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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Preparing for SLIG 2020: Part 4

In the previous posts of this "Preparing for SLIG 2020" series,  I discussed finding resources to help me develop a base knowledge for the course I am taking at SLIG: Early U.S. Church Records,  coordinated by Rev. David McDonald, DMin, CG. I have been fairly successful in finding print resources on many topics related to religion in the early United States. You can see my previous post here.

Last June I prepared for an Advanced DNA course at GRIP by reviewing many videos and webinars on DNA topics and tools. You can see the links to those blog posts and the results of my preparations here. I have not been as successful in finding videos and webinars on religion and church records. However, I did find several.

Ancestry Academy has a variety of videos on genealogical research. In one video, the SLIG 2020 course coordinator, Rev. David McDonald, DMin, CG, discusses "Church & Religious Records: Their Use in Genealogical Research." A search for the term "church" at Ancestry Academy results in a list of 40+ other videos that discuss church records as part of a larger topic. For example, a video on vital records is in the results, which makes sense since church records can provide a great substitute for local and state vital records. Ancestry Academy is free with an Ancestry login; I don't believe you need to have a paid membership, just a login.

One of my favorite webinar resources, FamilyTreeWebinars, now has over 1000 webinars on genealogical topics. There is an annual fee of $49.95, discounts are available most weeks with codes made available from the free live webinars. Most webinars are free for 7 days after their live debut so discount codes can be seen on most recent videos.

Using the search terms, "church" and "register" separately, I found 12 webinars. Since all webinars are older than 7 days, you will need a subscription to view them but the links allow you to read about them and see a preview.
Finding Your Roots in Catholic Records, presented by Lisa Toth Salinas
England and Wales - Rummaging in the Parish Chests, presented by Kirsty Gray
Zigzagging through German Church Records, presented by James Beidler
Using Church Records to Identify Ancestors, presented by Mary Hill, AG
Online Resources for French Genealogy part I: Compiled Records, Church Records and Civil Registration, presented by Paul Woodbury
Ohio and the Early Gathering of the LDS Church, presented by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG
Locating and Accessing Eastern European Church Records, presented by Lisa Alzo
Irish Church and Civil Registration, presented by Maurice Gleeson
Introduction to the Swedish Church Books, presented by Kathy Meade
Quebec Civil and Parish Registers, presented by Micheal J. Leclerc, CG

You'll note that several of the above webinars do not seem to pertain to US records. The reason that I included them is that I found the Norwegian parish registers that were online before their American Lutheran counterparts, were very similar to the U.S. versions. In fact, most of the late 19th century and early 20th century U.S. church records that I found for my Norwegian ancestors, were in their mother tongue. I am assuming that similarities also follow for other country and religious origins.

From RootsTech videos - free online:
Finally! German Church Records and How to Use Them on FamilySearch, presented by Trish Melander
Unlocking Roman Catholic Records: presented by Brian Donovan
Cross the Atlantic with Religious Records, presented by Jen Baldwin

From - Many videos free online with free registration and login
Links to videos available with search term, "church records."

Many state and national genealogical societies also host their own webinars. These are a few I found at societies where I have a membership. Webinar links are not included as membership is a requirement. I have included links to the societies' homepages.

Illinois State Genealogical Society
Online German Church Registers, Duplicates and Substitutes, presented by James M. Beidler
Translating Latin Records of German (and other) Catholic Churches, presented by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA
Faith of Our Fathers: United States Church Records, presented by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG

Another source for finding vidoes is YouTube. Here is a link to the results when searching for "genealogy and church records." When choosing a YouTube video, pay attention to the speaker's name or organization presenting the webinar. Choose those with names that are recognized as reputable speakers and organizations.

A wonderful source to review for upcoming webinars is GeneaWebinars. Our "friend in genealogy," Dear Myrtle, has created this calendar for speakers and organizations to contribute information regarding their future webinars.

While creating this list, I realized there are many more webinars and videos available than I thought. I have a lot of webinar viewing to do ahead of me! If you know of other can't-miss webinars on early U.S. church records, please provide the information and link in the comments section below.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Preparing for SLIG 2020: Part 3

Having determined that I need to expand my base knowledge of religion in early America in order to get the most of my SLIG 2020 class, "Early US Church Records", I started exploring what resources might be available to me.

When I followed this approach for my Advanced DNA class last summer, I was very successful in finding a number of resources. There were many videos, books, blogs, and tools available.  You can see my blogging on that topic here. (Click on the links within the blog to see the earlier postings with links.) While the topic of "Early American Religion" seems very broad, there were far fewer resources that were obviously available. It's quite possible my search terms are lacking but I don't see many videos, blogs or tools. I am able to find a large number of books.

A listing of the books available in the
"Religion in American Life" series. has books online which, even though still under copyright, can be checked out for free. You do need to create an account. I found a series called "Religion in American Life,"1 which has several books, each concentrating on a specific religion. I decided to concentrate on the religions I knew were followed by my ancestors and the general topics of "religion in colonial America" and "religion in 19th century America." I found a review of the series in a theological journal online which gave me some assurance that the series would be helpful.2

Because I am always trying to build my home library, I found a number of these books online at and purchased them to add to my library. They were very inexpensive with free shipping and will help me build my base knowledge.

Very recently released was a new book by Harold A. Henderson, CG and Sunny Jane Morton entitled, "How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide: With Specific Resources for Major Christian Denominations before 1900."It is available at Amazon and other markets.

I now have quite a bit of reading material to help me grow my basic understanding of the religions in early America. It's a good thing I love reading!

1Butler, Jon and Harry S. Stout, editors, Religion in American Life, 17 vols. (New York: Oxford. 2000).

3Luke L. Keefer, Jr., “American Religion: A Review Article of the Series Religion in American Life,” Ashland Theological Journal 35 (2003): 87-96; image copy, ( : accessed 24 September 2015).

3Morton, Sunny Jane, and Harold A. Henderson. 2019. How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist's Guide ( n.p., Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 2019)