It is not often that Ancestry adds information that is useful to me. I have moved beyond census records for the most part, and the smaller databases they have been adding have not been in areas I research.
Well, not to be a shill for Ancestry, but they have added a boatload of Pennsylvania BMD & other data recently. Partnering with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, they have created the Pennsylvania Church and Town records database with more than 7 million records, including church (birth, baptism, marriage, death & more), cemetery and undertaker records. In a quick search, I found marriage information for distant ancestors and baptisms for my grandfather and great-grandfather. One marriage confirmed a maiden name that I had assumed, but for which I never had any proof. My great-grandfather’s baptism was in German, which I thought was cool. I will be posting more on these finds and others.
It’s always fun trying to find a particular database on Ancestry. Here’s how to find this one:
- In either the regular ancestry.com or the Ancestry Library edition (check with your local library), select Card Catalog under the Search drop-down menu
- In the Title field, type in Pennsylvania Church and Town Records and click Search
- Select it and you are on your way
Some things I discovered in my brief usage so far:
- There are some records from New Jersey. I found some Burlington county records. [Update: And Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland counties. I hear there are some Maryland records as well.]
- If you are looking for a particular county, enter it under location for Any Event. That way you’ll get births, marriages, deaths and the ‘others’, which include things like church memberships and bible/Sunday school class rosters.