Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2000-03 > 0954454599
From: "Judith Brown" <>
Subject: Re: Presb. clergy record keeping
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 17:16:39 -0500
I must agree with Linda on the Presbyterian record keeping. My former
church in Philadelphia has lost my family records - my two daughters
baptismal, my membership and those of my parents. My parents were charter
members of the church. The Clerk of Sessions says the records went to the
Historical Society and they say they don't have them.
My next trip to Philly I hope to have time to visit the church and
historical society and maybe the Presbytery offices. Of course, no one
cares but me.
A branch of my family were original settlers in Cumberland/Franklin
Counties, PA. They were part of establishing the Middle Spring Presbyterian
Church. I found them buried in two of the four graveyards which are part of
the church. Yet there is not a list of everyone buried in the four
I have just found out that even record keeping in my own family leaves much
to be desired. On my grandmother's death certificate my grandfather said
she was born in Ireland yet there is no record of her birth in the PRONI or
Dublin. Nor is there a record of their marriage which would have been
around 1903. Since my grandfather was a carpenter in the ship building
industry and he traveled back and forth between Belfast, Glasgow, and
Liverpool I need to check the records in Scotland in hopes of finding my
grandmother and their marriage.
----- Original Message -----
From: Linda Merle <>
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2000 1:46 AM
Subject: Re: Presb. clergy record keeping
> Knut, I'm listening, er, reading, a lecture on another list given by the
> professional who runs it. He knows a lot but he gets even more preachy
> than me and some of our clerical members, who are all less preachy than
> However he's telling us to not ever, ever beleive any record. ANY and
> ALL of them have mistakes. I'm a little hesitant to bring up the topic of
> Presbyterian clergy since if he deams it off topic he'll toss me off the
> but I think he would include them among the "clay footed".
> For myself, records keeping skills don't seem to have been required
> for these guys. The English clergy in England were better because
> the government required that they keep records, so they did. They even
> have these nice little forms that are not bad to scan quickly on film.
> Even so they made mistakes. But the Presbyterians never seem to have
> used those forms or any form, especially in the 1700's. My father
> a lot about records keeping at the church where he is an elder. They
> even too concerned about who is potted in their cemetery and whether or
> not they have records let alone accurate records. Deposit in Philly??
> Heck, the records are in the attic, he says. On the other hand the
> not only kept track of funerals (paying customers) but everyone they
> dug a hole for. Now the Anglicans keep records, but no one's accused
> the Presbyterians of being good record keepers. Puritans, yes.
> The Baptists have merited more praise and on this very list.
> I've been through it too with the Rev, who according to a cousin,
> ordained our ancestor John Anderson (the one who moved from Antrim
> to Western PA, married to Elizabeth Wilson -- probably not your John),
> a ruling elder at Middle Octoraro before he moved to Western PA. I've
> reviewed many of his records, published and otherwise, and I can't find
> it. I mentioned this to the librarian of the Reformed Presbyterian
> last summer and he said first that they got the originals and that they
> VERY hard to read or interpret. He wasn't even surprised. All kinds of
> is mistranscribed or impossible to really comprehend that the Rev left.
> Tried tax lists? Probate records? Orphan courts? Me too....still no
> Hitting the published PA archive records soon. After that it'll be a trip
> Harrisburg. And waiting for a fellow in Western PA to publish his book
> on early Covenantors in Western PA. He went through records in the RP
> seminary library (they didn't deposit in Philly either) -- including
> minutes from
> early Covenantor Societies from the late 1700's.
> Linda Merle