Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Community history, church, and membership

From: JackDuffy
My DearMYRTLE,

I look forward to your podcasts. Thanks for your willingness to provide so much information to us. I had an experience this week where my wise, wonderful mother made a statement that's very applicable to genealogy. Here's the story:

My mother spent her teenage and early married years in the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Peoria. Her parents moved there shortly after World War II. In a Peoria history book I found recently, I learned the Presbyterian church, built in the early 1900s, was the community’s first and only church for twenty years. It’s evidently the longest continuously used church in Arizona. I called my mother to tell her about this discovery. Her comment was, "No wonder so many long-time Peoria residents were Presbyterians."

This statement revealed a lot to me about church membership in communities. Many people evidently attended the church in the community as opposed to traveling many miles to a specific denomination. Genealogists should consider looking first for records of their ancestors in the church that has been in the community the longest period of time.

I just thought you may be interested in sharing this with podcast listeners or on your blog.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you in St. George.

DearJACK,
Thanks for sharing. I've heard the same thing when discussing which grocery store people choose to frequent in the late 20th century. Basically, it is the one closest to home that proves most convenient. Now with high gasoline prices, there is all the more reason to shop locally.

The same will probably hold true for church attendance.

By the way, I will be in Mesa, Arizona and most other www.FhExpos.com, but in 2009, there is a conflict with St. George. I will be in London for the Society of Genealogists and "Who do you think you are - LIVE!" I'd like to figure out how they manage to pull some 25-30 thousand people through the doors over a long weekend so we can begin doing something like this in the US.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.