Thursday, September 30, 2010

Religions of the Early Colonies

One thing we must remember when researching the history of our ancestors, is that many of them came to this country out of necessity in order to get away from religious persecution or wars in their homeland. Most of they were not coming because of it being explorers like Christopher Columbus. Many came with little to nothing in the way of belongings, either because of limited space on the ships they came in or because they were on the run for their lives!  The other thing we need to remember is that not always did families travel together. Sometimes the father and sons would come first to establish a home and secure jobs so that they could have enough money to send for the wife and daughters or small children in the family. Most of them were of average to low income people, who had to travel down in the holes of the ships where living conditions were crowded and consequently when illness struck caused many to die because of the cramped quarters.

When doing your research, consider the possible religious backgrounds of your ancestors. Many of the names we have for our religions nowadays, are not the same as they were back in the days when this country was being formed.  The countries that your ancestor came from can give you a good clue as to what their religious affiliations were at that time and it is possible to locate church records in many instances where you will find their names recorded. Remember also that many surnames have evolved into different spellings than they were back then also!

Puritans, Dunkards Huguenots, Mennonites, Moravian, Palatinate, Quakers, Amish 

In order to simplify your search for various religious work, I am going to make a page for each of the main religions of the time and attempt to give you some background information on each of them. If you happen to have any additional information that you feel would be helpful to know about any of them, or if I have any incorrect information listed, please feel free to contact me.

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