Monday, March 24, 2014

Rochester Churches Indexing Project

The Summer 2013 issue of The New York Researcher, the NYG&B quarterly newsmagazine, published an article about the Rochester Churches Indexing Project.  Since 2009, a group of volunteers has been indexing Rochester area church records of marriages and baptisms.  At the time the article was written, the marriages for thirty three churches, many, but not all of them Roman Catholic, had been indexed. There were 29,129 marriages in the index.  There was also 14,751 baptisms indexed from some of those churches.
Since the Rochester area has had a large German population, these records should be of interest to anyone researching oGerman ancestors who settled in, or moved through the Rochester area.  Several of the churches that have been indexed have records that began in the early to mid-thirties.   During that time period, the availability of land from the Holland Land Company and the opening of the Erie Canal drew many into the area.  Even if they did not remain in the western part of New York, they may have been there long enough for a marriage or baptism.

A check on the website of the project recently showed that the work has continued.  There are now 34 churches included in the project.  The number of indexed marriages has grown to 29,742.  The number of baptisms indexed has almost doubled to 28,794.

Many of the records have been indexed from microfilms.  If a marriage or baptism is found that is of interest, the microfilm can be ordered from that source to look for further information.  However the information in the index itself contains more than just names and dates.  For marriages, besides the names of the bride and groom, the names of witnesses, sometimes parents and places of origin are given in the index.  The same is true for baptisms.

If you have ancestors who may have been in the Rochester area long enough to generate marriage or baptismal records, you may find just what you are looking for. They can be found online at  They can be reach by email at

 Keep in mind though that there may be errors in transcription, as in any secondary sources.  Check the original images on film if they exist, or write to the church where the record was generated to obtain a copy.