Oct 14

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Survey of American Church Records. Volume I (III Edition – Enlarged). Major Denominations before 1880

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Publication Information –

E. Kay Kirkham.
Logan, UT: Everton Publishers. 1971.

Availability –

Over 250 libraries


Not found online in its entirety. Google Books has a snippet view of the 4th ed.


bookstores (new & used) – under $25, older editions under $5


Summary –

Written for genealogists, the stated purpose of this book is to provide a survey of religious records. The
author also acknowledges that the book is incomplete since only 28 states are included and not all
counties in those states are covered.

After a brief introduction and general statement, the book provides short summary histories of the ten
“major” denominations including bibliographies and mentions of any doctrinal positions that affected
record keeping. The ten denominations include: Baptist, Catholic, Church of England (Anglican Church),
Congregational, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, and Society of Friends
(Quaker). Some descriptions include related or derivative denominations. Then follows a state-by-state
listing of holdings organized by county and major city. Each state’s entry begins with a brief overview
and bibliography. The end of the book includes a glossary and list of abbreviations.

A second volume covers “minor” denominations, but is not available for review at this time.

Review –

Considering that this edition of the book was compiled at the very beginning of the mainframe library
computer catalog era, it represents a remarkable accomplishment. Most of the material for the book was
apparently gathered via letter surveys. Still, as with most genealogy references, it continues to provide a
valuable clue to where records might be held if you are lucky enough to find your state, county, and
denomination of interest included in its entries. One of the most valuable series of resources frequently
referenced is the series of church record surveys of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Other
frequent references are to major genealogical publications, local/regional historical societies, and
denominational archives.

Other Reviews –

none known

Evaluation –


E. Kay Kirkham.
Logan, UT: Everton Publishers. 1971.

Permanent link to this article: http://vandeventer.net/2009/10/survey-of-am-church-recs-v1/

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