Church records can be a valuable asset to genealogical research in several ways. They began in the U. S. in the early 1600s, but civil registration or recording of births, marriages, and deaths was not generally required until after 1900. Sometimes church records are the only records containing vital record information. Therefore, they are a valuable substitute when vital records do not exist. Many churches of different denominations kept such records as births, baptisms or christenings, marriages, deaths, and burials. Unfortunately, many of these records have not survived, but it’s usually worthwhile to check with the church about availability. The types of records kept by churches depends on what mattered most to them in terms of their belief systems. These may include births, baptisms, christenings, communions, confirmations, admissions, removals, lists of Sunday school attendees, church censuses, financial records, and even newsletters. The kind of information kept by a specific church...
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