R is for 3Rs and Religion

RMy A2Z 2016 theme is how to pursue an interest in family history/genealogy I’d love you to join me on the journey.

R is for 3Rs

A while back I wrote a post focused on the research process involved with family history. It was well received so I can’t see any point in reiterating it in this post. Pop over to this link to read more about Revisit, Record, Revise which I wrote for the collaborative blog, Worldwide Genealogy.

Revisit record revise
Genealogy’s 3Rs of research.


Religious affiliations still have the power to sever family ties but mercifully not quite as much in the past. Even in my childhood, a mixed marriage could cause all sorts of angst, and it wasn’t unheard of for a child to be disowned or largely ignored for marrying a Catholic – or vice versa.

Certificates can help you to know what religion your ancestors followed. I had a couple who were affiliated with the primary church in their country of origin (Anglican in England, Church of Scotland/Presbyterian in Scotland) and then “shopped around” when they came to Australia.

I’ve found it ironic in my own family where a perceived “non-Catholic family” has as strong an affiliation to Roman Catholicism as my “Catholic” branches.

Kilmorich Church at Cairndow, Loch Fyne
Kilmorich Church at Cairndow, Loch Fyne © Pauleen Cass 2010

One word of warning: not all Germans were Lutherans (or indeed other denominations). When I first started my family history I was resoundingly told that “no German Catholics came to Queensland”. Brrp, wrong answer. It was just that through intermarriage with the Irish Catholics their affiliation wasn’t as obvious. I’ve also seen comments where someone has assumed that because their German ancestor married in a Catholic church, there mustn’t have been a Lutheran minister available, rather than check which part of Germany the ancestor came from. Traditionally Bavaria is Catholic and in the village of Dorfprozelten there was only one church even though there may have been villagers who aligned with other religions.

Thank you for visiting me on this journey. I love comments <smile>
There’s a plethora of reading choices on this year’s A to Z Challenge, so my challenge to you is to visit the sign-up page and select one (or more) blogs to read between the numbers

16 thoughts on “R is for 3Rs and Religion

  1. One of the things you can confidently say about family history research is “Oh, the places you’ll go!” Dry crunchy grass underfoot and a very long shed snake-skin near one ancestor’s grave (where was the snake in its new skin?) in Australia, or this delightful little Scottish church. The local parish has obviously put a lot of effort, time and money into restoring the building over the last decade or so, and it looks great. The Loch Fyne Salmon Co-op just round the lake has nothing to do with this endorsement…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your 3R’s blog post and I’m going to bookmark it to remind me.
    It seems my families were Church of England or Scotland or Ireland, wherever they came from, and then changed to something else here – a lot of Methodists and some Anglicans. My grandfathers parents were Salvation Army – my great-grandmother was a Major and my great-grandfather played the coronet in the Salvation Army Citadel Band in Montreal. I have an old newspaper photo of him with the band. My 3x great grandmother (another family) would not go to the methodist church and there was no other, so her son, my 2x ggf went over a couple of nights a week to read the bible with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your families’ religious stories. One thing about the Methodists, as I understand it, was that they had the education and expectation to be able to read the bible themselves and reflect on it. Wonderful to have a photo of your ancestor and his band!


  3. I find it interesting to watch the way religions change down the generations. I have a close one that is Catholic/Anglican/Catholic/Anglican/Catholic. No commitment there.

    Mum always said that your religion always depended on which denomination’s pastor came riding by on his horse at the time a ceremony was needed.


    1. I can see your mother’s point, yet others remained stubbornly on one religion or the other. For example you’d expect the German Catholic couples who spoke minimal English might have defected to the Lutherans, but no.


  4. So true what you write about religious affiliation. My maternal German ancestors were Catholic. My paternal German-Swiss ancestors started out Lutheran, then shopped around and ended up Presbyterian in the next generation. Be sure to stop by my Letter Z post to see the Lutheran church of my Swiss ancestors, which looks very much like the church shown here.
    Molly of Molly’s Canopy http://mollyscanopy.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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