United Church of Christ in the United States
- 1 History in the United States
- 2 Finding Aids
- 3 Finding the Records
- 4 Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor
History in the United States[edit | edit source]
- In the 1700’s, German settlers who were part of the Dutch Reformed Church, formed their own synod and called it the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS).
- In 1934, they united with the Evangelical Synod of North America which, before 1927 was known as the German Evangelical Synod of North America and was originally formed in 1840 at Deutsche Evangelische St. Johannes Gemeinde Zu Gravois by German immigrants.
- This unified church was called the Evangelical and Reformed Church and eventually joined with the Congregational Christian Church in 1957.
- Since that time this unification of churches is called the United Church of Christ. (UCC). For further information visit the United Church of Christ website.
Finding Aids[edit | edit source]
- Amistad Research Center, United Church of Christ records and related holdings. Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, 1990. Worldcat entry.
Finding the Records[edit | edit source]
Look for online records.[edit | edit source]
Some records have been digitized and posted online, where they are easily searched. More are being added all the time. Partner websites such as Ancestry.com, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and American Ancestors can be searched free-of-charge at any Family History Center.
Online databases are incomplete. This can lead to two common errors:
- Online Church Records of the Congregational Library and Archives Some Congregational churches split off and were united in 1957 into the United Church of Christ.
Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]
- There are many entries of United Church of Christ church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:
- Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog state-wide, county-wide, or for 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 statewide records:
- a. Enter your state name in the "Place" search field of FamilySearch Catalog. You will see a list of topics and, at the top, the phrase "Places within United States, [STATE]".
- b. Click on "Church records" in the topic list. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- To find county-wide records:
- c. From the original page, click on Places within United States, [STATE] and a list of counties will appear.
- d. Click on your county.
- e. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- To find town records:
- f. From the list of counties, click on Places within United States, [STATE], [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
- g. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
- h. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
- i. 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.
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.
- United Church of Christ Find Churches Near Me, Church Directory
- Southern New England Conference United Church of Christ Directory
- Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences of the United Church of Christ have joined to form the Southern New England Conference.
Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]
(The merger of the Evangelical and German Reformed churches and some Congregational churches in 1957 means that records may be the archives of any of the three denominations.)
Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society and Archives
555 West James Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
Telephone: 717-290-8711 or 717-393-0654
Congregational Library and Archives
Congregational Christian Historical Society
14 Beacon Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ
125 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Toll Free in CT: 866.367.2822; 860.233.5564
Archivist Telephone: 860-767-1004; 860-761-7105
Archivist collects, preserves, organizes and maintains the historic Connecticut Conference's archival collection. This includes an extensive library, the records of the churches and clergy, publications and other information. The archivist assists researchers and scholars in the use of the Archives, and answers inquiries regarding the histories of the Conference and its 250+ churches.
Lancaster Theological Seminary Library
555 West James Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
Toll Free: (800) 393-0654
Local: (717) 393-0654
Fax: (717) 393-4254
The official archives of the United Church of Christ.
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 gathering 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.