Congregationalist

+7 votes
302 views
I have just created the category Congregationalist. I'm startled to find how few dissenting churches appear in the category hierarchy, when many of our ancestors were attached to them and exported them round the world. I can't even find Methodism, although there are plenty of Quakers. Incidentally shouldn't the latter properly be the Society of Friends?

Where would you like me to connect Congregationalist upwards?
WikiTree profile: John Hedges
in Policy and Style by anonymous G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
Religious section is brand new. It may take a few weeks to sort out.

BTW isn't a congegationalist just someone who sits in the congregation of a church? Kinda just someone who sits in his own pew? (beans anyone?)
Most Congregationalist churches in my part of the world (Northumberland, England} grew out of the move south of Scottish Presbyterians. In recent years they have been incorporated into the United Reform Church.

No Steve, sadit is a serious church.

Religious Institutions first impinged a couple of years ago. But dissent has been largely ignored.

Down here (Devon) I have Methodists, Bible Christians, Unitarians, Society of Friends, Christian Brethren etc.

Yes, they have since largely been simplified into Methodism and URC.

I have numerous examples of people who emigrated to the US, Canada and Australia in the 19th C and took their religions with them. I believe the Bible Christians were particularly strong in Canada.

OK, for the moment I've attached it to England, Religious Institutions.

Many started after just after the restoration.  They were those who wanted the C of E to be more protestant during the early 16th C . ( puritans but not separatists)The civil war saw them on the winning side .At the restoration their ministers couldn't concienciously  sign the act of uniformity and were thrown out by the state ( great ejection ) Many took part of their congregation with them and set up independent churches (governed by the congregation rather than an outside authority)

Presumably as a hierachy one could say that non conformist churches split off originally from the C of E. It gets very confusing though  when they subdivide. ( and in the last fifty years come back together again)

The discussion above makes me realize we may need to distinguish UK from US Congregationalism if you're going to cateforize it because the origins of Congregationalism here in the US is quite different from what you describe for the UK.
All covered in our official guidelines!
Well, I can't find it. See below.

Can you point me to a place that deals with the Congregationalists or Unitarians as bodies - as opposed to buildings?

The Principles and Formatting Guidelines covers all that.  I did spot an error in the current categorization -- you are correct in using the category Congregationalists to categorize him in the absence of any other information, so that category, which is currently identified as a high level category, should not be.  The high level category is Congregationalism, which has all kinds of congregationalists and places of worship under it. 

The most useful category is the specific congregation in which he worshipped, whether in a house or a chapel, because that is most likely where you're going to run into relatives, friends, and business associates whose biographies are woven together with his.   

See:[[Category:Congregationalism]]

And see Jack's comment. This structure was posted about several times during the process and has been taking place over a couple of years. Mary Jensen has been methodically making changes from the older categorization to the newer system and it looks beautiful and will function well if used properly.

When you wish to add a religion, you should look for it here first:

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Religious_Categories

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Religions_and_Spiritual_Traditions
The description of Category:Congregationalism is commendable for explaining the concepts underlying the name and concisely explicating the different religious groups that have used -- or been called by -- this name.
Just to let Martin Allen know, that was meant as humor, not as an insult. Sorry if you were offended.
Apology accepted. It did sound rather off.

Hey, my foster mom fed us beans every saturday and beans for breakfast sunday. I definitely set in my own Pew. laugh

Can you point me to a place that deals with the Congregationalists or Unitarians as bodies - as opposed to buildings?
Martin
  The bodies or religious organization part are in the categories under Category: Religious and Spiritual Traditions.  If people take the time to develop the categories in that stream, they can reflect the history with all the splits and mergers.
The buildings as you call them (which is really the groups of people in local congregations) can be found either through the stream for the religion or geographically through the categories under Category: Religious Institutions by Locations.

5 Answers

+2 votes
There have been changes to the non-conformist churches over the years with various offshoots combining.

My uncle is an expert on the Methodist Church and I know this is made up from what was several different groups.

I will try and find out more about this.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (176k points)
Be interested to hear anything. I think I understand the way that Methodism split in the early 19thC and then came together again in 1906? and the 1930s.

But it's Wikitree's category structure that I am after. I can't find anything that tells me how/where to attach the category.
+4 votes
The category should be Congregationalists, as in plural.
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (442k points)
Yes, I agree. I should have made it plural in the first place. I will change it

Ah, I see you've done it.
+5 votes

We have an approved structure for religious categories which reflects a lot of work, so as you start running into profiles that reflect uncategorized religious affiliations, it's well worth looking through so that you categorize them correctly!  The structure is there, just waiting for profiles to be properly categorized and the specific lower-level categories created.

Most of the questions I've seen in this discussion so far are addressed in the guidelines for religious categories.  See our  Principles and Formatting Guidelines for Religious Categories.  

  

by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (363k points)

Jack, I feel like you are alienating my religious heritage. I was baptized in a Congregational church (it later became part of the United Church of Christ (UCC), when that organization was formed). My 2G grandfather was a Congregational minister who is listed in old Year Books of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States. Many of my ancestors were congregants, deacons, or sometimes ministers of "the church" (or "first church" or "second church") of their New England communities, almost all of which still exist and identify themselves as having been "Congregational" throughout their history prior to the formation of the UCC. I am confused by the message that local Congregational churches that my family belonged to can be categorized in categories like Congregational Churches, Connecticut, but there seems to be no place for ministers (outside of categories for the churches they served), apparently because the denomination did not maintain a hierarchy of control comparable to those in  denominations such as Roman Catholicism and Methodism.

Ellen, we have an entire category structure for religious professionals (that term and its category are being replaced by "religious occupations". There should be a place in existence or creatable for every single religious professional on your tree.  We have put lots and lots of work into developing this over the last two years.

I just went to the profile for your GG Grandfather Asa Clark, clicked on the tab for categories, selected the appropriate one -- Congregational Ministers -- and added it to his profile.  If one knows the specific Conference or other regional entity his ministry was part of, that can be created and improves the specificity.  That in turn gets categorized in higher groupings both by geography and specific denomination.
Just two points now I've cooled down:

a) The searching Jack mentions above has already been done. I have the other names etc. etc.

b) It is quite clear that Jillaine was right and this needs to be looked at separately from US Congregationalism.
Ellen,

Please don't be offended that there is not yet a set of categories for Congregationalist ministers.  All it means is that we do not create categories ahead of time in most areas.

So far, we are only creating the categories needed to fit existing categories into the structure, and we are even a long way from getting all of that work done.

As you seem to have family who were congregationalist ministers, I invite you to create those categories.

As there is not a lot of hierarchy in congreationalism, you probably won't need Congregationalist Bishops or anything similar.  Based on your description, you will probably only need to create Category: Congregationalist Ministers and nest it under both Religious Occupations and Congregationalism.  Then you can get started categorizing the ministers in your family.

My concern with categorization of ministers actually was related not so much to my ancestors, but rather to notable ministers/preachers of past centuries, some of whom I had placed in categories in the past. I could no longer find relevant categories for these people anywhere in the WikiTree category hierarchy. I am aware of the instructions for Religions and Religious Professionals that identify top-level categories for religious organizations as the primary organizing basis for such professionals, and when I found that the only occupation-related category for Lorenzo Dow (best known for traveling to camp meetings, revivals, etc. in the United States and other parts of the world as a mesmerizing preacher and evangelist, as well as for being the namesake of many children) was Connecticut Conference Methodist Episcopal Church Ministers and saw the instruction in Category: Congregationalists that said individual Congregationalists must be placed in a category for their local church, I inferred that a decision had been made that religious professionals could only be categorized on the basis of church organizations, meaning that there were no longer going to be meaningful categories for ministers associated with non-hierarchical religious traditions (such as the various forms of Congregationalism).

I think that my problem was due to the fact that numerous categories, including Category: Congregational Ministers, had been completely detached from the WikiTree category structure because their only parent category, Religious Professionals, was destined for renaming to Religious Occupations. Other relevant categories, such as Ministers and Preachers, can now be found only in Categories to be Retired, and the category pages for those categories give no information or guidance on where to look to find new appropriate categories for the people who are currently categorized there.

After finding the orphaned category structure under Religious Professionals, I've changed the parent category for a few included categories from Religious Professionals to Religious Occupations, and I added Congregationalism as an additional parent category for the Congregational Ministers category.  But I have a plea for the members of the Categorization Project: Please remember that you are not working within a cocoon. During the transition while a category that has contents is being reorganized, please do not completely disconnect it from the old structure, and please make sure that there is information in the category description(s) that could help other members understand what is happening.

I ran into the same problem when I was looking to respond to some of these emails -- I look for categories starting at the top of the tree, and when I got to Religious Occupations there was little under it, and Religious Professionals had already been disconnected.  I then pursued a second line, going to the categories on my own profile and working upward until I found Religous Professionals with the note on it.   That is an issue that Categorization will need to address, because it has caused a lot of confusion.

Ellen,

I see that we need to work on our language.  

The origin of the instruction in Category: Congregationalists to place individual Congregationalists in a category for their local church does not reflect any decision that religious professionals could only be categorized on the basis of church organizations.

The origin of the instruction for categories ending mostly in "ists" is that these categories have been set aside as a type of category we call a personal faith category.  It all started when people were using these categories as both a high level category for the top of a religion's structure of categories and also as a default category for profiles where the religion of the person was known, but it was not known what particular local church the person and family belonged to.  Using the same category for two different purposes was the cause of a lot of the tangles we had in the religious categories that we were trying to solve.

The most common reason for putting a religious category on a profile is that members of the same family are often of the same religion and attended the same church.  But when the particular church is not known, people still wanted and insisted on using a category to park the profile in for the religion until further research was done and a narrower category became a better fit.  So that is the purpose of the personal faith category.

We need to be clearer as to what the purpose of the personal faith category is and that neither it nor a local congregation category is intended to preclude the use of other religious categories but rather that the personal faith category is a substitute for a narrower local congregation category when the local congregation is not known.  However, a personal faith and a local congregation category which includes a personal faith should not both appear on the same profile.

Religious Occupation categories for particular religions are intended to have two lines distinct lines of parent categories - one in the Occupations stream under Religious Occupations where the category names are ordered so that the general list will be sorted by broad religious categories and one in the Religions and Spiritual Traditions category for the religion so that religious professionals can be found either by their religion or by their occupation.  We just are not there yet in linking everything up.

There is actually a third line as well.  All the categories under Religious Occupations are also repeated under Religious Figures and Religious Occupations where the focus is on the role each person held within their religion.  All the existing minister, priest, and other religious occupation categories will appear through all these routes.

The sudden inability to find relevant categories for these people anywhere in the WikiTree category hierarchy is because I just started working on implementing all the different paths to these categories and I don't get to spend enough time on Wikitree to do it quickly.  I have submitted to Editbot the move of all the categories under Religious Professionals to under Religious Occupations. That action did make them harder to find for the moment. It is such a large group of categories that it will require AleŇ°' personal approval and attention before the move is completed.

Please be patient with me and the Categorization Project.  Restructuring takes time. I also have to spend time on other areas like being coordinator of Project Denmark. An issue with categories there has taken me away from the Religious Categories for a few days.

There are some general categories to serve the purposes you describe, but maybe not as many as we need.

There is a line of missionary categories which are grouped primarily by where the missionaries had their missions.  There is also a category for Evangelists.  As evangelist is defined as a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, especially by public preaching, perhaps that is where Lorenzo Dow fits.

There were 63 categories (many of which had subcategories) in Category: Religious Professionals when I first visited it earlier today. A proposed change to a category that large may not happen as quickly as the more typical rename for a misnamed category, and that's a very large branch of the category structure to be left hanging in limbo. I don't think it was necessary to disconnect that branch while waiting for the rename, and anyway the description section of a category can always be used to provide information about a pending change. I added a note to Category: Religious Occupations to clue people in regarding the situation.

As for Lorenzo Dow, my knowledge of him is limited. His profile here doesn't help much, as it is a mess of pasted-together excerpts from miscellaneous sources. He was in fact a minister who is identified with Methodism and apparently was at least loosely affiliated with the Connecticut Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (and he's currently the only minister in that category), so that categorization isn't wrong, but it doesn't do a particularly good job of defining his occupation. He was never ordained and he doesn't seem to have been inclined to cooperate much with any organized entity. He may be best described as a freelance itinerant preacher (wherein "itinerant" has the meaning of "traveling around"). I looked at his profile to find categories such as "Preacher," and when I saw that he was categorized only by his association with an organization, it increased my concern that the categories for nonhierarchical religion had been dropped.
I added the category Evangelist to Lorenzo Dow's profile. I skimmed through the material to see if there was anything else I could add but nothing occurred to me at the moment.  But there could be more once his bio is better organized.  I see I added the Connecticut Conference category but I don't have a source to back that up.  He was "admitted on trial" -- a Methodist phrase for probation (I was admitted to the Baltimore Conference on trial in 1964) but apparently never took the remaining step.  Evangelist may not be the only title that fits, but it certainly does fit him -- he liked preaching, he didn't like organization.
Thanks for looking at Lorenzo and reviewing his categories, Jack. You understand this subject matter far better than most of the rest of us.

I've forgotten many details of events/eras like the Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and the "burned-over district" (history that I once learned), but I recognize names like Lorenzo Dow as being associated (one way or another) with those episodes, and I encounter his name and others (such as Harriet Newell, Edward Payson, and Adoniram Judson) in genealogy because ancestors or relatives of mine named children for them, and I want these people to be placed in neat category boxes...
+2 votes

Martin,

If I understand what you are trying to do, the categories would fit within our existing religious categories structure but probably have not been created yet because no one else has approached the group you are interested in from your particular point of view.

Most people who are putting religious categories onto profiles have either found a baptismal, marriage or death record which indicates what particular local congregation the person in the profile belonged to or have some other fact such as knowing that a person was a minister.  Many are not specifically interested in religious history and so do not go much beyond that.  But since there is a lot of that kind of category use on Wikitree, the part of our guidelines and structure that lead to those local congregations is the most fully developed.

However, the way the Religions and Spiritual Traditions stream is set up, there is room to develop categories reflecting dissent or more neutrally religious movements.  Take a look at what the LDS project has done under Category: Later Day Saints Movement.  They have Category: Early LDS Adherents for the period when the movement was just developing and before specific congregations and branches developed.  Then they have categories for the many dissenters/branches when disagreements developed within the movement.  Some of these died out and others continue today as separate sects or denominations. 

Also, if you are looking at broad movements occurring in specific places (especially when influenced by the laws of the place where they first occurred), then maybe what you want to do fits under the Religious History stream.  There we have Category: Religious Movements which includes categories for Brethren Movement, Holiness Movement, Huguenot Movement, Latter Day Saint Movement, Shaker Movement, Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement, and Waldensian Movement.  The Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement leads to the Church of Christ (which  which is one of the denominations mostly in the United States of America that follows a congregationalist structure and set of beliefs.  (Since I haven't finished working the existing categories into the structure, the Churches of Christ do not yet link up with the Religions and Spiritual Traditions stream under Christianity, but it will when I get done with the implementation.)

Anyway if there was a similar movement in England and/or other parts of the British Isles or what is now the United Kingdom, then you could develop it, create a movement category  for it and place it under the Religious Movements category in the Religious History stream.  You could follow the pattern used by the LDS Project and create a category for early adherents of the movement to group together the profiles you are interested in grouping.  If I understand what you want to do, such a category would probably meet your needs.

by Mary Jensen G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
edited by Mary Jensen
Thanks for your thoughts Mary. Don't think I don't appreciate the effort you and Jack put into this. However, I remain unimpressed when someone just takes over and sets up a category and hierarchy without any consultation at all. Not surprisingly I've removed it and shan't be using it for any other profiles.

However, I've tried following the various routes you suggest. Firstly Congregationalism and Methodism notes are almost entirely about the US. There is no attempt to look at early Methodism in England, where I can differentiate at least 5 different groupings. The history of Congregationalism (Independent) is also ignored. The branch I'm looking at locally (not Highworth) split from a Unitarian church in 1795 and then went through various incarnations and amalgamations.

Finally there is the note, "don't put profiles here unless you cannot find any specific church to attach them to" (or words to that effect). That completely defeats the object of what I want to do.

Again I understand that the religion categories are a work in progress. But, are you sure that a one size fits all approach is the right one?
I am glad to see that a lot of work has been done to get these all straight - bummed that it seems Martin has not found it is right for the spot he needs yet - looks like you are the first one that needs it Martin - good luck with it going right

My question while thinking of this subject is - did the Dutch Reformed Church where a lot of my (and a lot of the others on here in the US) ancestors were baptized survive as a religion - do people still go to services with that same denomination?  I saw when the families left the New (Netherland) York/ New Jersey area they ended up going to different churches as the new ones were built in the new towns they formed as they went west - but I have been curious about the old Dutch Church we look up from

AS a child we moved a lot after the folks got divorced - Mom took us to several Protestant churches and I went to others with friends - to summer bible school etc - so I have gone to Baptist, Methodist, Unitarian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Bible churches and even to Catholic bible school once - husband was raised catholic
Navarro, I can't say whether the Dutch Reformed Church survives today because I grew up so long ago, but when I was a child there was a Dutch Reformed Church on the corner of Flatbush and Church Avenues in Brooklyn, New York.  It was a magnificent building, with steps (about a dozen or more) that spanned the building on both street-facing sides.  It was across the street from Erasmus Hall High School and teenagers used to congregate (pun recognized, but not intended) sitting and standing on the steps before and after school.  I'm talking 1950's here.
Navarro, "Dutch Reformed" religion still exists as a religious tradition, but the organized churches associated with the tradition have different names. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed_Church

Martin,

You say:

"There is no attempt to look at early Methodism in England, where I can differentiate at least 5 different groupings. The history of Congregationalism (Independent) is also ignored."

All that means is that categories are not created ahead of time and no one has created them yet.  The areas where you see a fuller development tend to be ones where there are projects and lots of volunteers involved like Quakerism and the Latter Day Saints Movement.

There are not a lot of religious projects  on Wikitree and no overarching project pulling together projects on religion, although there are quite a few free space projects developing in religious areas.  That is why the Categorization Project took on the task of bringing some sort of order to the existing categories and trying to create a structure  with patterns to guide future development.  

If you would like to see development in early Methodism and Congregationalism (Independent) religions in England, then perhaps you would be interested in starting a free space project.  You would be in good company as there are several free space religious projects that started out with just one person who was interested in a particular religion.

Actually, many relevant categories exist -- and in some instances have existed for years, but they were disconnected from the WikiTree category structure. We can find them in https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Religious_Professionals and https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Categories_to_be_Retired (and possibly other places I haven't discovered yet).
0 votes
Wikipedia has an article on the [[wikipedia:Congregational Union of Australia]] but does not contain information on what or how that formed, only about what happened to it in and after 1977 (when the [[:category:Uniting Church in Australia|Uniting Church in Australia]] formed).

How should Australian ancestors who were involved with Congregational churches be categorised? I don't think I have any ordained or even lay employed Congregationalists, but I have ancestors who were involved in a Welsh Congregational church in the 1860s (Welsh language, not sure about polity or theology). The same town had an English Congregational church (which actually had a Welsh minister). Is it right to tag these people as Congregationalists, or Congregational Union of Australia or specifically as Lloyd Memorial Congregational Church (in which case the question rises to what should be the parents of that category)? Lloyd Memorial Church was so named in 1908 after its namesake died in 1904. The congregation was founded in 1864, so spent over 40 years as just the Welsh Congregational Church or the Wallaroo Welsh Church.

I have not thus far been trying to tag my ancestors with their denominations or congregations, but most were faithful members of their churches in whatever communities they lived. Sometimes identifying the correct former denomination of a congregation can be difficult. Three denominations of Methodism had chapels scattered across the South Australian landscape before Methodist Union (Australasia) in 1902. They had mostly become just "Methodist" before joining with the Congregational Union and Presbyterian Church (themselves also having experienced earlier mergers) in 1977.
by Scott Davis G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
That's interesting - in England the Congregational Church has ended up as the United Reform Church, but never joined with the Methodists.

I've given up on the categorisation in despair. It is far too complicated and user-unfriendly. I just want to be able to put profiles into English Congregationalists, which in turn is linked to England, Religious Denominations (or something similar). But we need an alternative to Religious Institutions.
I think I have Australian ancestors from about 8 denominations - the Lutheran Church of Australia has quite a few predecessors, branches, splits and merges in its history too. We even had multiple Presbyterian denominations for a few decades in the 19th century (and not all of the Presbyterian congregations joined the UCA in 1977 either).

Is Welsh Congregational in Wales distinct from English Congregational, or is it simply a matter of geography and language? What about Welsh Presbyterian?
Don't know about Welsh Congregational. A quick Google comes up with numerous options that are not in Wales!

Scott, you have several choices depending on what you know about the person in each profile and also the reason why you want to categorize.

First, for background on the development of congregationalism in Australia (which includes some on England), see this history page from Fellowship of Congregational Churches in New South Wales.  The most striking thing  to me about that history is how separate from any organization the local churches were and remained for a long time. The Loyd Memorial congregation fits right in to the pattern described.

Next, think about why you want to categorize your ancestors by religion.  If your reason is to find other related family members or to group together people who attended the same church and were likely part of the same community, then categorizing by the local congregation (usually described by the name of the local church) should work.  Since the congregationalists were so against church hierarchy in their early years, you are not going to find a hierarchical structure for these early congregations. You probably won't even find anything as structured as the Quaker monthly meetings that belonged to larger quarterly meetings and even larger yearly meetings. In such cases, you may want to just put the categories for the local congregations in their proper place in the Religious Institutions by Location stream and not try to fit them into a particular religion. Its okay if that's all you want to do.  

But if you want to fit them in under congregationalism as well, then it would make sense to organize them geographically as the Quakers have done.  To do this for the ones in Australia, I would suggest creating a category for Category: Congregational Churches, Australia under the existing Category: Congregational Churches.  Then under that one, create a category for the state/province such as Category: Congregational Churches, Victoria.  Add the one that is for the state/province as an additional parent for the local congregation category. That would fit the pattern already there for the one congregational church that has been done in New Zealand and the ones in the United States. 

So to sum it up, assuming this Lloyd Memorial Church is located somewhere in Victoria in Australia, you would create the category for that church.  You would give that category 3 parents: a) Category: Victoria, Religious Institutions, b) Category: Congregational Churches, Victoria (which you would have to create) and c) a geographic category for the town the church is located in.

If your reason is to group together people who shared the same religious views at a point in history but were not necessarily part of the same local community, then you may want to look at other places in the religious categories structure.  You have already pretty much eliminated the religious occupations.  And given the decentralized nature of congregationalism, they probably were not saints or martyrs.  But if you are looking to group together important people in the early stages of the religion before it really got organized, then something like the Early Adherents category the Latter Day Saints Project created might work.  

But it really sounds to me from your description that you are really just looking for how to create the local congregation categories and get them properly placed in the category structure.  You don't have to identify a specific denomination to do that.  You can do it as I've described above without making it overly complicated.  You don't need to do the denominational research unless it interests you.

Thank you Mary for a fairly comprehensive answer.

I think it is the denominational history as much as anything else that interests me. I seem to have relatives from just about every predecessor denomination of the Uniting and Lutheran churches in South Australia, and I am lightly involved in the Uniting Church History Society as well as a couple of other history groups.

Your assumption about Victoria missed. Lloyd Memorial Church was in Wallaroo, South Australia. I think it has closed now and the building destroyed.

Here's a reference for its first 50 years: https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-236846022

I guess my concern is that a separate category for every rural congregation in history would create an enormous number of categories that have very few profiles in each one, as most profiles that I have read do not contain enough information to identify the congregation to tag someone into. Wallaroo was a large town in its day, but rural areas had a church every 5 or 10 km  in the days before motorised transport, and people who lived part-way between them might have changed over time without moving.
The relevant point is that there is the potential for a lot of categories if one is created for each small rural church in history.  The reality is that most of the categories won't be created for a long time because as you say, a lot of profiles don't have enough information to identify the local congregation.  But when someone gets interested in a particular locality and gets to work on it, it can be a gold mine for finding relatives.  And from time to time, sometimes we find a cousin or two working on connected families.  

All my husband's Danish relatives going back five or more generations in rural Denmark on each line all fit into a half dozen church congregations.  In my mother's genealogy, pretty much all her relatives for three or four generations back fit in just one rural Louisiana congregation.  I'm probably related in some way to anyone who shows up in that congregation before about 1950.  Small churches and their records can become the focal point of one place studies too.  The church records will be the focus of my one place study on the small town of Hanna in the German Pflaz region when I get to it as well.  So give us time, and those categories that get created will wind up with more than a few profiles in each.

Yes, people do changes churches over time, sometimes without moving. But often that meant another community of neighbors in their social realm and more marriages and relatives.

Categories are not a perfect genealogical tool, but they are helpful in providing clues.

But if you are more interested in the genealogy of the denomination that interests you, then perhaps the building of free space pages and profiles for important people in the denomination may be more in your line of interest than categorizing profiles.

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