Evangelical Christian Church in Canada

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Evangelical Christian Church



Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) is a Radical Pietistic denomination in the evangelical Christian tradition.[1][2] The denomination has more than 875 congregations and an average worship attendance of 280,000 people[3][page needed] in the United States and Canada with ministries on five continents. Founded in 1885 by Swedish immigrants, the church is now one of the most rapidly growing and multi-ethnic denominations in North America.[4] Historically Lutheran in theology and background, it is now a broadly evangelical movement. Swedish immigrants breaking off from the Lutheran (State Church of Sweden) began the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant of America (now ECC) on February 20, 1885, in Chicago, Illinois. A pietistic religious awakening had swept through Sweden around the middle of the 19th century. Before leaving their homeland some Swedes met in people's homes, as they felt the state church was becoming overly powerful. There they conducted private services including hymn singing accompanied by guitars and read scripture from their Bibles, but they’d often hear an ominous authoritative knock at the door from a church official. This only reinforced their yearning to be in a church where they could worship freely. With this awakening and reformation came the Swedish Mission Church in 1878. The state church discouraged the gathering of these believers. It was people from this movement who emigrated to America and formed the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant of America. Early leaders and influences included PP Waldenström, 1838–1917 and David Nyvall, 1863–1946, among others. They desired to create a voluntary “covenant of churches” that were committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus, as well as provide means for ministerial training. The name was changed to the Evangelical Covenant Church of America in 1954 and the "of America" was eventually abandoned because the denomination includes a Canadian conference.[1]

The Evangelical Free Church of Canada (EFCC) is an association of autonomous and interdependent evangelical Christian congregations in Canada. Its home office is located in Langley, British Columbia, on the campus of Trinity Western University. EFCC is an affiliate of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and the International Federation of Free Evangelical Churches. The EFCC was founded in 1917 at Enchant, Alberta. It merged with the Fellowship of Gospel Churches in 1957 and was incorporated under federal charter in 1967. It became autonomous from the Evangelical Free Church of America in 1984. In 1962, the Evangelical Free Church of Canada and the Evangelical Free Church of America founded Trinity Western University as a college. Trinity Western Seminary became a graduate division of the University, and the EFCC is uniquely partnered with several other denominational seminaries under the name Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS). The EFCC operates an international mission arm known as Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission (EFCCM). The EFCCM provides care and administrative help to about 100 missionaries in more than 16 countries. In 1990, there are 10,000 members in Canada. In 2017, there are about 150 Evangelical Free Churches throughout Canada.[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]

Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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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!

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

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilmed and/or digitized records for churches in the Canada.
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the province or a 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 Canada.
b. Click on Places within Canada and a list of provinces will appear.
c. Click on your province.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Or click on Places within Canada, [PROVINCE] 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.

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.

Addresses[edit | edit source]

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.


Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
Augustana College
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois, 61201

Toll-free phone:800-798-8100 Phone: 309-794-7000

Most of the Lutheran, Covenant, and Free churches listed below are also indexed and available to search on Ancestry.com. Access them at Ancestry.com Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center. This was made possible by a collaboration between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Covenant Archives at North Park University, the Evangelical Free Church of America, the Swedish Emigrant Institute in Växjö, Sweden, and the Swenson Center.


Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N4
Canada
Service Points Outside Ottawa

Telephone: 613-996-5115 or 1-866-578-7777 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)
TTY: 613-992-6969 or 1-866-299-1699 (toll-free in Canada)
Fax: 613-995-6274


Library and Archives Canada holds only a small collection of parish registers, none of which are comprehensive for any region. Most are transcripts rather than originals, available on microfilm and listed in our Checklist of Parish Registers (ISBN 0660538636). Due to the heavy volume of inquiries we receive, we are unable to conduct searches in parish registers.


Canadian Council of Archives / Conseil Canadien des archives
130 Albert Street, Suite 1201
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5G4
Canada

Toll free 1-866-254-1403
Fax (613) 565-5445
Email: info@archivescanada.ca

  • ArchivesCanada.ca Archive Search You can search the holdings of more than 800 archives across Canada through this portal, formerly known as CAIN (Canadian Archival Information Network).

In 2018, CRKN merged with Canadiana.org, an organization dedicated to the preservation and access of Canada’s documentary heritage since 1978.

Canadian Research Knowledge Network
411 - 11 Holland Avenue
Ottawa, ON
Canada
K1Y 4S1
Phone:(613)907.-7040


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:

Contact local libraries.[edit | edit source]

Churches sometimes donate their records to local libraries. Call or write to the libraries in the close vicinity of the church your ancestors might have attended and the towns where they resided.

Look for published books with transcripts of church records.[edit | edit source]

Many early records, especially from the 1600's and 1700's, have been transcribed and published in books.
These books can be digitized and available online. Check these online digital libraries:

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png Try different keywords in various combinations:the name of the town,
the name of the specific church, the denomination, "church records", and "[PROVINCE] church records".

Consult the PERSI index for records published in journals.[edit | edit source]

  • PERSI is the Periodical Source Index and is available at FindMyPast.com:PERSI., ($). It can be searched for free at any Family History Center. PERSI is an index to family and local history periodicals from 1847 to the present. Many of these periodicals publish church records. If you locate an index entry for a church, you will then need to find the periodical. Use the WorldCat.org search engine to find a library near you that carries the periodical. Library reference desks can be contacted to request a copy of articles, or you may need to hire a researcher.


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. "Evangelical Covenant Church", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Covenant_Church, accessed 25 July 2020.
  2. "Evangelical Free Church of Canada", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Free_Church_of_Canada, accessed 25 July 2020.