Citing Church Registers


26 April 2014

Church registers deal with many different types of events. In churches that record the administration of sacraments, registers may be specifically set aside for one type of sacrament—say, baptisms—or confirmations, or marriages, or burials. In some eras and places, sacramental registers will include multiple types of events, randomly interspersed, or each type may be relegated to a special section within a single register. In Protestant churches, they are likely to be minutes of church activities, the reception of new members, or membership lists. If the label of the register covers multiple types of material, then our citation to a specific event should identify the type of event (“baptism of John Jones, 1 March 1850”).  If a register deals with, say, only baptisms and the register carries the word "Baptisms" in its title, we do not need to repeat that when we identify the specific entry.

One caution for researchers and writers who love to abbreviate: Because the abbreviation "b." could represent birth, baptism, or burial, we should not use that abbreviation in identifying our event within a citation.

EE's Chapter 7, "Church Records" has many tips for handling quirks and anomalies, some of which appear in the "Sample Text Pages" tab here at