Friday, November 30, 2012

NEW: Illinois Conference of the Evangelical Church 1837-1937 Database

The Illinois State Genealogical Society is pleased to announce a new database entitled Illinois Conference of the Evangelical Church 1837-1937 Database (ICEC Records 1837-1937). This record set is a genealogical index to the book History of the Illinois Conference of the Evangelical Church 1837-1937 and contains close to 12,000 records, all available free to the genealogy community.

The database records are listed in "page order" for those wanting to see the records as they appear in the book. In addition, the database can be searched by Surname, Given Name/First Name and Field/Appointment, and results can be displayed in ascending and descending order.

A special thanks to ISGS members Oriene Springstroh and Sheryl Grandt who spent almost a year compiling this important research database.

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History of the Illinois Conference of the Evangelical Church 1837-1937 (Authorized Centennial Edition, by Rev. John G. Schwab, assisted by Rev. H.H. Thoren, Ph.D., Chicago, IL (Harrisburg, Pa.: Evangelical Press).

This index names persons who were associated with the development of this German-speaking church denomination within the northern part of Illinois from the 1840s to 1937 and the capacity in which they were associated. Those persons were primarily clergymen, but early church founding members and others are often named. The overall structure of the book was based partly on annual conference records – yearly summaries of the activities of its churches and their members – and partly on the history of the circuits or fields where churches were founded..

It is possible with this database to flesh out the entire career of a man who served this church, including date of ordination, when he became a deacon or an elder, and dates and locations where he was stationed. Other personal information may also be found, such as family relationships and dates and places of birth, death, and burial.
  • There is a separate entry in the database for each time a person is mentioned in the written text, including the event that prompted the record.
  • Surname entries for the same individual were not always spelled consistently.
  • Often only last names were noted in the book, with no initials or given names provided.
  • Use of only first initial for names of ministers was frequent, but there were instances of the complete name.
  • In most cases there is no additional information on the page from which the information was extracted. However, it may be helpful to see what other names and activities appear in the same frame of reference on the same page.
  • Place names were not indexed.
  • Conf. = Conference.
  • Phrases within quotation marks are direct quotes from the text.
  • Brackets [ ] within a comment indicate that an explanatory word or words were inserted for clarity.
  • Varying phrases were used for the same agenda items from conference to conference, depending on who took the minutes and who compiled the report contained in the book. Meeting reports usually contained date, place, and name of the presiding bishop of the conference; the names of both the German and English language secretary(ies); recent deaths; names of those newly licensed to preach; names of those ordained as deacons or elders; recognition of newcomers to the conference and the departure of others; and the annual assignments of presiding elders over the conference districts.
  • Serious students of this denomination may wish to obtain the book for closer examination. There is a copy at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
Click here to see the expanded notes on this important Illinois research database.

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The ICEC Records 1837-1937 database is available in the Free Database section of the ISGS Website at

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