Congregational Library and Archives Hidden History Project

The Congregational Library and Archives’ “Hidden History” project is locating and digitizing New England church records from 1630 to 1800 and putting them online for free.

According to the project’s web site, “Congregational church records are an unparalleled source of information about the religious activities of the early colonists, and about many other aspects of early American life. The Congregational Library and Archives, in partnership with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale is currently preserving these records and making them available to the public.”

Since 2005 the Congregational Library, in partnership with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale and many local churches across New England, has been rescuing old records from church attics and basements, and making them widely accessible through preservation and digitization. Many of the documents also include transcriptions.

The project is a “work in progress.” That is, only a small percentage of the documents have been digitized and placed online so far. The project just received a $300,000 grant to continue the work.

The same web site also has an online database of more than 30,000 obituary listings for clergy and missionaries spanning more than three centuries.

You can learn more and can access the digitized documents by starting at

My thanks to newsletter reader Gary MacQueston for telling me about this resource.


Jeanne D. Thompson April 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Thank you for your continual sharing of valuable information. It is so appreciated!


Found my 6th great grandmother Phebe Straight (maiden name is also Straight), showing her member in 1785 in Northbridge, Mass. Now I know where she was then when children moved to New York slightly earlier.


Yeah! But how about going to the date government records begin in the various NE states.


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