Resources for Parish Archives
To find, collect, identify, organize, preserve and use parish archival resources
Archives (records) – original written, printed, photographed, and digital documents
Archives (place) – the space (file cabinet; shelves; closet; room) dedicated to housing the records
Archivist/Historian – volunteer or staff who organizes, uses and shares information from the archives
Archival supplies – acid-free folders, cartons & boxes; protective photo sleeves; shelving; other supplies
Gathering Documents & Information
1. Locate church records (look all around church and in homes); store in a secure space; organize
- Vestry minutes
- Committee minute
- Church bulletins
- Church newsletters
- Diocesan newspapers
- Scrapbooks & Photographs
2. Develop chronology for local church history
- Activities/events unique to parish (not routine)
- Names of people involved in groups & programs
3. Identify general trends and time periods
- Building programs
- Growth/decline in membership
- Women’s work
- Changes/developments in ministry focus
- Establishment of parish mission(s)
4. Involve parishioners
- Identify church leaders & long-time members to share memories; develop questions for each
- Let parishioners know a parish history project is beginning and ask for materials they may have
5. Consult Diocesan records and resources
- Read your parish entries in the diocesan journals
- Read old copies of diocesan newspapers: Church Intelligencer, The Churchman, The Carolina Churchman, The North Carolina Churchman, The Communicant, The Disciple
6. Begin to develop explanations of why things happened
- Use results of your research to mark trends
- Consult local, county, state and diocesan history to find outside influences on local church
For more information contact Lynn Hoke, archivist.
OVERVIEW OF A PARISH ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
● Describe project focus, scope & goals (Why are we doing this? End product?)
● Research parish history; chronology as “factual” structure & memory prompt
● List discussion topics and/or specific questions
● Choose parishioner narrators
● Publicize project
● Keep all correspondence, including e-mail
● Document biographical information
● Collect photo(s) of narrator, family/church members; events
● Provide audiotape recorder, tapes, microphone, if needed
● Use video recorder (optional; tape to be time-logged, not transcribed)
Contract/Agreement (signed after interview(s) or after final transcript)
● Secure signatures to assign rights for use and copyright to sponsor
● Make duplicate copies, one for narrator, one for sponsor
Interviews (conducted by coordinator and team)
Transcripts (labor intensive; 10 to 20+ hours per hour of audio-taped interview)
● Engage paid transcriber or volunteer; decide on verbatim or “edited” transcript
● Do interviewer’s edit & narrator’s edit (focus on missing info, not speech)
● Prepare final edit in both electronic and paper versions
● Provide transcripts to Parish, Diocese, Academic Institution(s), Local Library
● Give each narrator a bound copy of his/her transcript, with note of thanks
NOTE: If you would like a copy of “Oral History Guidelines: Everything you need to know about conducting effective interviews,” published by The Southern Episcopal Women’s History Project, please contact Lynn Hoke, project archivist.
HISTORY & ARCHIVES COMMITTEE WORKSHOP HANDOUTS
“Knowing & Telling Our Congregational Stories” — Resources from History & Archives Workshop, St. Matthew’s, Hillsborough, October 2013
DIOCESAN & ECW BICENTENNIAL HISTORY PROJECTS
“Anglican Church Building in Colonial North Carolina, 1701-1776: A Study in Frustration,” by the Rev. N. Brooks Graebner, Ph.D., Historiographer of the Diocese of North Carolina
“Harsh Ground, Holy Ground” [video highlighting events from 1584 to 1777 that shape the founding of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina in 1817]
“Colonial Worship in North Carolina: A Tour of St. John’s Williamsboro”
“The Story Goes On: Walking Toward 2017” — Weekly quotations highlighting churchwomen in North Carolina
“By Word & Example: Women Who Graced the Episcopal Church in North Carolina, 1817-2017” — Grassroots collection of biographical sketches of churchwomen from across the state
DIOCESAN CONVENTION JOURNALS ONLINE
Until around 1920, the Diocesan Convention Journals printed annual Parochial Reports with information about most churches. Also listed are the names of clergy and delegates from every church. You can word search many old journals.
DIOCESAN JOURNALS, NEWSPAPERS & PARISH FILES; WOMAN’S AUXILIARY & ECW FILES
PARISH RECORDS, PARISH MEMBERS, FAMILY MEMBERS & LOCAL RESIDENTS
- Registers: Communicant Lists; Baptisms; Marriages; Burials
- Vestry Minutes; Woman’s Auxiliary Minutes; Parish Archives
- Newsletters & Sunday Bulletins
- Scrapbooks & Photograph Collections (important to identify people, places & events)
- Family members and descendents (are they still in the church? local location known?)
- Parish members (who has direct knowledge or knows stories about people & events?)
- People involved with local history or knowledgeable about church families
PUBLIC LIBRARIES & ARCHIVES
- Public libraries with local history collections, such as Wake County’s Olivia Raney Local History Library
- Carolina Rooms at the Public Libraries in Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington (NOTE: Many families had relatives in other parts of NC. Look for family connections and work backwards.)
- Local history museums & historical societies – contact by e-mail, phone or in person
- State Archives in Raleigh
- Local Newspapers on microfilm
COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES
College and university archives are often depositories for family & church papers.
- Southern Historical Collection at UNC – Wilson Library: Click on Finding Aids, use alphabetized list of names to search for family papers.
- North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
- Maps of North Carolina
- “Special Collections” at Duke, UNC Wilmington, UNC Charlotte, ECU Greenville, and other local institutions. Some information will be available from online Finding Aids.
- Joyner Library Digital Collections at East Carolina University
- The online digitized books of early North Carolina history include county histories, church histories, and reminiscences by early North Carolina historians. Often rare book editions are not available to read in person.
CENSUS, CEMETERY & DEED RECORDS
- Census: Online access to census records using your local library number; or visit your local library for assistance. Google key words such as "Hillsborough NC census 1920."
- Cemetery: Search alphabetically by county, by cemetery or by name of the deceased.
- Deeds: County Deed Office. Personal information often appears in early deeds.
GOOGLE SEARCHES FOR CHURCHWOMEN
Enter the person’s/family’s name & church name & town & state.
EXAMPLES: Nash family Hillsboro North Carolina (Hillsborough for different period)
Nash family St. Matthew’s Church
Try adding name of parent – husband – brother, if known
Enter topics of interest, starting generally then becoming more specific
EXAMPLES: Woman’s Auxiliary, Episcopal Church in NC
Episcopal Churchwomen (Church Women), Episcopal Diocese of NC
GOOGLE ADVANCED BOOK SEARCH
To search this site use these keywords: Google Advanced Book Search In search box enter a name, county, town & state OR enter a church name, town & state. Scroll to “Publication Dates” to select a time frame by entering a start and end date. This will give you the digitized books containing your keywords and published between those dates.
NOTE: These books are often different from those found on a regular Google search.
- Electronic Edition of John Hill Wheeler’s Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians
- NCGenWeb Project: Part of the national USGenWeb Project and is home to a network of volunteers working to provide genealogical & historical content for each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
- Wikipedia: Put name in the search box on this free, web-based, collaborative encyclopedia project.
- The Internet Archive: A 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.