Western Michigan Genealogical Society

Western Michigan Genealogical Society
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Index to Church Records
at the Grand Rapids Public Library

This index is for indexes and records of churches in the Western Michigan area, particularly the counties of Kent and Ottawa. Other counties include Muskegon, Allegan, Ionia, Newaygo, Oceana and etc.

War of 1812 Contributor

This index is for indexes and records of churches in the Western Michigan area, particularly the counties of Kent and Ottawa. Other counties include Muskegon, Allegan, Ionia, Newaygo, Oceana and etc.

Most of the records are on fiche and are located in the Grand Rapids History and Special Collections Department on the 4th floor of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

There are a few for which there are only paper copies. The paper copies of church records are located on the shelves according to the catalogue number.

Copies of records are $5 each.

INTRODUCTION TO CHURCH RECORDS

In 1974, the Western Michigan Genealogical Society began the project of collecting and recording the church records in Kent County of those churches which were in existence before 1876. The records included baptisms, marriages, deaths and memberships where possible up to the year 1876. This was to be a Bi-Centennial (1976) project. As the committee worked, they realized the enormity of the project and, after several years, the project was set aside.

In 1987. the project was taken up again and much work has been done due to the use of film, microfiche, and computers.

Many of the churches records were filmed directly from the books and are available to look at on microfiche at the Grand Rapids Public library. Most of these records are "NOT- included in this index. (See Index to Church Records on Microfiche, Collection #96.)

In other cases, the churches would not let the books be taken out to be filmed but gave us a paper copy of their early records. These records are also on microfiche. This latter group makes up almost totally the following index. This index includes 99,005 names. This is only a portion of the actual records we have on microfiche. Thanks are due to Kathleen Tabb and Evelyn Sawyer for the work done in compiling this index.

The index of names consists of three categories -
1) NAME OF PERSON
2) CHURCH NUMBER - A list of the churches included in this index is on the following page along with the Church # and the time period which is covered. In some cases the church records were filmed at two different times. For instance Ch# 10/1 and 10/2. We made this distinction because each set had duplicate page numbers.
3) PAGE NUMBER - the page on which the record is found.
NP = means there was no page number given.
The spelling is not always accurate. In some cases the names changed over a period of time. Be sure to look for the different spellings such as the following examples:

C or K = Coster, Koster
F or V = Frieswijk or Vrieswijk, VanderBerg or FlanderBerg
G or J = Gillett or Jillott
L or S = Landers or Sanders
Bahre = Behre Defrees = Devries McCan =McAn
Brown = Braun Kreuser = Kreutzer Van Weltenburg = Wiltenburg

Also be aware that names such as VanderLaan, DeVries and O'Dell may be found in more than one place depending on whether there is a space between the letters or not.
Example: Devries, De Vries
O'Dell, Odell, 0 Dell
VanderLaan, Vander Laan, Van Der Laan, V.D. Laan

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Last modified by Roger on: June 11 2015 07:15 AM
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