Seminar: Exploring Different Uses of Historic Congregational 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.

Download PDF of Dr. Greene’s slides.

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.

Download PDF of Jubilee Marshall’s Slides.

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.

Download PDF of Jean K. Wolf’s Slides.

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