The major Christian denomination churches in the U.S. kept records that are often overlooked by genealogical researchers. Perhaps because these records are not always easily obtainable, or because a specific church may not be known, genealogists often neglect to pursue their availability.

A new book, "How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist’s Guide," “takes readers step-by-step through the process of identifying, locating, and gaining access” to these valuable resources. Many records can be found on the Internet and this work includes hundreds of links to church records and other relevant resources.

Chapters also are devoted to specific resources for the major Christian denominations before 1900: Anglican/Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Dutch Reformed, German Churches, Latter-Day Saints, Lutheran, Mennonite and Amish, Methodist, Quaker, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic. More than 30 experts have contributed to these chapters.

Sunny Jane Morton and Harold A. Henderson’s book, "How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records," is a 154-page, 8½-inch by 11-inch softcover, illustrated, indexed book, ISBN 978-0-8063-2095-3, that can be ordered as item number 3911 from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953 @ $29.95 plus shipping ($5.50 first book; each additional book, $2.50). VISA and MasterCard orders may be placed toll-free at 1-800-296-6687 or online at the publisher’s website,

Ancestry research tips

Ancestry is a subscriptions-based source of genealogical data but many libraries have a subscription, thus enabling their patrons to have access.

Whether using a personal Ancestry membership or that of a library, researchers may sometimes find it difficult to get the results that were expected. Kentuckygen has posted a helpful article, “Ways to Maximize Search on Now,” at

One of the tips in this article is using a keyword search. This tip, along with others, is explained and illustrated in detail — and will probably result in a more successful search.

Egyptian gravestone symbols

BillionGraves (the world’s largest GPS Cemetery Database) has posted an interesting article about Egyptian gravestone symbols and their use in cemeteries around the world at

The obelisk is the most common Egyptian symbol in modern cemeteries and is even at Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. Other symbols include cobra, palm leaf, ankh (“key of life”), feather, lotus (flower), eye of Horus (“all-seeing eye”) and pyramid. These and others have also been used by Freemasonry and on the U.S. dollar bill. “Egyptian symbolism is all over …once you know what to look for.”

Is such symbolism in your family’s cemetery? Knowing the reasons for their use helps explain their prevalence.

Special cemeteries

BillionGraves has also posted a colorful article, “Ten cemeteries to See Before You Die” at The list includes several cemeteries in this country: Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery and others in Savannah, Boston, Flint and in international waters near Key Biscayne, FL.

The non-USA noteworthy cemeteries are in New South Wales, Romania, Genoa, Jerusalem and Paris.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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