Ohio Church Records
This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
Religion in Ohio was an early and important factor in settlement. The first Moravian mission was established in 1772. Presbyterians and Quakers were in the state at an early date, the latter having established forty-three monthly meetings and settlements between 1801 and 1883. The Presbyterians founded seventeen towns between 1784 and 1799. Baptists, Congregationalists, several reformed groups, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, United Brethren, Methodists, and Catholics arrived prior to 1850. By 1890 the latter two denominations were the largest in the state. The Methodist circuit in Ohio was organized in 1798, with circuit riders traveling from log cabins to camp meetings across the territory. In 1831 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints migrated from New York to Kirtland in Lake County. No thorough survey exists of any of the holdings of individual churches in Ohio, although many are on microfilm through the FHL. The Ohio Genealogical Society is presently undertaking a church records survey.
Historical Records Survey for Ohio produced an Inventory of the Church Archives of Ohio Presbyterian Churches (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1967). Records of the Quakers in the Miami Valley and the Church of the Brethren of the Southern District of Ohio are available on microfilm through the FHL. Some Ohio Quaker records may be found in William Wade Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quakers (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, 1936). The Western Reserve Historical Society has an extensive Shaker manuscript collection. Bluffton College in Bluffton, Ohio, has Mennonite records.