Baptist Collection FAQs

Using the Baptist Collection for Research

Do you have any information about Church X? What do you have?

You can check several places on our web site to see if we have information about the church in question.  Search on the Special Collections and Archives page under “Begin Your Research.” You can also check the ZSR catalog to see if there is a published church history. To check if there is a church clippings file, please contact us with the church name.

I’m looking for birth/baptism/marriage/death records for Person X? Do you have those?

Our church records, for the most part, DO NOT contain birth/baptism/marriage or death records. For NC birth, marriage or death certificates and records check with the NC Department of Vital Records. Another resource for family history of the North Carolina Family Records Online. For baptism records, it is best to check with the church where the person was a member. Usually the pastor would keep the baptism records, or the church will have them on file.

Can I borrow a reel of microfilmed church records through Interlibrary Loan?

Because these records are unique and entrusted to the NC Baptist Historical Collection, we cannot lend them through Interlibrary Loan or any other process. Many times we have the only copy in existence so in order to make sure they are not lost, we keep all film in-house.

I can’t come to your collection. Will you look through church records for me?

Unfortunately, our staff is not large enough to provide research services. You are welcome to contact a professional researcher who can come check the materials for you.  Some local researchers include Jeff Fansler, Vicki Johnson, Reba Jones, and Marcia Phillips. The North Carolina Chapter of the Association for Professional Genealogists provide more information on their website.

Why don’t you have any information about Church X?

While we have information on thousands of Baptist churches across North Carolina, it is not required that churches send us anything or keep a copy of their records in our collection. What we have has been given on a voluntary basis, and we continue to receive materials. If we do not have records for a particular church, they simply have not been donated to us.

I can’t find the digitized church records on your web page. Where are they?

Our church records, both microfilm and clippings files, are not available online. The Religion in North Carolina website has made many of our association minutes and monographs available online as part of a joint grant with Duke University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We are also working on digitizing a large collection of biographical files that includes many ministers, which we hope will be ready for use online before long.

I want to see issues of the Biblical Recorder. Are they online or do I have to come there to use them?

All of our issues of the Biblical Recorder from 1834-1970 have been digitized and are viewable online. If you need to see issues from after 1970, you can make an appointment to come here and use them.

Current issues of the Biblical Recorder are available online.

My great-great-uncle’s name was XYZ. He was from North Carolina and I think he was a Baptist. Can you find some information about him in the church records?

In order to find information in our collection, you will need to at least know the name of a church you would like to research. If you have a church name, you can check our church record holdings for availability. If we do have microfilm related to that church, you can make an appointment to come see it. Please be aware, though, that the church records do not usually have member names included in them. A few will have membership lists, but that is not the case for the majority. Most church records are church meeting minutes, budget information and church covenants. To check if there is a church clippings file, please contact us with the church name.

We are working on a church history and need pictures of our previous pastors. Do you have any pictures of them?

We do have pictures of many NC Baptist pastors here. We are working on digitizing biographical files that often include images of pastors, and soon you can search those online to see what we have. Until those are complete, to check if there is a biographical clippings file, please contact us with the person’s name. We will check our files and see what is here. If we do find images that you’d like scanned, we will confirm the processing fee for you and you can send a check to the following address:

WFU Special Collections and Archives, ZSR Library
PO Box 7777
Winston-Salem, NC  27109

Once we receive your check, we will scan the images and send you an email when they are ready.

Obtaining Copies of Materials

I want to buy a copy of the reel of film for Church X. Can you make a copy for me?

Where the original microfilm was made determines the place that can make a copy for you.  If the film was made at the Southern Baptist Library and Historical Archives in Nashville, they can make a duplicate copy for you to purchase. If it was made at the State Archives of North Carolina, the copy can be made there. If the film was made at Wake Forest University, we can arrange to have a copy made with an outside vendor as we no longer have the capabilities to create or duplicate film onsite. The catalog record or listing should indicate where the original film was made so that you can contact the appropriate location. If you are not sure, please contact us to verify.

Donating Materials to the Baptist Collection

What kinds of materials do you accept for the Baptist Collection? Can I send some of our records to you?

We accept materials that are connected to the Baptist experience in North Carolina. Due to space constraints, we can only accept original, hard copy church records that are from before 1870. We are happy to accept microfilmed records from any time period. For more details, you can read about the N.C. Baptist Collection here and see what kinds of things are included in it.

We want to have our church’s records microfilmed and have a copy kept in the Baptist collection. Do you do the microfilming?

We do not have the equipment to do microfilming here in Z. Smith Reynolds Library. We recommend that you contact the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, TN, to see about having your records microfilmed. They handle requests from all over the US, and we have a standing order with them to send us a copy of any film made for NC Baptist churches. Once you contact them they can give you details about pricing and time frames. If you decide to have someone else make the film for you, you can send a copy to us for the NC Baptist Collection.

Will you take our original records for the Baptist Collection along with the film?

We accept materials that are connected to the Baptist experience, mainly in North Carolina. Due to space constraints, we can only accept original, hard copy church records that are from before 1870.

What kinds of materials should we be saving to have microfilmed?

The Southern Baptist Library and Historical Archives has excellent articles that outline how to start and maintain a church archives, as well as the kinds of materials you should save.


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