Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer
Column - Week 51 (This
appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)
We're talking about using
church records for genealogical research this time and specifically about
Methodist resources of use to family searchers.
The Methodist Episcopal
Church was officially organized in 1784 in Baltimore and included
Methodist churches in both the United States and Canada. The Methodist
Protestant Church was established in this country in 1828 and the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South separated in 1844 from the Methodist
Episcopal Church. The three American branches were united in 1939. In
1968, The United Methodist Church (the largest group of Methodists now in
the United States) was formed by the unification of The Methodist Church
and The Evangelical United Brethren Church.
Local churches usually keep
records of membership, marriages, baptisms and deaths. The records of
memberships were sometimes called "class lists." The churches also kept
registers of "probationers," the individuals who were undergoing
preparation for admission to membership.
The membership/class lists
indicate when a member was admitted and from what denomination if it was
different from Methodist. You'll also find when a member left that church.
Some of the conferences of
the United Methodist Church have established conference archives. Contact
the General Commission on Archives and History, United Methodist Church,
PO Box 127, Madison, NJ 07940. Call 201-822-2787. Go to
on the Internet.
Various branches of the
Presbyterian faith in North America have merged and divided through the
years. The majority of the Presbyterian congregations now in the United
States are part of the Presbyterian Church (USA). There are a number of
smaller groups, such as the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the
Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Presbyterian registers vary
according to congregation. You may find records of birth and baptism,
marriage and death/burial along with session minutes and communion rolls.
If you are to find
immigrant origins, they are usually in the session minutes or the
communion rolls. The session is the governmental body for the local
congregation. In order to be accepted into a particular congregation, an
interview had to take place between the prospective communicant and the
session. You'll also find the acceptance or rejection of the communicant
in the session minutes. There are transfers of membership from other
congregations in this information too.
Major repositories where
registers have been gathered include the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Department of History in Philadelphia; the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Department of History in Montreat, North Carolina and at the Family
History Library in Salt Lake City.
I ran across this and
thought it was fun...and, so, will share it with you.
If you have the name
"Elizabeth" in your family, there are a whole slew of nicknames (many I'd
never thought of) which include Elisabeth, Bessy, Beth, Betsy, Bethis,
Betsey, Betty, Bitsy, Eliza, Elisa, Lisa, Lise, Liz, Lizzie or Libby!
If you don't subscribe to
our publication, The Family Tree, we surely do invite you to do so! Sort
of amazingly, it's the largest genealogical publication in the world and
also the largest Scottish publication outside Scotland (although there's
Spanish, Italian, Spanish, Jewish and every other ethnicity we can find
news about in its pages too), in the world...and it comes from Moultrie,
Just send or bring us a
postage contribution of $6.00 or more and ask to be put on the list. If
you come by the library, you're welcome to as many back issues as we have.
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