with Lisa Louise Cooke
Republished April 8, 2014
Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-09. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.
Episode 26: Using Church Birth Records in Family History
In our last episode we covered civil birth records. As promised, in this week’s episode we finish up this two part series on birth records by talking about church birth records. Just like with civil birth records, there are a variety of records to track down. So to help us in the hunt I’m bringing back professional genealogist Arlene Eakle, PhD. She helps us see the challenges we face and the success we can have locating church records about our ancestors’ births.
Read the show notes below for exciting updates to the original conversation.
The first place Arlene looks for church birth records is the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This database can be found at FamilySearch.org. As you can see below, you’ll see a search tool for just the IGI. Community-indexed IGI is what you want to search: the collection of vital and church records from the early 1500s to 1885.
Unfortunately, the indexed entries are not sourced in this database. Chase down the original source of the record with this FamilySearch tutorial.
Here are 3 tips for searching for church records
1. Search for a namesake of the person you are looking for, particularly if they have a fairly unusual or unique name. Often times that person will be related and give you a clue as to where to find the other person.
2. Always attempt to get a copy of the original source for information found in transcribed records or online.
And here are links to 3 more places to look for your family history:
1. Google Books
2. The Social Security Death Index, or SSDI, which we talk about in Episode 3 of this podcast.
3. Volunteer lookups: Arlene mentions Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. That site went offline, then was revived, but isn’t exactly the same. Find it listed along with other volunteer lookup sites at Cyndi’s List.