Saturday, March 9, 2013

Speaker Profile-J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA

  Today, genealogical information is everywhere, existing in large quantities and constantly being created and revised. Information is presented with a wide variety of shapes and sizes. We find facts, opinions, wild stories, logical interpretations, and compiled statistical data often created for diverse purposes and intent. Careful researchers should develop a deeper understanding of documents and their creation before using them to solve problems.

    Religious records are often difficult to obtain in some areas, and may contain information that requires closer scrutiny. 

    “The class was organized at this place on April 2, 1854 by Rev. D.A. Shepard, Daniel Ross being made the class leader, with David Osterhout his assistant. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse, near where the church stands, until the church was erected. This society was incorporated in August, 1870, with Samuel Shook, Thomas Hough, Charles Frear, James Stevens, and Lyman Swartz as trustees. A church was erected, costing $2,478, which was dedicated by Rev. R. Nelson, in September, 1871.” This passage was taken from the History of the Wyoming Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, A. F. Chaffee. (NewYork: Eaton & Mains, 1904) 475.

    Often we don’t understand the roles or titles given in a specific church organization. Daniel Ross was made the class leader. Class leaders were not ordained ministers and are often confused with the ministers who served the church. It is likely that D.A. Shepard was an itinerant minister riding a circuit. The trustees of the “society” are named without details of their work.

    During the conference the session titled “Bible Thumper of Pious Pilgrim: Religious Ancestors on the Frontier,” Friday, 8:00 a.m., F303, will explain the principles and techniques needed to clearly identify the role of your ancestors within their religious context and how to locate those records.


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