United Brethren in Christ in the United States

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United States Genealogy Gotoarrow.png Church Records Gotoarrow.png United Brethren in Christ Church Records

History in the United States[edit | edit source]

Five Mile Chapel
Anderson Township, Hamilton County, Ohio

The Church of the United Brethren in Christ is an evangelical Christian denomination with churches in 17 countries. It is Protestant, with roots in the Mennonite and German Reformed communities of 18th-century Pennsylvania, as well as close ties to Methodism. It was organized in 1800 and is the first American denomination that was not transplanted from Europe.

In 1889, a controversy over membership in secret societies such as the Freemasons, the proper way to modify the church's constitution, and other issues split the United Brethren into majority liberal and minority conservative blocs. Both groups continued to use the name Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

The majority faction, known as the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (New Constitution), merged with the Evangelical Church in 1946 to form a new denomination known as the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB). This in turn merged in 1968 with The Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church (UMC).

The Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Old Constitution, continues today as the denomination of about 550 congregations, with 47,300 members in fifteen countries. The US National Conference consists of about 200 churches and 25,000 members in the United States, plus mission districts in Haiti and India. The United States national office is located in Huntington, Indiana, as is the denomination's only college, Huntington University. Source: Wikipedia

Finding 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 United Brethren in Christ church records listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:
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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.
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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.

For United Brethren Old Constitution congregations:[edit | edit source]

  • United Brethren in Christ Historical Center
RichLyn Library
Huntington University
2303 College Avenue
Huntington, IN 46750
Phone: 260.359.4062
Keeps records for original, undivided church and the current (Old Constitution) church. Collection seems to be based on newspaper clippings of birth, marriage, and death events.


For United Brethren New Constitution congregations:[edit | edit source]

  • Historical Society of the United Methodist Church
PO Box 127
Madison, NJ 07940
Promotes interest in the study, preservation, and dissemination of the history and heritage of The United Methodist Church and its antecedents.
This collection of folders is available for researchers at the United Methodist Archives Center at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey,USA. The Wilson Reading Room is open from 9AM–5 PM Monday through Friday with the exception of some holidays. For questions about access and/or availability please contact Christopher Anderson, Methodist Librarian &Coordinator of Special Collections, atcjanders@drew.edu or 973.408.3910.

Information in the Records[edit | edit source]

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name

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.