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Illinois Methodist Church Records

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Churches have been a staple of America ever since it’s discovery. Many of these churches have established records over their existence relating to membership and vital records, such as baptisms, marriages and funerals. In the state of Illinois, Methodism has played a large part of local existence since the early 1800’s. Unfortunately, as rural communities become smaller, and as the makeup and religious background of communities change, local churches sometimes close their doors. The following collection of material reflects 250 churches of the Methodist faith which have closed their doors since 1824 in southern and central Illinois. This region makes up the Illinois Great Rivers United Methodist Conference.

Unable to Save Image

You will be unable to save the image of baptisms after 1914 and marriage records after 1970. You are able to view them, and save a web link to the image.

While the vast majority of the information relates to membership rolls and registers of officials, many of the churches also kept vital records of their members. Ancestry claims that “Baptism records are available until 1914, and Marriage records are available until 1970.” In fact I found baptism records which occurred after 1914, however, they’re not indexed. They appear in the records on the images only. You’ll need to know the church your ancestor attended to browse through the records, and/or the town. See the attached image as an example of a more modern list of baptisms. You’ll find that you are unable to save the images to a person in your tree in the usual fashion because these images are not indexed. Instead, you can save it as a Web Link to someone in your tree.

These records are in tabulated books, which look much like are more modern spreadsheets. There were columns for which the secretary could record events. I found the baptisms and deaths were recorded in alphabetical order of the first letter of their last name, and then in date order. So a page or two would be reserved for each letter of the alphabet. The marriage records were recorded in alphabetical order of the first letter of the last name of the groom, and then in date order.

Record of Baptisms

A Record of Baptisms which shows baptisms recorded later then 1914.

Each baptism record may contains the name of the subject, name of the subjects parents, whether the subject was an adult or infant when baptized, date of birth, place of birth, date of baptism, officiating minister, and “when and how disposed of” which normally would be filled out that they were received into membership, “received in full”. These were indexed and available through their search up to the year 1914.

Each marriage record may contain the name of the parties being married, each of their residence (town and state), the date of the marriage, the location of the marriage, and the officiating minister. These were indexed and available through their search up to the year 1970.

Each death record contains the name of the deceased, date of death, date and place of funeral, and the minister of the funeral. These are all indexed and searchable.

Eaach membership record provides the names and dates of admission, and how the member was received into the church. These are all indexed and searchable.

These records are housed at the Pfeiffer Library, MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois. You may be able to access them for free by visiting the library. However, the only online version I have found is that located at Ancestry, which requires one of their memberships. You can sign up using a 14 day free trial if you wish to try out their service.

Illinois, Methodist Church Vital Records, 1824-2009

 Illinois, Methodist Church Vital Records, 1824-2009