I posted back in November 2007 about church record preservation and how IMPORTANT is was to have old church records microfilmed before an unfortunate incident occurred.
This past week in the county of my birth (Chilton County, Alabama) we had a small church that dated back to the 1860’s devastated by fire. ALL church records were lost, including photographs of all of the former pastor’s of the church. In our Chilton County Genealogy Yahoo Group, we want to try to locate replacement photos of the ministers. But the church records are gone forever – they had not be microfilmed or copied.
In light of the recent fire, I thought the time opportune to give information on how to go about preserving local church records. Many of the links I give below refer to Baptist/Southern Baptist records, but the general guidance is applicable to all denominations.
The Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives gives very detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to do this here.
A list of Church Records on microfilm at the the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives is here.
Samford University is the repository for the Alabama Baptist Historical Association. See the website for listings of some of the holdings.
Samford will microfilm Alabama Church Records free of charge… if the church wants a copy of the cost there is a charge for that… but no charge just to microfilm them and preserve them. Click here to find out more on this program.
Recently a friend was able to track down the early church records for a church two of my great- grandparents were founding members. In the next few weeks I will make the trip to Samford to drop them off to be microfilmed and preserved for posterity.
Many of our early churches have never had their records preserved. If you know of a church in your community who is in this situation – volunteer to assist in preserving the records. If they are in Alabama, the cost to have microfilmed at Samford is $0 – who can beat that price?