My visit to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church came about much the same way as had my visit to First Presbyterian. During my research into the life of Henry L. Miller, who died in World War I at Belleau Wood, I found a newspaper article that mentioned Henry’s tie to St. Paul’s.
Janet Harris, the secretary at St. Paul’s, graciously allowed me access to the Church’s record books. St. Paul’s records are contained in three books which run chronologically. Beginning with the oldest book, I worked forward in time. Pittsford had, and still has, a large German population. The majority of the records from the church’s inception in 1867 until about 1900 were written in old German script. Unfortunately, I do not write or speak German. Luckily, I was able to recognize many of the names I am researching – Mueller, Kossow, Lussow, Gerlach, among others.
It was interesting to note the differences between First Presbyterian and St. Paul’s in terms of how they kept their records. First Presbyterian had many different notebooks which contain much information about its parishioners, including when new members joined and moved. St. Paul’s had fewer random notes, but very good information about births, marriages and deaths. The records of both churches have proven to be an invaluable tool to assist with my research.
I would highly recommend the perusal of church records to any historians and genealogists wishing to dig deeper for additional information about their research subjects. The records have been a source of new information on many families for which I previously had limited knowledge.
Many thanks to Janet Harris and Dick Crawford for their time and enthusiasm for my project.