On August 29th, 2019, from 1:45 – 3 pm, representatives working on the CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) Project – Christ Church Archivist Carol Smith, Walter Rice of R & R Computer Solutions, and Nancy Taylor of Presbyterian Historical Society – to Digitize the Records of Philadelphia’s Historic Congregations, presented their work at the American Association for State and Local History 2019 Conference.
The project consists of six congregations and three archival repositories who have made an effort to digitize the records of eleven of Philadelphia’s historic congregations and make their records available digitally. All of these items are available on this site!
This session explored how working collaboratively and sharing resources makes great initiatives possible.
At the Museum of The American Revolution’s History After Hours event, Death and Taxes, on April 16th, 2019, representatives of the “Digitizing Philadelphia’s Historic Congregations project” demonstrated the new website, which brings together newly scanned records from a number of Philadelphia’s historic congregations.
Not surprisingly burial records were among the ones displayed! Visitors could get an overview of the project as well as viewing specific records.
A seminar was held at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia on April 3, 2019 featuring talks by Jim Duffin, Dr. Ann Norton Greene, Jubilee Marshall, and Jean Wolfe on the different uses of historic congregational records and unveiled our new website. Below you can listen to the recordings of each of the presenters.
J.M. Duffin, Senior Archivist, University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania, “Endowments, Tangled Titles and Mapping: Religious Records as Tools for Property Ownership Research in Philadelphia.”
Religious archives can sometimes be seen as only a source of genealogical or demographic data but they often contain much more. I shall give examples of how I’ve used the records in Christ Church’s archives to assist with my research and mapping of eighteenth century property ownership in Philadelphia.
Dr. Ann Norton Greene, University of Pennsylvania, “Mining the Minutes”
Some reflections on the possibilities and limitations of using minutes as historical sources, based on the use of the minutes of the annual convention of the Diocese of Pennsylvania in writing a chapter of This Far by Faith: Tradition and Change in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
Jubilee Marshall, Senior, Villanova University, “Investigating Black Burials Through Church Records”
I will discuss my senior thesis, which focuses on black burial grounds in Philadelphia prior to 1850, and how I was able to use burial registries, vestry minutes, and other types of religious records to uncover how race impacted burial practices (and vice versa) in the time period.
Jean K. Wolf, Principal, Wolf Historic Preservation, Ardmore, PA, “Religious Records: Finding Vital Crumbs that Lead Researchers down New Paths for Data”
As a musicological researcher of 18th-century composers’ lives and music manuscripts in European churches and archives, a move to the Philadelphia area enlightened me to the restoration needs of American cultural resources. After a degree in historic preservation and over 25 years of documentation of the built and landscape environment, I will exemplify that religious baptismal, death, and trustee minutes are critical keys that can open doors to further research.
On May 2, 2018, the Athenaeum hosted an open house for consortium members and their guests. Attendees learned more about the project, the historical records to be digitized, and the scanning equipment.