Tim's Terrific Tips--Ch Records and Holidays


Copyright 1996
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There are many early church records in print. Some are available only in the historical societies. Others are for sale. I'd like to see a file with the main publishers with free catalogues made available (not me!). I'll put a list of some recommended books at the end.

Don't forget to look at the confirmation lists. Many people leave them out. Don't pay too much attention to whether they were in the Lutheran or Reformed list (do write that down, though). My impression is that folks generally show up on both lists and weren't all that particular which brand of religion they consumed. They probably leaned one way, but probably depended on whichever traveling minister was in the area at the time. Just my impression.

Anyway, children were often confirmed at around age 15. Sometimes a little younger, more often a little older. Sometimes several of one person's children were confirmed at one time. Some older folks appear in the confirmation list, and they are often identified as being older or married in the lists.

Don't forget to check the Rev. xxx lists. These were traveling ministers who catered to several areas (I suspect most were like this) and they kept a copy of their pastoral acts in their own books. Consider these sources in addition to the church guides:

Plus many more. These records often include not only the names of the parents, dates, weddings, etc. but also where the pastoral act was performed.

If you're doing research in Berks County, get the map of early Berks Churches, available from the Berks County Genealogical Society.

Speaking of Berks Co, there are some handy little books available. There is a 5 volume index to births in Berks Co churches before 1800 and a 2 volume index to marriages. Handy books if you can find them.

A lot of the old church records refer to what were probably very important holidays. Converting the name to dates can be pretty tricky:

So when is Easter ? ...observed by the Western Church since the Council of Nicaea, on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal Equinox. It traditionally included a night vigil and the baptism of catechumens. (The New American Desk Encyclopedia).

So how do you know the date of Trinity ? ? I actually got my Windows Astronomy program and looked for the full moons and did the math, etc. A lot of work!! Anyone got a book with the dates or even better a program for this &question; &question; If you see Dom.2.Trinity, for example, that means the 2nd Sunday after Trinity - more math! [better, check out on the site on the internet: ]