Monday, June 1, 2015

Keeping the Records

Church Records, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Keeping the Records

There should be someone in every family who is responsible for keeping the records. It won't be a surprise to anyone reading this that I am that person for my family. As an organized and techno-literate person that job always falls to me. The only problem with that is that it ALWAYS falls to me. 

It started with a Bible. No, not my 2nd great grandfather's Bible that I inherited, it started with the Bibles I was given as a child. My father gave me a Bible on Christmas Day, December 25, 1955. Then, the Sunday School I attended gave me a Bible for attendance at Sunday School. That one has a typed presentation date in it. 

In college, I was required to buy a Bible for a Humanities class.  I wasn't spending money on another Bible, so I called my father to deliver it. He did. I had to teach other students how to find the passages for the required readings. 

It was very annoying to me that they didn't know how to find anything in a book. Some had never owned a Bible or even looked at one. Rhode Island is a tolerant state but I was feeling less than tolerant. I took one of the college bought Bibles and typed up the page numbers needed and handed them out to students. I did not wish to be known as the girl who helped with the assignment. It was a horrible class with a very old and cranky professor.

When hubs and I went to join a church, I asked my parents for my baptismal certificate. They looked and couldn't find it. I made my father go to the church we attended and get another copy. It is on the top of the pile in the photo in this post. He was not happy to do so. I suspect it cost him a donation to the church to get it. When he gave it to me, I asked him where HIS was. He said he couldn't find that, either.

Dad, raised as a Baptist, should have remembered his baptism. It is a very big deal to Baptists as they practice adult baptism and profess their belief as an adult at about twelve years old. I reminded him  that he was baptized on the same day as I was.  I think the minister was remiss in not giving out the certificates. That is irresponsible. Never do anything important in December.

These types of records are called church records and differ from vital records as they are not certified as proof to join lineage type organizations. Consequently, I have redone all of my records, our marriage record, and my parents records too. I just kept going to get my great grandparents records too. All of them are certified. I am happy to report all dates and places were verified as to what I was told.

I like keeping records. I don't like anyone to touch my organized, archived, scanned records. I have gone so far as to lock them in a fire resistant box. I know my job.

Here's the thing. If everyone was responsible for their own records and passed them on (with threat of death to lose them), being a genealogist would be an easy thing. Of course, I am a smug, only child and can say that with ease.  

We can go on and on about the great photos, stories and mementos in our family tree but dates are important too.

It is worth noting that my date of baptism is 11 December. Twenty years from that exact day and month, my daughter was born. 

Do you know where your vital records and church records are?

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