Sunday, June 17, 2018

Watch Clergymen's Names

When examining marriage licenses, make careful note of the name of the officiating clergy.  This piece of information may provide a connection to the religious institution to which either the bride or the groom belonged. The same holds true when you find a clergy name in an obituary. This can provide a clue to point to the religious congregation to which an individual and/or other family members belonged and where other records may exist.

Once you have the name, check city directories and newspapers for references to the person's name, and then connect him or her to a specific religious institution.  You may then be able to contact the institution and seek membership information for the family member.

In addition, remember that when people moved to another place, they transferred their religious membership from their old congregation to a new one. The people may have presented a letter from the prior congregation for consideration. A request to transfer membership if usually recorded in minute books when the request was considered. Upon acceptance and admission, the new congregant's name is entered in the church membership register, along with the name and location of a previous congregation. As a result, tracing church memberships backwards can provide strong evidence of migration route.

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