Christ Church Historical Collections Online
Artifacts, Archives, and Library Materials
In 2005 Christ Church, through the generosity of the Barra Foundation and other private funders, began a project to more thoroughly catalog the artifact and archival holdings of Christ Church and create an on-line database to make these significant collections more accessible to the public through key word searches. Images of these artifacts and documents are included although generally only one page from each document is shown.
In 2012 the Pew Charitable Trusts generously provided funding to the Christ Church Preservation Trust to expand digital access to some of the Church's key records. Vestry minutes from 1717 (our earliest extant records) through 1815 were scanned and transcribed. These records can now be searched by name or by key words or phrases.
In addition to the Vestry minutes, the church's parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials are searchable as well as pew rent registers from 1778-1785.
For a more in-depth look at archival holdings, microfilm copies are available at Christ Church and at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as well as other repositories.
Vestry Minute Books
The vestry of Christ Church serves as the governing body of the church. Its members are elected annually by the members of the Christ Church Corporation, which is comprised of all members of the Church. The vestry's earliest extant records begin in 1717 and continue through the present. All of the Church's official actions are recorded in these minutes and include references to clerical appointments, real estate transactions, bequests, financial matters and more. Minutes from the 18th century include petitions to the Bishop of London, the directive to cross out the Prayers to the King in the Book of Common Prayer in 1776, and the background on the formation of the Episcopal Church. The records scanned and transcribed here end in 1815. Later minutes can be researched on microfilm at Christ Church, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania or other repositories that have copies of the microfilm.
View and search the Vestry Minute Books:
You can also search across all of the volumes.
Of particular interest to genealogists are the parish registers which list baptisms, marriages and funerals. These were indexed in 1930 as part of a WPA project, enabling the Church to find records of past parishioners. Many of these listings have now been entered into a searchable database to allow users to find records of past church members.
Information currently available includes:
|Baptisms||Marriages||Burials||Pew Rentals *|
When entering a name in the search field, note that the search returns all entries with that name in any field, i.e. individual, parent, or spouse, will be found.
Records for baptisms and marriages performed at St. Peters can also be found amongst these records, as they formed a part of the United Churches of Christ Church and St. Peters until 1832. For records beginning in 1832 researchers should contact St. Peter's Church directly.
Those who worshipped regularly at Christ Church rented pews; their way of supporting the Church financially. This system of pew rentals began prior to 1717. Unfortunately while we have a chart of pews dating from the 1760s our earliest pew rent collection books begin in 1778. They offer information on those who attended services at Christ Church on a frequent basis and supplement the list of congregants found in the baptismal, marriage and burial records.
View a seating plan chart from the 1760s:
In 1964, the Church of the Latter Day Saints microfilmed the Christ Church registers. Personal Ancestral Files are available free of charge from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.