Friday, August 17, 2007

Keep Those Records!

I learned something the other day that I thought was interesting, but shouldn't of surprised me. One of the presentations I went to while attending the Federation of Genealogy Societies was about using church records in genealogical research. I learned that the earliest church records known to exist come from a Lutheran church in Cathaolic-heavy Bavaria. The German Lutherans were at the forefront of keeping church records. These records then, as now, were baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death.

Granted, these records might be complete or total. Things happen, for example, people used to have to pay to have the records to be kept, so, some didn't/wouldn't/couldn't pay, or they did pay for some but not all. For example, maybe only boys would be registered in the baptismal section, that kind of thing.

I can remember the church record book we used to have in Maryland. It was a big, oversized leather thing. It was the church record book. It had probably 75 or 80 years worth of baptisms, weddings, burials, and confirmations in it. The first part of it was written in German and the pastors from back then wrote in the strange German script. It was interesting to look at, if for no other reason than to see the different writing styles each pastor had.

It was interesting to hear this guy talk about reconstructing whole families through church records and using those records to follow the generations back further.

So, rev's, make sure you keep those church records up to date you never know when those records might help a genealogist fifty years down the road.


thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

I'm reminded again of how little I know about my roots. Maybe I should give this library thing a try.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post.

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your blog. I work as a student cataloger at Concordia Seminary and really appreciate your insight in to library "stuff."

BTW... that "strange" German script is called Frachteur (spelling is probably wrong). It is the biggest pain in the butt to catalog books that have that script... and the CSL Library has a ton of books like that!

Again, thanks for the posts and the insight!

loofrin said...

I actually worked in the Concordia Seminary Library when I went there. I often found myself perusing the thesis section. I would look for names of people I knew, but I'd also just pull down random thesis and start reading them. I used to love just roaming the stacks of the library and pulling down a book here and book there. I learned quite a bit when I worked there. My favorite part of the day was after working at night and we closed, I would try and be in the quad by the time the night bells started ringing. It was always such a great moment. I truly felt God at the moment.

Thanks for reading me.