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Old 03-11-2017, 07:25 PM
 
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Just wondering if anyone's ancestors were a different religion than what they are now, such as formerly Protestant but now Catholic in recent generations, and if so, do you know why? Many people immigrated to America for religious freedom, but what was the main religion of those immigrating here during what times?
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Old 03-11-2017, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Maricopa County, AZ
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One side of my family is Catholic with roots mainly from Ireland, but based on a surname of a great-great grandparent's mother, there was likely Ulster-Scots heritage going back to the 1600s plantation-era (before the two sides despised each other - cue "Theme From Harry's Game"). How this happened is shrouded in mystery - either the Protestant patriarch wasn't loyal to his faith, or he died and the children were raised with their mother's religion.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Oh yes, in my tree I have Mennonites, Quakers, French Huguenots, Methodists, Catholics, German Reformed, Dutch Reformed, Christadelphians, Presbyterians, Episcopalians... that's just off the top of my head, there might be more I'm not thinking about.

Most people who came here for religious freedom did so in colonial times, they were mostly Protestants of some kind, like Mennonites, Quakers, Reformed Church, Huguenots, etc.
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Old 03-13-2017, 03:41 PM
 
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I'm still trying to figure it out. I read something about my 7th great grandfather switching religions. I don't know if he possibly had a falling out with his previous church and then switched to the Methodist church or they just needed a preacher and he had the calling. He was apparently a fairly well known preacher for his time. I've read another 5 greats uncle was a fairly well known Baptist preacher. My dad's family must have been raised Baptist, but my dad converted to Catholicism when he married my mother.
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Old 03-13-2017, 05:23 PM
 
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My wife's parents were raised Baptist and Pentecostal in a small town in eastern North Carolina. About 1940 or maybe earlier, however, her father's oldest brother joined the tiny local Catholic church there, and 3 of his siblings soon followed his example. One brother became a monk and teacher in a monastery. The other 4 siblings, I think, remained Baptist. Several of them migrated to the North, including my wife's parents. Although my wife lived with her mother for 35 years (in the north), she never once had the curiosity to ask her mother the reason why they converted (which I find strange that the subject was never raised).

An in-law finally told me that the oldest uncle (who had converted first) had been involved in transporting bootleg liquor around that time, and he actually paid his way through Accounting school with his illegal earnings during the Depression. Perhaps he found the Catholic church more tolerant of drinking. Perhaps the Catholics were so small in that town, and socially scorned, that they welcomed anyone.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:37 PM
 
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I have a United Empire Loyalist ancestor (a refugee from the losing side of the American Revolution who fled to what became Canada). She was the daughter of a prominent Virginian, whose name I can't remember at the moment. Anyway, they settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she married--gasp--a Catholic Irishman. They moved to New Brunswick and established a farm, helping found a town there.

That branch of the family tree is very proudly Irish Catholic, so imagine my surprise at finding that info. It'd be intriguing to know how the proud British Loyalist met an Irish immigrant, and how they ended up marrying--and how did her family react? Not well, I should think... History can certainly be fascinating. Our ancestors had pretty adventurous lives.
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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On my father's side of the family, my g-g-grandfather was born in Kentucky and became a Church of Christ missionary to Australia. Upon his return to the states, he settled in Idaho and became a church planter and pulpit minister.

His son, my g-grandfather was obviously a 'preacher's kid' and grew up in the church. His daughter, my grandmother married in Idaho and moved to Los Angeles for economic reasons. I never knew my grandfather as he died when I was only a few months old, but I do remember my grandmother and she was very agnostic. My grandfather must have been a Roman Catholic because my dad was very devout and all of us kids went to parochial school through the eight grade, at which time we switched to public schools.

Other than knowing my grandmother was agnostic and my dad was Catholic, all of the rest was unknown to me. Life continued, I 'left' the Catholic church and became a member of the Church of Christ. When I found out the religious history of my g-g-grandfather and my g-grandfather, I was 'blown away'. It seems that I've come full circle. I really wish I knew what happened with my g-grandfather and my grandmother to cause one, or both of them, to turn away from the church.


Going way back, my relatives were primarily from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Switzerland. Most of their religions are part of their obituaries, or can be inferred from them. They are the usual religions of those nationalities of several centuries ago.


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Old 03-14-2017, 07:10 AM
 
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I am black and most of my ancestors on both sides were a part of the "black church" in regards to Episcopalians and Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal.

However, in later generations (late 19th century) some of them became associated with Catholicism. I've branched off into researching the spouses and families of spouses of various ancestors and have discovered that those who started going to Catholic churches and who had children and grandchildren who, today are still Catholic, married into a Catholic familiy.

One of my 2nd great grandmothers was also considered a "spiritualist." She was born in the late 1800s and died in the 1940s. Her daugther, my great grandmother told me how embarrased she was that he mother became a "non-believer." Her mother was basically an atheist but was "spiritual." She also used tarot cards and did fortune telling lol. So lots of things for my great grandmother - who was a devout AME Christian to be embarrassed about.

I personally am an atheist and a secular humanist so my older relatives said I must have gotten too much DNA from my 2nd great grandmother. Though I don't believe in superstitious things like tarot cards or fortune telling lol.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by residinghere2007 View Post
I am black and most of my ancestors on both sides were a part of the "black church" in regards to Episcopalians and Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal.

However, in later generations (late 19th century) some of them became associated with Catholicism. I've branched off into researching the spouses and families of spouses of various ancestors and have discovered that those who started going to Catholic churches and who had children and grandchildren who, today are still Catholic, married into a Catholic familiy.
How di dyou find out they went to a Catholic church? Was it in marriage records?
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Old 03-15-2017, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tassity22 View Post
How di dyou find out they went to a Catholic church? Was it in marriage records?
I got the initial hint when talking to a great aunt of mine. I asked her about some of her great aunts/uncles that I found out she lived near as a child. At first she didn't remember them but then remembered when I shared their names and where they lived according to census and death records.

She told me that some of them "became Catholic" after marrying their spouses. I re-reviewed the death certificates and in Ohio they list the funeral home and the cemetery where people are buried. I noticed that some of the cemeteries were Catholic cemeteries. They lived in the NW Ohio area since the 1860s and the Toledo churches have their records on microfilm to browse. Knowing when these people died and what cemetery they were buried in lead me to specific time periods I could browse through the Catholic records.

Also, knowing they were Catholic, I could use their address information to determine what church they attended. My ancestors were predominantly black (I also have some Irish and Scottish ancestors who some I discovered were Catholic as well) and they lived in specific parts of the city over the years, primarily three districts. These districts were associated with 2 specific Catholic churches and browsing through the records on Family Search, I've found some information regarding marriages, births, and deaths in those churches regarding some ancestors.

Also, I do know distant cousins of these relatives and some of them are still Catholic and attend the same churches as their great great grandparents so they helped me get some Catholic documentation via the history departments at the churches themselves.

ETA: Also, yes, the marriage records were a clue. I sometimes do a quick google of minister's/priests names in marriage licenses that are county records. The records usually don't name the church, but they will say Rev _____ officiated the marriage on day/month/year. Looking up the Reverend's name usually leads me to his church and I can get more information on that particular family from that church. In my family we primarily have Baptist, AME, and Catholics. I recognize some of the Baptist and AME ministers because my families were a part of creating those churches, but not the Catholic ones. Also there were a lot of AME ministers in our local church for a span of about 20 years, they had about 20 ministers during that time! So looking them up and comparing to church histories lets me know what other information I can find with the church. Luckily all the churches that my family attended once they moved to this part of Ohio kept decent records, including pictures of congregation members starting in the late 1800s. So I get a lot of good info from churches.
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