The library has printed, microfilmed, and manuscript records from churches (primarily Unitarian, Universalist, and Congregational). Printed records include the 1902 book The Manifesto Church: Records of the Church in Brattle Square, Boston. Microfilmed records include the 1716-1847 records of the Second Congregational Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Archival collections range from very large (for example, Arlington Street Church), to only a single record book (for example, Universalist Church, Princeton, Ohio).
The way to find these records is to search the HOLLIS Catalog; see Searching HOLLIS Classic for Information on Local Congregations for help.
In addition to searching the HOLLIS Catalog for manuscript records, the listing of Unitarian Universalist Congregational Records (including the various Miscellaneous Collections and the Congregational Resource Files) in the Manuscripts and Archives Department should be consulted to determine what types of records are available for a particular church. For information about these manuscripts and archives collections, see How to Use the Manuscripts and Archives Collections.
There are large archival collections for a number of churches:
- Arlington, Mass.: First Parish (bMS 573), First Universalist (bMS 572)
- Boston, Mass.: Arlington St. Church (bMS 4, bMS 593), Church of the Disciples (bMS 3, bMS 477), First Universalist Society (bMS 302), Second Universalist Society (bMS 582)
- Cambridge, Mass.: First Parish (bMS 13, bMS 300), First Universalist (bMS 459, bMS 559)
- Charlestown, Mass.: First Universalist (bMS 301)
- Lowell, Mass.: First Grace Universalist (bMS 244, bMS 581, bMS 640)
- Pittsfield, Me.: First Universalist (bMS 554)
- Somerville, Mass.: First Church (bMS 169)
- Wakefield, Mass.: First Universalist Society (bMS 544)
- Woburn, Mass.: First Unitarian Parish (bMS 583)
While registers of births, deaths, and marriages are the most helpful to genealogists, there may be lists of members, lists of pew renters, parish records, society records, treasurer's records, Sunday school records, and scrapbooks that may contain information. Printed pamphlets and books called handbooks or manuals frequently have membership lists that may include addresses. Church newsletters and regional newspapers may also be useful. For more information about such sources, contact a research librarian.
Please see the guidelines for Donating UU Congregational Records if you have material to add to our collection.