Using the Baptist Collection for Research
External Researcher Using the NC Baptist Historical Collection
Do you have any information about Church X? What do you have?
The NC Baptist Historical Collection page is a great place to get started on your church research. You can search by church name to see if we have original records from that church. There are also a variety of digital collections highlighted on this page that may have information on a church.
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.
Can you make a copy of church microfilm for me?
If you are unable to view these records in person, there is an option for a third party vendor to digitize them for you. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to do this in house. For this process, Wake Forest sends the microfilm to a vendor for digitization. Please email email firstname.lastname@example.org for details if you’d like to explore this option.
You may be able to purchase a copy of microfilm from the same place we purchased our copy. 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.
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 Vicki Johnson, 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?
A small group of church records in our holdings have been digitized and are available online here. The majority of the church records that we have in our holdings are exclusively on microfilm and have not been digitized. You can search by church name in our finding aids, but will have to request an appointment to view the materials in person. We have digitized the North Carolina Baptist Church and Association Files, which contain clippings and other church information. 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. Another helpful resource may be the University and N.C. Baptist Biographical Files Collection.
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?
The NC Baptist Historical Collection page is a great place to get started on your family research. There are also a variety of digital collections highlighted on this page that may have information on a person. For best results, it is best to know the church that the family member was a part of. Church records may contain membership lists, but that is not always the case. Most church records are church meeting minutes, budget information and church covenants.
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 in the University and N.C. Baptist Biographical Files Collection. However, not all pastors have portraits in these holdings.
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.