Difference between revisions of "Pennsylvania Church Records"

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''[[United States|United States]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]  [[Pennsylvania]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow.png]]  [[Pennsylvania Church Records|Church Records]]''
[[Image:Yocum Church.JPG|thumb|right|400px]]
[[Pennsylvania]] was founded as a place of refuge and religious freedom for many diverse groups from Great Britain and Europe. Important religious groups in colonial Pennsylvania were the [[Society of Friends (Quakers) in the United States|Society of Friends (Quakers)]], the German [[Lutheran Church in the United States|Lutheran]], German Reformed, [[Presbyterian Church in the United States|Presbyterian]], [[Episcopal Church in the United States|Episcopal]], [[Baptist Church in the United States|Baptist]], and [[Roman Catholic Church in the United States|Catholic]] churches, and the German Pietist groups, including the Brethren (Dunkard), [[Mennonite Church in the United States|Mennonites]], and [[Moravian Church in the United States|Moravians]]. [http://net.lib.byu.edu/fslab/researchoutlines/US/Pennsylvania.pdf Before 1900 the major religious groups in Pennsylvania were the ][[Lutheran Church in the United States|Lutheran]], [[Methodist Church in the United States|Methodist]], [[Presbyterian Church in the United States|Presbyterian]], Reformed, [[Episcopal Church in the United States|Episcopal]], and [[Roman Catholic Church in the United States|Roman Catholic]] churches.
Because the keeping of vital records began late in the history of Pennsylvania, church records play a  major roll in family history research. It is important that the researcher know the religious affiliation of their ancestor and be able to identify the church or churches their ancestor attended. County histories can help identfy extinct and extant churches in the locality where the ancestor lived.
Ministers assigned to a particular church may have "rode the circuit' to outlying areas to perform various ordinances for their parishoners. Records for itinerant (circuit riders) ministers may be recorded in their personal records or the records of the church where they are assigned. County histories may help to identify pastors who served in particular counties and what churches they were assigned too.
If the records can only be viewed at the church, make an appointment with the minister or secretary to examine the records. Remember, the records are the property of the church. There may be instances when the minister or a representive will not allow you to view the record but will look at the record for you.
A detailed Historical Records Survey inventory of church records available at the State Library of Pennsylvania is ''Inventory of Church Archives in Pennsylvania'', also available in the {{FHL|384182|item}}. To check for a copy nearest you, use [http://www.worldcat.org/title/inventory-of-church-archives/oclc/68150025&referer=brief_results WorldCat.] It lists many Pennsylvania churches existing in the 1930s. It is arranged by county and can help you identify extant churches for that time period.
The [https://familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library] has extensive collections of church records for the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reformed (United Church of Christ), and Society of Friends denominations. Many transcripts of local church records have been published.
The [[Family History Library|Family History Library]] also has histories of the Church of the Brethren, the Society of Friends, and the Baptist, Schwenkfelder, Evangelical Lutheran, Reformed, Presbyterian, Moravian, and Catholic churches in Pennsylvania.
Two of the largest groups were the German Lutheran and Reformed churches. For excellent information on the various congregations and their histories and records, see Charles H. Glatfelter, ''Pastors and Peoples,'' 2 vols. (Breingsville, PA: Pennsylvania German Society, 1980 and 1981) as vols. 13 and 15 of The Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society in the {{FHL|236810|item}}. To check for a copy nearest you, search [http://www.worldcat.org/title/pastors-and-people-german-lutheran-and-reformed-churches-in-the-pennsylvania-field-1717-1793/oclc/6834162&referer=brief_results WorldCat.]
Many denominations have deposited their records in central repositories. You can write to the following addresses for more information. Additional copies of church records may be located at the county historical or genealogical societies. Records at local societies may be more accessible.
=== Baptist  ===
[[Image:Pennsylvania churches.png|thumb|right|400px]] [http://www.50states.com/college-details/eastern-baptist-theological-seminary-212124.htm The Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary]<br>6 Lancaster Ave<br>Wynnewood, PA 19096-34<br>Telephone: (610) 896-5000
=== Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)  ===
Early church records, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for Pennsylvania Wards and Branches can be found on film and are located at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The film numbers, for each ward, can be locate through the [https://www.familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library Catalog] . Or by refering to Jaussi, Laureen R., and Gloria D. Chaston. Register of Genealogical Society Call Numbers. 2 vols. Provo, Utah: Genealogy Tree, 1982. (FHL book 979.2258 A3j; fiche 6031507). These volumes contain the film numbers for many (but not all) membership and temple record films.
=== Episcopal  ===
[http://www.diopa.org/ Diocese of Pennsylvania]<br>The History Committee<br>240 S. 4th Street<br>Philadelphia, PA 19106<br>Telephone: (215) 627-6434<br>Fax: (215) 627-7550
This diocese has records for churches that are now closed for [[Bucks County, Pennsylvania|Bucks]], [[Chester County, Pennsylvania|Chester]], [[Delaware County, Pennsylvania|Delaware]], [[Montgomery County, Pennsylvania|Montgomery]], and [[Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania|Philadelphia]] counties only. Churches that are not closed should be contacted for their records. The appropriate diocese holds the records for other counties.
Only a small percentage of Colonial Pennsylvania's population belonged to the Church of England.<ref>Frank J. Klingberg, "The Anglican Minority in Colonial Pennsylvania with Particular Reference to the Indian," ''The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,'' Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jul. 1941):276-299. For free online access, see [http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Historical_Society_of_Pennsylvania._Pennsylvania_Magazine_of_History_and_Biography WeRelate].</ref> Of 26 Episcopalian churches established in Pennsylvania before 1800, 12 have surviving parish registers covering that period.<ref>Philip Syng Physick Conner, "Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," ''The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,'' Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For free online access, see [http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Historical_Society_of_Pennsylvania._Pennsylvania_Magazine_of_History_and_Biography WeRelate].</ref>
=== Lutheran  ===
A. R. Wentz Library<br>Lutheran Theological Seminary<br>61 Seminary Ridge<br>Gettysburg, PA 17325<br>Telephone: (717) 334-6286<br>Email: [mailto:info@ltsg.edu info@ltsg.edu]
The A. R. Wentz Library records are not available to the general public, but the Family History Library has filmed many of their church records.
Krauth Memorial Library<br>[http://www.ltsp.edu/lutheran-archives-philadelphia Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia]<br>Seminary Ridge<br>Gettysburg PA 17325<br>Phone: (717) 334-6286, ext 2131<br>
[http://www.thiel.edu/library/Archives1.htm#trisynod Tri-Synod Archives]<br>Thiel College<br>75 College Avenue<br>Greenville PA 16125<br>Phone: (724) 589-2131
The archives has the records for the local congregations that have disbanded in the eastern third of [[Pennsylvania|Pennsylvania]] and in [[New Jersey|New Jersey]], [[New England|New England]], and upstate [[New York|New York]]. Those congregations still active will have&nbsp;their records or will know where their older records are located.
A helpful source is Frederick S. Weiser, ''Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Records'', 4 vols. included in the {{FHL|284545|item}}. This includes records from [[Adams County, Pennsylvania|Adams]], [[Columbia County, Pennsylvania|Columbia]], [[Cumberland County, Pennsylvania|Cumberland]], [[Franklin County, Pennsylvania|Franklin]], [[Fulton County, Pennsylvania|Fulton]], [[Lebanon County, Pennsylvania|Lebanon]], [[Northumberland County, Pennsylvania|Northumberland]], [[Snyder County, Pennsylvania|Snyder]], and [[York County, Pennsylvania|York]] counties.
[http://www.genealoger.com/lutheran/church%20records/luth_chrec_pennsylvania.htm Genealoger.com ]has a bibliography of Pennsylvania Lutheran Church Records and Histories
For an index to birth (baptism) information for Colonial Pennsylvania Lutherans, see:
*Humphrey, John T. ''Birth Index; Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1680-1800''. n.p.: Brøderbund, 1998. {{FHL|731849|item}} CD-ROM no. 9 pt. 196.
For a history of colonial German Lutheran churches, read:
:*Dubbs, Joseph Henry. "The Founding of the German Churches of Pennsylvania," ''The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,'' Vol. 17 (1893):241-262. For free online access, see [http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Historical_Society_of_Pennsylvania._Pennsylvania_Magazine_of_History_and_Biography WeRelate].
=== Mennonite  ===
[http://www.mhep.org/index.php The Mennonite Heritage Center]<br> 565 Yoder Road<br> Harleysville PA 19438-1020<br> 215-256-3020<br>[mailto:library@mhep.org library@mhep.org]<br> Hours: Tuesday thru Friday, 10am–5pm, Saturday, 10am–2pm<br>
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this treasure also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. The website provides a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.
=== Moravian  ===
[http://www.moravianchurcharchives.org/general.php The Moravian Archives]<br>41 West Locust Street<br>Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18018<br>United States of America<br>Phone: (610) 866-3255<br>Fax: (610) 866-9210
For information concerning missions to the American Indians visit [http://www.wheaton.edu/bgc/archives/GUIDES/153.htm Moravian Missions Among American Indians.]&nbsp;For a map and list of missions visit [http://bdhp.moravian.edu/community_records/christianindians/missionmap.html Early Moravian Missions in Eastern Pennsylvania and Surrounding Areas 1740-1773.]
Mission records are also available in the {{FHL|301362|item}}. The records are indexed in the {{FHL|53079|item}}Book 970.1 F642i.
=== Presbyterian  ===
[http://www.history.pcusa.org/ Presbyterian Historical Society]<br>425 Lombard Street<br>Philadelphia, PA 19147<br>Telephone: (215) 627-1852<br>Fax: (215) 627-0509
The society and the {{FHL|98115|item}} have "''Miscellaneous Biographical Collection''". This collection contains information from the 1600s up to 1960s. It includes obituaries, funeral discourses, memorial sermons, newspaper clippings, records of ministerial service, published genealogies, histories, golden anniversary of work in the ministry, church newsletters with biographical information, ordination service bulletins, installation service bulletins, biographical sketches and photographs. The collection is national in scope.
''Inventory of the Church Archives of Pennsylvania Presbyterian Churches''. Works Progress Administration, compiled from 1936-1940 and is available in the {{FHL|98833|item}}. Also try Candace Belfield's book [http://www.worldcat.org/title/inventory-of-the-church-archives-of-pennsylvania-presbyterian-churches/oclc/8298386&referer=brief_results ''Inventory of the church archives of Pennsylvania&nbsp;: Presbyterian churches.'']''<br>''
=== Reformed  ===
[http://www.erhs.info/Home.html Archives of the Evangelical and Reformed Church]<br>Philip Schaff Library<br>Evangelical and Reformed Historical Library<br>555 W. James Street<br>Lancaster, PA 17603<br>Telephone: (717) 290-8734
A guide to the records in the above&nbsp;named archive is, Florence M. Bricker, comp. and ed., ''Church and Pastoral Records in the Archives of the United Church of Christ and the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society, Lancaster, PA'' Lancaster, PA: The Society, 1982; and is available in the {{FHL|44871|item}}. To locate the book nearest you, search [http://www.worldcat.org/title/church-and-pastoral-records-in-the-archives-of-the-united-church-of-christ-and-the-evangelical-and-reformed-historical-society-lancaster-pa/oclc/9732056&referer=brief_results WorldCat].&nbsp;
=== Roman Catholic  ===
The beginning of the Catholic faith in Pennsylvania can be dated back to French explorers who visited the area in the seventeenth century. The first Catholic church was a chapel built in Fort Duquesne in 1754. In 1808, the Diocese of Philadelphia was organized. It covered the entire state. It was split in 1843 when the Diocese of Pittsburgh was erected to oversee Western Pennsylvania. Other dioceses were erected at later dates.<ref name="pitt">"100 Years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943," ''Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly'', Vol. 17, No. 1 (Summer 1990):9-33. {{FHL|151821|item|disp=FHL Book 974.8 B2wg}}.</ref>
At present there are eight dioceses in Pennsylvania:
[http://www.allentowndiocese.org/ '''Diocese of Allentown''']<br>P.O. Box F<br>Allentown, PA 18105-1538
The diocese consists&nbsp;of&nbsp;the counties of&nbsp;[[Berks County, Pennsylvania|Berks]], [[Carbon County, Pennsylvania|Carbon]], [[Lehigh County, Pennsylvania|Lehigh]], [[Northampton County, North Carolina|Northampton]] and [[Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania|Schuylkill]].<ref name="rc">[http://www.cdeducation.org/oym/connections/dioceseusmap.htm Map of the Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States of America], Office of Catholic Schools Diocese of Columbus, accessed 3 Nov 2010.</ref>
[http://www.ajdiocese.org/ '''Diocese of Altoona''']<br>927 S. Logan Boulevard<br>hollidaysburg, PA 16648<br>Phone: (814) 695-5579
The diocese consists of the counties of [[Bedford County, Pennsylvania|Bedford]], [[Blair County, Pennsylvania|Blair]], [[Cambria County, Pennsylvania|Cambria]], [[Centre County, Pennsylvania|Centre]], [[Fulton County, Pennsylvania|Fulton]], [[Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania|Huntingdon]] and [[Somerset County, Pennsylvania|Somerset]].<ref name="rc" />
[http://www.eriercd.org/ '''Diocese of Erie''']<br>St. Mark Catholic Center<br>429 East Grandview Blvd.<br>Erie, PA 16504
The diocese coonsists of&nbsp;the of&nbsp;counties of [[Cameron County, Pennsylvania|Cameron]], [[Clarion County, Pennsylvania|Clarion]], [[Clearfield County, Pennsylvania|Clearfield]], [[Crawford County, Pennsylvania|Crawford]], [[Elk County, Pennsylvania|Elk]], [[Erie County, Pennsylvania|Erie]], [[Forest County, Pennsylvania|Forest]], [[Jefferson County, Pennsylvania|Jefferson]], [[Mercer County, Pennsylvania|Mercer]], [[McKean County, Pennsylvania|McKean]], [[Potter County, Pennsylvania|Potter]], [[Venango County, Pennsylvania|Venango]] and [[Warren County, Pennsylvania|Warren]].<ref name="rc" />
[http://www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/Pages/default.aspx '''Diocese of Greensburg''']<br>723 East Pittsburgh St.<br>Greensburg, PA 15601<br>Phone: (724) 837-0901
The diocese consists of the counties of [[Armstrong County, Pennsylvania|Armstrong]], [[Fayette County, Pennsylvania|Fayette]], [[Indiana County, Pennsylvania|Indiana]] and [[Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania|Westmoreland]].<ref name="rc" />
[http://www.hbgdiocese.org/ '''Diocese of Harrisburg''']<br>4800 Union Deposit Road<br>Harrisburg, PA 17111<br>Phone: (717) 657-4804
Archive houses many records of genealogical value. Website includes guide [http://www.hbgdiocese.org/archives/geneology-research-for-families-2/ Genealogy Research for Families]. Professional look-up services are available.
The diocese of Harrisburg consists of&nbsp;the counties of [[Adams County, Pennsylvania|Adams]], [[Columbia County, Pennsylvania|Columbia]], [[Cumberland County, Pennsylvania|Cumberland]], [[Dauphin County, Pennsylvania|Dauphin]], [[Franklin County, Pennsylvania|Franklin]], [[Juniata County, Pennsylvania|Juniata]], [[Lancaster County, Pennsylvania|Lancaster]], [[Lebanon County, Pennsylvania|Lebanon]], [[Mifflin County, Pennsylvania|Mifflin]], [[Montour County, Pennsylvania|Montour]], [[Northumberland County, Pennsylvania|Northumberland]], [[Perry County, Pennsylvania|Perry]], [[Snyder County, Pennsylvania|Snyder]], [[Union County, Pennsylvania|Union]] and [[York County, Pennsylvania|York]].<ref name="rc" />
[http://archphila.org/home.php '''Archdiocese of Philadelphia''']<br>222 North 17th Street,<br>Philadelphia, PA 19103-1299<br>Phone: (215) 587-3600
:[http://www.pahrc.net/ '''Philadelphia Archdiocesan&nbsp;Historical&nbsp;Reseach Center''']<br>100 E. Wynnewood<br>Wynnewood, PA 19096<br>Telephone: (610) 667-3394<br>
The diocese (erected 1808) consists of the counties&nbsp;of&nbsp;[[Bucks County, Pennsylvania|Bucks]], [[Chester County, Pennsylvania|Chester]], [[Delaware County, Pennsylvania|Delaware]], [[Montgomery County, Pennsylvania|Montgomery]] and [[Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania|Philadelphia]].<ref name="rc" />
[http://www.diopitt.org/ '''Diocese of Pittsburgh'''] <br>111 Blvd. of the Allies<br>Pittsburgh, PA 15222<br>Phone: (412) 456-3000
The diocese (erected 1843) consists of&nbsp;the counties of [[Allegheny County, Pennsylvania|Allegheny]], [[Beaver County, Pennsylvania|Beaver]], [[Butler County, Pennsylvania|Butler]], [[Greene County, Pennsylvania|Greene]], [[Lawrence County, Pennsylvania|Lawrence]] and [[Washington County, Pennsylvania|Washington]].<ref name="rc" />
The Diocese of Pittsburgh originally included Catholic churches throughout Western Pennsylvania, including: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.<ref name="pitt" />
For a centennial history, see:
*"100 Years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943," ''Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly'', Vol. 17, No. 1 (Summer 1990):9-33. {{FHL|151821|item|disp=FHL Book 974.8 B2wg}}. Chronology, map, county-by-county information.
[http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/ '''Diocese of Scranton''']<br>300 Wyoming Avenue<br>Scranton, PA 18593<br>Phone: (570) 207-2238
The diocese consists of the counties of [[Bradford County, Pennsylvania|Bradford]], [[Clinton County, Pennsylvania|Clinton]], [[Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania|Lackawanna]], [[Luzerne County, Pennsylvania|Luzerne]], [[Lycoming County, Pennsylvania|Lycoming]], [[Monroe County, Pennsylvania|Monroe]], [[Pike County, Pennsylvania|Pike]], [[Sullivan County, Pennsylvania|Sullivan]], [[Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania|Susquehanna]], [[Tioga County, Pennsylvania|Tioga]], [[Wayne County, Pennsylvania|Wayne]], [[Wyoming County, Pennsylvania|Wyoming]].<ref name="rc" />
For a listing of many vital records, see Albert H. Ledoux. ''Catholic Vital Records of Central Pennsylvania'', 4 vols. (Altoona, PA: A. H. Ledoux, 1993-1996; see {{FHL|644078|item}}. Also check [http://www.worldcat.org/title/catholic-vital-records-of-central-pennsylvania/oclc/29179250&referer=brief_results WorldCat] for a copy of the book nearest you.
=== Society of Friends (Quakers)  ===
'''For Hicksite records:'''
[http://www.swarthmore.edu/fhl.xml Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College]<br>Swarthmore College<br>500 College Avenue<br>Swarthmore, PA 19081<br>Telephone: (610) 328-8496<br>Email: [mailto:friends@swarthmore.edu friends@swarthmore.edu]
'''For Orthodox records:'''
Quaker Collection<br>Haverford College<br>James P. Magill Library<br>370 Lancaster Avenue<br>Haverford, PA 19041-1392<br>Telephone: (610) 896-1000
A card index to Quaker records is William Wade Hinshaw, ''The William Wade Hinshaw Index to Quaker Meeting Records in the Friends Library in Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania&nbsp;''can be found&nbsp;in&nbsp;the {{FHL|357909|item}}.
For help in finding Quaker records, see:
*''Inventory of Church Archives, Society of Friends in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA: Historical Records Survey, 1941, ''can be searched in the {{FHL|205420|item}}.
*Hinshaw, William Wade. ''Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. 6 Vols''. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 1936-1950. Volume II covers Pennsylvania Monthly Meetings. {{FHL|192159|item}}; digital version at [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=48130 Ancestry] ($). To locate copies nearest you, use [http://www.worldcat.org/title/encyclopedia-of-american-quaker-genealogy-vol-i-vi/oclc/255684770&referer=brief_results WorldCat].
*''The William Wade Hinshaw Index to Pennsylvania Quaker Meeting Records''. 8 vols. (Kokomo, Indiana: Selby Publishing &amp; Printing, 1990; available in the {{FHL|181459|item}}. To locate copies nearest you, use [http://www.worldcat.org/title/william-wade-hinshaw-index-to-pennsylvania-quaker-meeting-records/oclc/20749152&referer=brief_results WorldCat].
An important resource for Eastern Pennsylvania is Jack Eckert, ''Guide to the Records of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting'' (Philadelphia, PA: Haverford College, Records Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, Swarthmore College, 1989; available in the {{FHL|363543|item}}. It also contains a bibliography, a glossary, and the record location for the other yearly meetings throughout the United States and Canada. The yearly meeting includes the monthly and quarterly meeting records, etc., under its jurisdiction. To locate a copy of the book nearest&nbsp;you, use [http://www.worldcat.org/title/guide-to-the-records-of-philadelphia-yearly-meeting/oclc/21324848&referer=brief_results WorldCat].&nbsp;
Many sources are also listed in the Place Search of the [https://familysearch.org/#form=catalog Family History Library Catalog] under PENNSYLVANIA - CHURCH HISTORY.
A few&nbsp;church records have been indexed for most Pennsylvania Counties in the [http://www.idreamof.com/church/pa.html I Dream of Genealogy] website.&nbsp; They are indexed by County, Township and then Church.<br>
For a history of Welsh Quakers in Pennsylvania, read:
:*Levick, James J. "The Early Welsh Quakers and Their Emigration to Pennsylvania," ''The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,'' Vol. 17 (1893):385-413. For free online access, see [http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:Historical_Society_of_Pennsylvania._Pennsylvania_Magazine_of_History_and_Biography WeRelate].
=== References  ===
[[Pennsylvania, Schuylkill County Digital Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
[[Category:Pennsylvania|Church Records]]

Revision as of 22:05, 14 March 2013