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Finding Your Ancestors in United States Church Records


If you’re hitting a brick wall with your United States ancestors, consider looking for them in church or synagogue records. Many people affiliated with a religious institution, even if they didn’t attend regularly. Churches often recorded the names of members and those who were married or eulogized by the clergy or who participated in church rites. You may find details of a person’s birth and death, names and relationships of relatives, and other important genealogical clues, as in this infant baptismal record.

Church records can also reveal migration details, such as parents’ birthplaces or an immigrant’s overseas hometown. Sometimes the records reveal unique and meaningful clues about people’s lives and culture.

FamilySearch is home to thousands of United States church record collections. Search for these records in the FamilySearch Catalog under Search > Catalog. Search by place with the name of a locale or a county.