Biographical Research Service Sources | Presbyterian Historical Society

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Biographical Research Service Sources

Sources we search for the missionary and minister Biographical Research Service include:

Card file indexes of ordained ministers and some lay missionaries.

The indexes primarily cover sources published before 1950. These include seminary and college alumni catalogs, ministerial directories from most American Presbyterian denominations, other Who's Who type sources, and some obituaries found in synod minutes, almanacs, and periodicals. Please note that we have very few indexed sources for ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Willis J. Beecher's Index of Presbyterian Ministers…from A.D. 1706 to A.D. 1881, and our unpublished update file (1882-1983).

These are indexes to statistical reports in the Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (through 1957), the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1958-1983), and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (through 1983). These annual reports give only the minister's name, place of service, and (after 1875) age, date, and place of death (for clergy who were members of presbyteries at the time of death). For ministers found only in Beecher's Index and its update, we will provide photocopies of the relevant page of the index. This includes the first and last dates in which a person appears in the Minutes. The first date is generally the year of ordination. The last date is the date of death, unless the minister was removed from the rolls for other reasons, such as transfer to another denomination. We will provide a copy of the death data from General Assembly Minutes if available. We are not able to provide copies of the pages listing the minister's pastorates throughout his or her entire career.

Personnel or biographical files of foreign missionaries, home missionaries and some ministers.

These files contain information on individuals who served the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the United Presbyterian Church of North America, the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A, and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. In general, the personnel files contain biographical information for individuals who served during the late 19th and 20th centuries. We will provide copies of service applications, service records, and/or brief biographies. Some files also contain correspondence, photographs, and other material. We may not copy such records in their entirety as part of the Biographical Research Service, but we will provide information on how you may access this material.