Saturday, November 22, 2014

Society Saturday - Church Records

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

                           Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears on "Interpreting Church Records"

I would like to recommend this presentation from our November 2014 Meeting. This was an excellent presentation. It was not the standard presentation on church records. It was the why of the records.......  why was that record developed & who developed it? We learned about the many religions, the splits and why......... what religion required/requires what documents? It was very eye opening. 

Church records are an invaluable resource. They generally predate civil records. Locating and interpreting church records is complex. Gears gave an example of his own church - 

The United Methodist Church - formed in 1968 with the merger of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB). The EUB was a merger in 1946 of the United Brethren in Christ Church (organized in 1800) and the Evangelical Church (organized in 1861). The Methodist Church was a merger in 1938 of the The Methodist Episcopal Church (organized in 1784). The Methodist Episcopal Church, South (broke away from the M.E. Church in 1844), and the Methodist Protestant Church (broke away from the M. E. Church in 1828) .........  and so it continues.  It becomes complex. I am lost in the example given above. - where are those records kept? Who created the document? Ethnic groups maintained congregational records in their native/traditional languages. Each religious group may maintain records, individually, with local organizations, and/or with regional organizations. 

                        Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears on "Interpreting Church Records" 

            Introducing Carolee Jones, Program Chair - Judson Gears - Rick Hanson, Vice President

                                                            Getting Started for the evening

Judson Gears is currently the President of the Board for the Nevada County Genealogical Society. He lives in Penn Valley, California

The Rev. Dr. Judson O. Gears lived in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Texas for over thirty-five years before being appointed to churches in California. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Theology, and Doctor of Ministry Degrees. While now retired, he is an  ordained United Methodist Pastor who served a variety of churches in Maryland, Texas, Pennsylvania, and California over a fifty year period

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