I’m on a mission! I found some new Church Records!

Church records are probably my favorite documents.  Even though a lot of the information is not quite accurate, they are full of clues and fun to read!

I love Baptismal records that indicate “supposed father.”  I love marriage records that indicate one party (or both) were widowed and I love death records that give the cause of death.

On Saturday, I just found the database for a Church that no longer exists, and I found it 20 minutes before closing time!  Know what makes for a long weekend?  No access to those Church records!  Today, I was on a mission!

My mission was to spend as long as I can, with my computer next to me, searching for those I know were either married or buried in this town that I’ve not been able to find. I’d decided to head right to the source.  The Philip Schaff Library. At the Lancaster Theological Seminary. Second Floor is one of the best kept secrets for church records ~ The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society. I love this place, and I’m usually the only person using the records when I’m there.

The day was beautiful and I walked the 8 blocks rather than drive.  it was a no brainer, even carrying my laptop!  Photo ops abounded! The cars happened to be gone from the front of this row of homes, giving me a good opportunity to take a great picture of some Lemon Street Homes, one block from my destination.

On the campus of the Seminary is probably one of the prettiest buildings, and of course the clouds and sky didn’t hurt the picture at all.  Any angle you photograph the Lark Building from would be the right one.  This building was built in 1894 and gets more beautiful every time I see it!

Now let’s get back to my purpose for the walk ~ Church Records!  I had been looking for the records of the St. Paul Reformed Church’s congregation, but thought I’d been overlooking the books.  Everytime I filed Church books (as part of my volunteer responsibilities) I’d look and never find anything!  There was a reason.

The records were on microfilm!  Who would have thought?  Well, I found them Saturday and they had a lot of names that I’ve been looking for in them and I didn’t have a chance to go through the microfilm with a fine tooth comb.

Since I’d rather look at books than microfilm, I decided to go to the source and look at the records there.  And the source didn’t let me down!  I got to look at the original records, page by page by page.  My idea of nirvana.

Death Records for the year 1851

Death Records for the year 1851

Rather than print each page with one of “my names” on it, I photographed each page in it’s entireity, and then cut the photo enhanced, information I needed.  Works for me.  An example of that is below.  I can now paste it on a word document and add it to the file it belongs in.  Saves the printing cost and helps to save a tree.

Death Record for Abraham Cole, 1864

Death Record for Abraham Cole, 1864

All in all,  three hours at the library was a good one.  I came home with over 60 images loaded on my camera, and a lot of loose ends tied up.  I also had a wonderful walk through the beautiful streets of Lancaster.

Ah!  The Perfect Life. . . . for three hours, anyway, and then I got the news about Katrinka.

See my preceding post and weep with us for our companion that is no longer with in our home.

It’s a checks and balance system ~ joy and grief, good and bad.  I experienced all of those emotions today.


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