Origin of These Pages

In the summer of 1962, my father, Carl, and I spent a bit of time at his home in Lantz Mills where he was raised and where his mother still lived. We took that opportunity to go around and speak with a number of people in the area and collect some data of genealogical interest. At the home of Mr. [CantFindName] (b. d. ) we discovered that he was in possession of the Record Books of the Mt. Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church located on Rt. 42 west of Woodstock in Mt. Calvary, VA.

Dad used his 35mm camera and photocopied each non-blank page in these books. Later, at home, we developed the film and made prints approximately 3/4 normal size. It is these photographs which have been scanned, digitized, and to which you have access here. At the time I remember Dad suggesting to Mr. [CantFindName] that the records belonged in the Synod archives. However, what Mr. [CantFindName] ultimately did with the originals I don't know. They may have been sent to the Synod, sold at auction when he died, or discarded as trash by some unknowing soul cleaning up. If anyone knows their fate, please let me know and I will post that information here.

These records were in three bound ledger volumes and covered the time from the beginning of the church until it was forced to close for want of supporting membership in 1961. To conserve paper, both sides of a sheet was used (i.e. both right and left, or, if you prefer, odd and even, pages contain writing.) It appears much of the earlier writing was done with a quill pen and the ink often soaked through to the other side of the page making it quite difficult to read in places. In addition, the ink had become brown and the pages were yellowing. In some cases this results in not much contrast. There was also some pencil rather than ink used. At least one page is half written in pencil and half in ink.

Vol. 1 covers the years 1854 - 1887
Vol. 2 covers the years 1886 - 1916
Vol. 3 covers the years 1915 - 1961

For each volume you will note there is a listing of the blank and missing pages. Also, for particularly hard-to-read pages, a transcript was made directly from the original because we suspected the photo would be even more difficult to read when the film was developed and printed. Those transcripts were typed and are included whenever available.

Contents range from the Constitution of the Church and minutes of congregational meetings to lists of Communicants, Baptisms, and Confirmations. On several pages, someone came back at a later time and entered the dates when various members died or moved away.

Scanning these pages one can see the growth of the church as indicated by the number of members served Communion and, later, decline as the older members aged and died and the next generation evidently either moved away or attended other churches in the area.

Whenever they listed the names of those in attendance, they always segregated the men and women, usually providing two parallel lists. A small addition problem can usually be found to the side somewhere where the numbers of men and women are summed and a total produced.

Of particular note is the period covering the late unpleasantness. Before that time and again sometime afterwards, one notes that the numbers of men and women in attendance are approximately equal. But during the time of conflict the men are away protecting their lands and families from the invading northern armies.

If you are familiar with the names and people listed, other events are represented. For example, my Grandmother was born Ruth Elizabeth Hoover on 16 Nov 1880 and her parents attended this church. We first see her in the books on 22 May 1892. We can follow her through the years until 12 April 1903 which is the last time we ever find a Ruth Hoover. However, the very next list of communicants on 8 November 1903 has a Ruth Stoneburner suddenly appear for the first time. Well, knowing that my Grandfather and Grandmother were married on 3 June 1903, we understand what the records are trying to tell us. (Grandfather Stoneburner attended the Methodist Church at Union Forge and, therefore, does not appear in these records. It was quite common in an earlier age for spouses to attend different churches, each generally remaining in the denomination in which he was raised.)

If you find these records interesting or useful, I would be interested in hearing from you.


20 April 1998