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A Genealogist In The Archives

Sunday, October 9, 2016

"31 Days of Tips from The Archive Lady"

DAY #9

Sunday School Records in the Archives

Researching our ancestor's school records should be something that is on our to-do lists. Even if our ancestor didn't go to school, it is possible that there are still records associated with the school system where they can be mentioned. But what about Sunday School Records? 

Many churches have Sunday School as part of their Sunday Services. Sunday School is different in every church but usually consists of the congregation dividing up into classrooms to be taught a lesson fitting for their age group. So, their could have classes for all ages from Kindergarten up to the Senior Citizen Class.

Wells Creek Sunday School Record Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives

A lot of churches kept Sunday School Records which consisted of attendance numbers, offering amounts and the names of who attended the classes. These records could have been kept in any form but most of the time they are in ledgers or pre-made books just for Sunday School statistics.

Wells Creek Sunday School Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives

Many of us had ancestors that were faithful to attend church and Sunday school. Possibly their names were recorded in Sunday school records. These records would be another avenue to add to our ancestor's life story. They could also help us to place our ancestors at a certain time and a certain place if we are trying to find that type of information.

Wells Creek Sunday School Book, ca. 1932, Houston County, TN. Archives

Where can Sunday school records be found? Start with the local church, if they are still active. Contact the church the ancestor attended and ask if they have an archive or have kept their church and Sunday school records. If they don't have the records, they may be able to tell you which repository they were donated. Next, check the local county archive, historical society, genealogical society or wherever the historical records are housed for that area. If no records can be found at the local level, try the state level. State archives for each state houses tons of records including church and Sunday school records.

Research Room at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Historical Library and Archives

Another asset to researching in church and Sunday school records is the denominational archive. Many of the different denominations have their own archive. For instance, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church has an archive in Cordova, TN. which is near Memphis called the Historical Library and Archives ( Also, the Southern Baptist denomination has an archive in Nashville, TN. called the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives ( Both of these archives have tons of records and great archivist there to be of help.

If you haven't yet sought out Sunday school records for your ancestor, why not put that task on your to-do list, you might just be surprised to find there are records available and they list your ancestor!




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