can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Caution sign.png

Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:

  1. Near matches: Researchers might mistakenly accept an entry very similar to their ancestor, thinking it is the only one available. Only use information that matches your ancestor in date, place, relationships, and other details.
  2. Stopping research: Researchers might assume the database proves church records do not exist. Actually the record is still out there, just not in this incomplete collection of records. Keep searching!

FamilySearch[edit | edit source][edit | edit source]

Dutch Reformed[edit | edit source]
Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Other Collections[edit | edit source]

Look for digital copies of church records in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has a substantial collection of original church records and transcripts on microfilm for churches in the United States.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the state, county, or town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.
  • To find records:
a. Click on the records of United States, Georgia.
b. Click on Places within United States, Georgia and a list of counties will appear.
c. Click on your county if it appears.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Click on Places within United States, Georgia [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
f. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
g. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
h. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Consult available finding aids.[edit | edit source]

These aids generally provide lists of records that are known to exist and information on their location.

Baptist[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.
  • Each denomination page offers an online address directory of local churches for that denomination.

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Here you will find archive information unique to the state. Many more archives are kept by denomination. For denominational archives, go to Searching for Church Records by Denomination.

Georgia State Archives[edit | edit source]

The largest collection of Georgia church records can be found at the Georgia Archives. The archives borrowed pre-1940 church records from many local congregations and preserved them on microfilm.

Georgia State Archives
5800 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260

Telephone: 678-364-3710
Fax: 678-364-3860

Baptist[edit | edit source]

Georgia Baptist Historical Collection
Eugene W. Stetson Memorial Library
Mercer University
Macon, Ga 31207

Books[edit | edit source]

Church of England (Anglican, Protestant Episcopal)[edit | edit source]

Records are maintained in the local parish.
If your ancestor was a minister in Colonial Georgia, see:

  • Frederick Lewis Weis's The Colonial Clergy of Maryland, Delaware, and Georgia, is an alphabetical listing of the clergy in Delaware from 1638-1776, and includes names, dates, and places. A copy of the book is located in the FHL Collection. For a copy nearest you, check WorldCat.

Methodist[edit | edit source]

United Methodist Museum
P.O. Box 24081
St. Simons Island, GA 31522
Phone: (912) 638-4050
Fax: (912) 638-9050
E-mail Address:

For a history of the Methodist Church, see:

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

James R. Crumley Jr. Archives
4201 Main St.
Columbia, SC 29203

Phone: 803-461-3234

  • Archives hold records for closed churches. For open churches write directly to the local church.

Moravian[edit | edit source]

  • The Southern Province Moravian Archives
457 S. Church Street
Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101
Phone: (336) 722-1742

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

Archdiocese of Atlanta
Office of Archives & Records
2401 Lake Park Drive SE
Smyrna, GA 30080-8862

Main Office Phone Number: 404-920-7690
Fax Number: 404-920-7691

Sacramental records of Baptisms, Marriages, Confirmations, and Deaths are created and maintained at the individual parishes of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. If you are searching for a copy of your sacramental record and the sacrament occurred after 1930, then you will need to contact the parish in which the sacrament was performed. The Office of Archives and Records does not issue certificates.

Genealogical Research Request Form
Research on general family lines cannot be conducted by Archives staff. However, research for specific individuals can be done by the staff if the records are housed in the Office of Archives and Records.
The requester will be provided with a copy of the information contained in a specific record entry whenever possible. In the event that the Office of Archives and Records cannot provide the researcher with a copy of the record entry, staff will contact the individual who submitted the request.
Please complete the Genealogical Research Request Form supplied at the bottom of the page and submit it along with appropriate payment to the following address:
Archdiocese of Atlanta
Office of Archives & Records
2401 Lake Park Drive SE
Smyrna, GA 30080-8862
The fee for genealogical research requests is $25.00. Payment can be made by check or money order (U.S. currency) made payable to the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Please note that the fee is not refundable in the event that no research results are obtained. The Office of Archives and Records can only conduct research up to one hour per genealogical research request.
Please allow approximately four weeks for request(s) to be answered.

Diocese of Savannah Archives and Records
Office of the Chancellor
SAVANNAH, GA 31404-3918

PHONE: 912-201-4100
Toll-Free (in GA): 888-295-7144
FAX: 912-201-4101

Genealogy and Research
Original Sacramental Registers from closed parishes are kept with care in the Diocesan Archives & Records Management Office. Information from sacraments celebrated and recorded more than eighty-five (85) years ago is available upon request without discrimination. A register falling within this time frame is accessible to the public if it is digitized, microfilmed, or a preservation copy. We currently have a selection of sacramental registers that have been digitized and are fully available to the public to view from our Reading Room. A full list of these registers will be available soon. Original Sacramental Registers are not open for public examination in order to protect the original books from wear and ensure the privacy of records that are less than eighty-five (85) years old. Research in original books must be conducted by authorized Diocesan personnel.
A Sacramental Information Request Form must be completed for sacramental record searches conducted by the Diocese of Savannah Archives & Records Management Office. Because staff is limited, no sacramental information will be accepted over the phone or via e-mail and requests will take a minimum of 4-6 weeks. All requests must be accompanied with valid proof of identity (a photo id with a signature) from the person requesting those records. A $25 administrative fee will be required for each sacrament that is requested. The office accepts cash, a cashier’s check, or money orders made payable to the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. Personal checks are discouraged. This is a non-refundable administrative fee and will still be charged in the event that no results are obtained. Fees may be waived at the discretion of the Director of Archives & Records or Chancellor.

Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been given to historical societies. Also, historical societies may be able to tell you where the records are being held. To find a society near you, consult these lists:

Next, go to the Wiki article for your ancestors' denomination.[edit | edit source]

There are frequently additional, nationwide or regional archives and online collections for each denomination. Find the article for your ancestors' denomination and follow the instructions there to access these sources.

Wiki Articles for Records of Major Religious Denominations

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by organizing in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972). FHL Book 973 K2ah.
  2. "Georgia: Religion" in Wikipedia,, accessed 29 June 2020.