Saturday, January 26, 2013

207. Have Free Methodist Church Ancestry?

Free Methodist Church Resources Here In Indy
              We have an interesting and potentially valuable genealogy resource right here in Indy that I'll bet most researchers have never heard about--the Marston Memorial Historical Center.
            Located at 770 N. High School Road over in Wayne Township, the MMHC is housed in the World Ministries Center of the Free Methodist Church and is a department of the Free Methodist Historical Society.
            I visited the Center last week to check it out for myself, and I was impressed. Director Cathy Fortner gave me a guided tour and helped me with a personal quest. I have an O'Neill family line that were 100-year+ members of a small Free Methodist congregation over in Noble County, Ohio, and Ms Fortner provided me with some clues that I am pursuing right now.
            The Hugh A. White Memorial Library at the Center has thousands of volumes of material of mostly an ecclesiastical nature, but they do have materials from local churches around the country, including newsletters, programs, and directories. There is also a small museum area of FMC items.
            The Free Methodist Church, founded in 1860, is divided into regional Conferences, which have historical archives of their own, and those archives may be good sources of more local records. A large collection of yearbooks contain lots of details on local congregations.
            The Archivist on site here is Kate McGinn, and the Digital Librarian is Kyle Moran. The Historical Center has an active digital presence, including a webpage and a Facebook page.
They are scanning records and photos as rapidly as time and funds permit, and the Library and Historical Center are in the process of expanding.
            If you have Free Methodist ancestors and want to see if the Church has any materials available, either here in Indy or regionally around the country, contact the MMHC via one of the below addresses, visit their website, or drop by in person. Also, if you have inherited any historical materials that pertain to a Church congregation, I'm sure they would be interested in talking that over with you, too.

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