Unitarian Church in the United States

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History in the United States[edit | edit source]

Rochester First Universalist Church
Rochester, NewYork

Unitarian church is a religious group which follows Unitarianism, Unitarian Universalism, Free Christianity, or another movement with "Unitarian" in its name. Unitarian church may refer specifically to:

  • Unitarian Universalist Association, in the U.S.
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a liberal religious association of Unitarian Universalist congregations. It was formed in 1961 by the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. Both of these predecessor organizations began as Christian denominations of the Unitarian and Universalist varieties respectively. However, modern Unitarian Universalists see themselves as a separate religion with its own beliefs and affinities. In the United States, Unitarian Universalism grew by 15.8% between 2000 and 2010 to include 211,000 adherents nationwide. Source: Unitarian Universalist Association
  • American Unitarian Association, 1825–1961
The American Unitarian Association (AUA) was a religious denomination in the United States and Canada, formed by associated Unitarian congregations in 1825. In 1961, it consolidated with the Universalist Church of America to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. The AUA was formed in 1825 in the aftermath of a split within New England's Congregational churches between those congregations that embraced Unitarian doctrines and those that maintained Calvinist theology. Source: American Unitarian Association

Finding the Records[edit | edit source]

Look for digital copies of church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog.[edit | edit source]

Family History Library
Salt Lake City, Utah
  • There are some entries of Unitarian church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:
  • Online church records can be listed in the FamilySearch Catalog state-wide, county-wide, or for a town.
  • If you find a record that has not yet been digitized, see How do I request that a microfilm be digitized?
  • Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations.


  • To find records statewide records:
a. Enter your state name in the "Place" search field of FamilySearch Catalog. You will see a list of topics and, at the top, the phrase "Places within United States, [STATE]".
b. Click on "Church records" in the topic list. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
  • To find county-wide records:
c. From the original page, click on Places within United States, [STATE] and a list of counties will appear.
d. Click on your county.
e. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
  • To find town records:
f. From the list of counties, click on Places within United States, [STATE], [COUNTY] and a list of towns will appear.
g. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
h. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
i. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Correspond with or visit the actual churches.[edit | edit source]

Some records are still held in the local churches. Contact the current minister to find out what records are still available.

  • Make an appointment to look at the records. Or ask the minister of the church to make a copy of the record for you.
  • To find church staff available, you might have to visit on Sunday.
  • Ask for small searches at a time, such as one birth record or a specific marriage. Never ask for "everything on a family or surname".
  • A donation ($25-$40) for their time and effort to help you would be appropriate.
  • If the church has a website, you may be able to e-mail a message.
  • See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Addresses:

Check the church records collections in archives and libraries.[edit | edit source]

Some church records have been deposited for preservation in government archives or in libraries. Watch for links to digitized, online records offered by the archives. Some archives provide research services for a fee. For others, if you cannot visit in person, you might hire a researcher.

Andover-Harvard Theological Library
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Andover-Harvard Theological Library
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
E-mail: circulation@hds.harvard.edu
Phone: 617.495.5788

Andover-Harvard Theological Library serves as a national repository and library of record for the Unitarian Universalist tradition. Its collections includes books, hymnals, periodicals, curricula, pamphlets, sermons, personal papers, audio-recordings, movies, church records, photographs, postcards, digital, and many other types of materials.

Carefully compare any record you find to known facts about the ancestor[edit | edit source]

You will possibly find many different people with the same name as your ancestor, especially when a family stayed in a locality for several generations, and several children were named after the grandparents or aunts and uncles. Be prepared to find the correct church records by gathering in advance as many of these exact details about the ancestor as possible:

  • name, including middle name and maiden name
  • names of all spouses, including middle and maiden name
  • exact or closely estimated dates of birth, marriage, and death
  • names and approximate birthdates of children
  • all known places of residence
  • occupations
  • military service details


Dark thin font green pin Version 4.pngCarefully evaluate the church records you find to make sure you have really found records for your ancestor and not just a "near match". If one or more of the details do not line up, be careful about accepting the entry as your ancestor. There are guiding principles for deciding how to resolve discrepancies between records that are seemingly close. For more instruction in evaluating evidence, read the Wiki article, Evaluate the Evidence.