Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    « An Accumulation of Archives? | Main | Short List: What to watch for in a family archive »

    Finding Baptism Records in Unexpected Places

    Today I opened my old high school scrapbook in search of the address of the church I attended as a teenager. I wanted to learn what happened to Bethany Baptist Church and hoped to find a photo for my article at the new Catholic genealogy blog, CatholicGene. Unlike Catholic churches that tend to stay put for decades, protestant churches are inclined to come and go with their aging congregations.

    Bethany Baptist Church in Whittier, California was a big church for its time when my family attended in the 1960s and 70s. We had two Sunday morning services, Sunday School, evening service, midweek service, and activities everyb  day of the week. It's gone now, the members merging into other local congregations, moving away from the area, going on to their heavenly reward.

    Protestant church properties are often re-purposed. Sometimes they are converted to restaurants, homes, or theaters. Our old church property remains a church community and is now home to Zoe Christian Fellowship where dance and music are a regular part of the worship service.

    I did find the address on Mills Avenue in Whittier, but I found something even more important to me. Securely glued to the construction paper page I discovered my original baptism certificate. I might have missed it, except for my handwritten note, "I am baptised, finally!" Inside a plain envelope was a 30-page religious booklet copyright 1906, 35th printing 1966, What Saith The Scripture? And buried within the pages, was the handwritten record of my baptism and church membership.


    This is probably the only surviving record of these milestone events, and I nearly missed them. Our church was not a part of any large district where records would be maintained, and I have no idea what happened to the church records when Bethany dissolved.

    My mother's baptism certificate is a lovely large-size "real" certificate -- it looks important. My grandmother's is printed on a 5 x 7 card and was overlooked in a box of miscellaneous paper ephemera for years. Sometimes old records hide in the most unlikely places. If you've been missing a religious record, look again. You never know what you might find.



    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    Reader Comments (3)

    What a find! Next time I see you I am rubbing you for luck. You always seem to have it when it comes to family history and records!

    September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheri Fenley

    Thanks, Denise, this has inspired me to try to find my own baptism record. I have to have to someplace fairly handy, because I needed it for my confirmation ten years ago...

    September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Howes

    Sheri, I wish you'd come toss the basement with me. Who knows what we'd find with a real live Dreamin Jeannie!

    Karen, I was shocked to find this record and now I wonder how I was ever confirmed without it?

    September 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterFamily Curator

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
    Find us on Google+