Florida Church Records
|Florida Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
- 1 Historical Background
- 2 Information Found in the Records
- 3 Finding the Records
- 3.1 Look for online records.
- 3.2 Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.
- 3.3 Consult available finding aids.
- 3.4 Correspond with or visit the actual churches.
- 3.5 Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.
- 3.6 Baptist
- 3.7 Methodist
- 3.8 Roman Catholic
- 3.9 Correspond with genealogical or historical societies.
- 4 Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor
- 5 References
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
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]
Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:
FamilySearch[edit | edit source]
- 1834-1997 - Florida, Church Records, 1834-1997 - Index and images. Incomplete.
- 1880-1935 - Florida, births and christenings, 1880-1935, index. Incomplete.
- 1900-1921 - Florida, deaths and burials, 1900-1921, index. Incomplete.
- 1837-1974 - Florida, marriages, 1837-1974, index. Incomplete.
Ancestry.com[edit | edit source]
Dutch Reformed[edit | edit source]
- 1856-1970 - U.S., Selected States Dutch Reformed Church Membership Records, 1701-1995, index and images, incomplete.($)
- 1856-1970 - U.S., Dutch Christian Reformed Church Vital Records, 1856-1970, index and images, incomplete.($)
Lutheran[edit | edit source]
- 1800-1947 - U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish American Church Records, 1800-1947, index and images, incomplete.($)
Presbyterian[edit | edit source]
- 1701-1970 - U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970, index and images, incomplete.($)
Catholic: Other Collections[edit | edit source]
- Archives of the Diocese of St. Augustine
- Abstracts to the Colonial Parish Registers of St. Augustine, Baptisms 1594-1763
Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]
- 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, Florida.
- b. Click on Places within United States, Florida 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, Florida [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. . 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.
- WPA Church Records Inventory
- A Preliminary List of Religious Bodies in Florida. Jacksonville, Florida: Historical Records Survey, 1939.
- Guide to the Supplementary Vital Statistics from Church Records in Florida. Three Volumes. Jacksonville, Florida: Historical Records Survey, 1942. FHL Collection book 975.9 V2h; film 1425703, item 6
Baptist[edit | edit source]
- Inventory of the Church Archives of Florida: Baptist Bodies. Jacksonville, Fla.: Historical Records Survey, 1939-1940
Catholic[edit | edit source]
- McAvoy, Thomas T. Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Records of the Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas, 1576-1803. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Archives, 1976. FHL Book 973 K23m.
Methodist[edit | edit source]
- The History of Methodism in Georgia and Florida: From 1785 to 1865. Smith, George G. Macon, Ga.: Jno. W. Burke and Company, 1877
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.
Baptist[edit | edit source]
Florida Baptist Historical Society
5400 College Drive
Graceville, FL 32440
Phone: (800) 328-2660, x-480
- The Florida Baptist Historical Society has secured and developed nearly 970 histories of active and deactivated congregations. The Church Histories Collection runs the gamut of published works to file folders with information gleaned from a variety of sources.
- This collection contains biographical information and photographs of select Florida Baptist pastors and significant laity leaders. These files consist of information gleaned from actual biographical sketches prepared by the respective individual to information gleaned from back issues of the Florida Baptist Witness and other publications or documented sources. These biographical files, which number nearly 2,500 records, have become an invaluable source of information for use in historical research and to respond to inquiries from churches and individuals.
Methodist[edit | edit source]
Florida United Methodist Archives
Roux Library - Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
P.O. Box 3767
Lakeland, FL 33801-5698
Phone: (863) 680-4164
Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]
Records are maintained in the local parishes, not the diocese archives.
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:
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
- military service details
Carefully 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]
- Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972). FHL Book 973 K2ah.