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Revelations with Church Records

Revelations with Church Records

August 5, 2020

My great-grandfather has a rather common name, so it hasn’t been a piece of cake tracing his lineage to older generations. His daughter, my Great-Aunt Eva, wrote down some information that contained some very helpful clues about family names. Though she mentioned that her dad was the third in three generations of males named John from Pennsylvania, she did not pinpoint the county he came from. That has been a big challenge to overcome.

I tried searching the Saints’ Herald, a periodical for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS)/Community of Christ Church. I looked to see if my great-grandfather was listed in the indexes of births, baby blessings, marriages, anniversaries, deaths, and obituaries, and to my amazement, he was! In his obituary, it stated that he was born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, and as a bonus, the obituary mentioned his Civil War service. The obituary confirmed an 1850 census that I had found in that county that included the names Aunt Eva had mentioned.

The indexes from the Saints’ Herald (1860-1968) and Zion’s Ensign (1891-1932) have now been added to the Midwest Genealogy Center’s Quick Look index tool. If someone was a well-known minister, you might find several mentions. For some of the marriage listings, there may be a newspaper-like account of the wedding, occasionally even with a photo of the bridal couple. Even babies or young children who died between census years may be noted. There could be a mention of the cause of death. At the very least, you will find dates and places that could possibly unlock a missing piece of your puzzle, like I found for my Great-Grandfather John. Hint: if your surname is uncommon, search for only the surname because there may be other family members listed as well. If you find someone in a Quick Look listing, you can request the record online, and a copy of the article can be mailed or emailed to you. 

In addition, MGC has Saints’ Herald index books for births/baby blessings, marriages/anniversaries, and deaths/obituaries, and Zion’s Ensign index listings that you can use as you research in MGC. This enables you to see the entire list for your surname at a glance. Issues for the Saints’ Herald and Zion’s Ensign are available online at FamilySearch.org while you are visiting an Affiliate Library (such as MGC) or a Family History Center, as well as in MGC’s FamilySearch microfilm holdings. And we have a considerable collection of the Saints’ Herald issues bound in books upstairs with our book collection.

We are always glad to hear the happy results of your research successes, so please report back!

Twila R.
Midwest Genealogy Center

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