Billy Graham Center

Genealogical Resources in the
Archives of the Billy Graham Center

Presentation by Wayne D. Weber given at Wheaton College on October 19, 2002

If you can't find an ancestor who was a missionary, pastor, Christian worker, church member, etc. then you should check the resources of the Archives. Here you will find records of organizations , papers of individuals, oral history interviews, files of congresses and conferences. Materials of particular interest to genealogists or family historians include: correspondences, diaries, personnel files, church membership files, periodicals, microfilm, oral history interviews, photographs, photo albums, etc. If your ancestor or collateral relative is found among these records you will gain a more complete picture of their life and times. More than just finding dates and places of birth, marriage, and death for an ancestor is to be able to put meat on the bare bones of your research. The Archives may be able to help you do just that through the resources that are available. There is no fee to do research in the Archives' reading room.

    [The BGC Archives is an archives of Christian history, as are many dozens of other archives in the United States. But in one important way we are almost unique. Almost all of the Christian archives are church archives, that is they collect the records of a particular denomination, whether it is Roman Catholic or Presbyterian or Episcopalian or Baptist, etc. They might collect the records of an individual congregation or of all the denomination's church's in a particular region or they might have the national records of the denomination, including the records of national departments, such as the foreign mission board. For the genealogist, of course, the denominational archives has many precious records, because they contain, from individual congregations, such documents as registers of marriages, births, and deaths. The BGC Archives is different because it does not contain the records of a denomination. We are not collecting about a church but about an activity - evangelism. Specifically, we are interested in evangelism that occurs outside of churches. This means that we collect records that you would never find in a denominational archives and what you would find in a denominational archives, usually you will not find in the BGC Archives.

    We have the papers of individuals and the records of nonprofit organizations involved in evangelism. These organizations are not denominations and do not have the files, for example, of individual congregations. But they do have many, many other unique and rare resources for genealogy, many types of valuable family history records you could find nowhere else. In particular, if you have a relative who was involved in a nondenominational ministry such as foreign missions or youth work or evangelism, we could have the records you are looking for. We also have at our website a page that includes links to many other archives with information on evangelism, including many denominational archives.]

There are over five hundred collections in the Archives ranging from one thin file folder to over hundreds of boxes. For each collection there is a descriptive guide, prepared by the Archives' staff, to assist you in finding the materials you need. Some of the microfilm collections also have published guides that give an in-depth view of their contents. Consult these guides and the Archives' online searchable database for the individual you are searching for.

As a genealogist, since I was in high school, and an archivist for the last 2 years, I understand the needs of the genealogist to have access to records and the needs of the archivist to preserve documents while at the same time make them available for research. Bringing these two roles together I am in a unique position to appreciate the needs of both. From this perspective I will describe some of the genealogical resources found in the Billy Graham Center Archives.

AFRICA INLAND MISSION was founded in 1895 by Peter Cameron Scott. The records of the AIM, International - Collection 81, contain correspondence, minutes, reports, personnel files, photographs, slides, audio tapes, etc., relating to the mission's work in Africa from its founding. Documents describe the process of recruiting and training missionaries, contacts between the AIM boards in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, and other countries. There are over seven hundred personnel files which document the lives of missionaries with AIM. A variety of materials are found in these folders may including applications to AIM, medical reports, references, correspondence between the missionary and mission representatives, etc.

Laura Collins was a missionary with AIM in Kenya where she worked as a teacher and evangelist for forty-five years until her death in 1952. Her personnel folder (Collection 81, box 19, folder 21) contains many documents including the AIM application she filled out in 1906. In it she stated that she was born 20 October 1875 in Greenfield, Illinois, the daughter of Lorenzo and Emma Collins, 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 129 pounds, not married, converted at age twelve or thirteen, the reasons why she wanted to become a missionary, etc. According to a medical report dated 26 November 1906 she had had "scarlet fever" but had "fully recovered." When asked about church membership she wrote the AIM Home Council:

    "My [church] membership is at Chesterfield, Ill. A little town of a population of about 500. My parents have moved away now. I have had no permanent home of late as I taught school the last two yrs. Before coming here to the institute [Moody Bible], so have not moved my membership."

In a 1907 letter she listed the names and addresses of friends and relatives she wishes to receive AIM magazine Hearing and Doing. Laura indicated she had two brothers and two sisters on a medical examination report filled out in 1922. On 1 March 1928 she wrote:

    "I now wish to tell you that I would like to sail for Africa...My father is now quite well, and is quite willing and glad for me to go...I feel he doesn't need me now. He was so pleased to have me come home last yr. As since my mother's death two yrs. previous, he had been much desiring me to do so, but now he feels I should be back in the work as my heart and I believe the Lord prompts."

Eight days later she again wrote "Re money I have in hand for sailing have about $875 (eight hundred and seventy five). Five hundred and twenty-five of this is money that my father placed in savings deposit for me from my mother's estate..."

Three months later a letter from AIM stated that "Miss Laura Neva authorized to return to Kenya Colony for another term of service as missionary of this board." In 1946 she sent AIM a list of names and address of her brothers, sisters, and two cousins to notify in case of emergency. A letter to these individuals was sent by AIM informed them of the death of Laura on 21 June 1952. Just from a few documents in one personnel folder a considerable about of information on an individual was obtained.

With the information from her personnel file I was able to locate other information from sources outside of the Archives. The 1880 U.S. Census reveals that Laura was living with her parents, L.C. and E.R. Collins and sister B. Collins in Macoupin Co., Illinois. Laura shows up on the 1900 Census with her parents and brothers, Charles and Willie, and sister, Stella, in Barr Township, Macoupin Co., Illinois. By checking the Illinois statewide marriage index I found the marriage of Lorenzo C. Collins and Emma Brooks on 11 November 1875 in Greene Co., Illinois. By using the resources of the Archives I was able to connect her with her family in census and marriage records.

CHINA INLAND MISSION was founded by James Hudson Taylor in 1865. It was reorganized in 1951 into the Overseas Missionary Fellowship. The Records of the United States Home Council of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (China Inland Mission) - Collection 215 contain correspondence, minutes, directories, newsletters, brochures, photographs, book manuscripts, slides, photo albums, and other materials which document the origins of the mission's North American branch; its church planting, evangelistic, medical, educational and literature work in China up to the time of the mission's expulsion in 1951; its work since 1951 in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and other countries. The first seven boxes of this collection have been microfilmed and may be borrowed by inter-library loan.

Directories which list CIM missionaries are a very important tool which help identify them and stations they served at in China. These were published from 1900 to 1990. Later directories included information on: members of staff in the different home countries, CIM workers who had died in China, members of the headquarters staff, retired workers, furloughed workers, workers from other missions under CIM direction, schools and seminaries supported by CIM, the personnel at each mission station and the date of the founding of that station. Later directories included lists of children of CIM missionaries with their birth dates. The April 1947 directory lists Theodore and Olive Fischbacher as working in the town Paoki, Shensi Province. Their children, Gordon (born 1945) and Philip (born 1947), are listed on page 3 of the December 1947 "List of CIM Children."

Personnel cards were kept on active missionaries which list their name, nationality, education, marital status, church affiliation, places of service in China, furloughs, and miscellaneous information. The Fischbacher personnel card (215-4-87) shown here gives dates and places of birth, next of kin, Mrs. Fischbacher's maiden name, passport information, dates and places of sailing, and other information. Note that Theodore Fischbacher was born in Glasgow, Scotland and his wife Olive (nee Huston) in Clay Center, Kansas. The names and addresses for their next of kin were Mr. C. Fischbacher of Glasgow, Scotland and Mr. S. G. Huston of Pasadena, California. Also note the passport information at the bottom of the card and on the back. What a wealth of information is provided on this single card. In the photo folder for the Fischbachers is a picture which was taken on their wedding day. Now we are able to see what they looked like.

Another source of information is the China Council minutes which provide details of personal matters of missionaries in addition to other information. The 12 October 1920 minutes (215-2-39) describe a physical problem Mrs. R. Young was experiencing.

    "In giving further consideration to Mr. Young's application for furlough, Dr. Hogg was invited to give his medical opinion on Mrs. Young's health. Dr. Hogg mentioned that Mrs. Young had been at Chefoo during the past two summers, and while there had been no recurrence of sprue [a chronic, chiefly tropical disease characterized by diarrhea, emaciation, and anemia] from which she had suffered in 1919, and was somewhat physically better, yet she had shewn [sic] signs of mental disease, which had given anxiety. She was subject to long fits of depression and melancholia; she worried unnecessarily about her children, and there were occasions when she would go off for long walks alone, and those who watched her case were troubled lest her mind should give way, leading her to do herself some harm. Her case might be a phase in connection with the change of life, and in a year or so she might become normal; but whilst the present symptoms might disappear, yet the probability was that her health would not be better or become strong enough to warrant her return to China."

The Council met again two days later and decided not to allow the Youngs to return to the field after their furlough was up. The minutes state that "The Council reached this conclusion with sincere regret, and desire to record their sympathy with Mr. and Mrs. Young in the trial of her impaired health...[and is] prepared to provide passage to Great Britain for Mr. & Mrs. Young and their two children at any time after the middle of November." This makes me want to research more and find out what happened to the family especially Mrs. Young.

The Register of Candidate Information; 1891-1934 (215-6-11) provides basic information on CIM applicants. For example, Miss Rosa Lizenby applied in 1903 but was "not accepted because of her lack of educational qualifications." We see that she was born in Medaryville, Indiana on 15 January 1878, converted at age 12, was a member of the M.E. Church, was living at 254 LaSalle Ave. in Chicago, and left school at the age of 16.

The Canadian Council Candidate Registers (215-17-2, 3) contain photocopies of pages from the register that lists basic information about missionary candidates. Most, but not all, of these forms are for Canadian candidates. The forms themselves appear to be a kind of checklist used to make sure that missionaries had handled all necessary details before leaving for China. The very first page is for Alexander Reid Saunders who was born 1 November 1862 and arrived in Shanghai in December 1887. At the bottom of the page is states that two of his children died in 1900 while traveling. A photo from the February 1896 issue of China's Millions, CIMs monthly publication (located in the Evangelism & Missions Collection in the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections, formerly BGC Library), shows the Saunders with their daughters Jessie and Isabel and those who attended a conference in Shan-si Province in October 1895. The March 1901 issue of China's Millions, contains an article written by Mrs. Saunders about the loss of their children, Isabel age one and Jessie ages seven.

    "My dear young friend, I have been asked to tell you a little about our dear Jessie who is now in heaven. She was born in China on April 12, 1893, and was always a bright healthy child...[forced to leave their home she states] When on the road we were robbed of everything, including most of our clothes, and as we went on with our bare, blistered feet in the burning sun, with no covering for our heads, we were treated very cruelly. Stoned and beaten, often hungry and thirsty, and for several nights sleeping on the bare ground in the open air, it was so comforting to know she did not think harshly of these poor people who were treating us so. She would say: "If they loved Jesus they would not do this;" and so many times she reminded us that Jesus was hungry and had no place to lay His head...After we had been a month on our journey our sweet baby, Isabel, was taken by the Good Shepherd to heaven...A week later Jessie joined her litter sister. She was tired and worn out, but also very patient, thought the last few days she would often say, "Mother, I do want a comfortable place."

The WOMAN'S UNION MISSIONARY SOCIETY (Collection 379) was founded in 1860 by Sarah Platt Doremus. It was intended as a vehicle for sending single women as missionaries to women in closed societies (and therefore unreachable by male missionaries) in Asia. The materials consist of correspondence, reports, personnel files, legal documents, financial files, scrapbooks, and photographs, documenting their medical and educational work in Burma, China, India, Pakistan, and Japan.

The personnel file for Alda Berry (379-12-13) contains less than a dozen items but there is still some information about her. The WUMS application she filled out in 1923 tell when and where she was born (21 March 1897, San Jose, California), places of residences, schools attended, degrees received, work experience, etc. Also the folder contains a letter of reference from a Rev. Bruce Giffen and a photo of Berry. The personnel lists in box 12, folder 3 (379-12-3) shows that she sailed to India on 11 October 1924 to work in Allahabod and returned to America about 4 years later in May 1929.

What do you do if there is no personnel file for the person you are searching for? You would look in other files of the organization and more than likely there would be some information you needed. Dr. Elizabeth Reifsnyder is a case in point. The first I knew about her was when her grandniece contacted the Archives wanting inform about her. I first checked the Archives' online searchable database and was directed to the WUMS collection guide. Doing a search of the guide I found out that she had established the Margaret Williamson Hospital in Shanghai in 1891 and that there was a biography (379-4-1) and a photograph of her in the collection. Digging deeper I found a small book in the Personnel Lists folder (379-12-3) which gave more information. The date of her first appointment (1883), sailing dates to and from China, placement in China and date of death 3 February 1922. She returned to America in 1914 and was retired on full salary because of her ill health.

The fiftieth anniversary commemorative booklet (379-4-1) for the hospital contains a biographical sketch of Dr. Reifsnyder as well as reminiscences about her by others.

    From her life sketch we learn that Dr. Reifsnyder was born in Liverpool, Pennsylvania, studied medicine at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, applied to WUMS at the age of 21 but when she was told she was too young she replied, "Time will remedy that."

    Mr. Geo. Fryer said on the opening of the hospital, "I believe that I am one of the very few residents at present in Shanghai who had the privilege of attending the ceremony and can still see the look of triumph on Doctor Reifsynder's face as she led her enthralled guests from room to room explaining to them the new methods of medicine and surgery."

    Dr. Way-Sung New stated, "...I was impressed by the various tales of how the famous Dr. Reifsnyder could remove abdominal tumors forty or fifty pounds in weight, how she could amputate a leg, how she could deliver "lots of babies" into this world every month. In fact I was told that I myself was brought into this world through her help."

A letter (379-2-4) from the Shanghai Committee of Margaret Williamson Hospital written in April 1906 to Mrs. Doremus stated:

    "For years the two doctors [Dr. Reifsnyder and Dr. Garner] in charge have done wonders. To our deepest regret Dr. Reifsnyder's health has broken down. As General Manager and seeing to the business...we may hope to have her for many years still with us, but for the necessary operations and heavy work she has done in the past, she is unable to undertake now...Here, we would like to express our deepest respect and admiration of these two women who have given up their lives to so noble a work, with everything against them: climate, language, and general surroundings."

She recovered and stayed in China until her furlough in 1910 and then returned two years later. By 1914 she again was on furlough and in 1916 she wished to return to China but the board wouldn't allow her because of her health.

MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP (Collection 136) was founded in 1944 under the leadership of Lt. James C. Truxton, with the name Christian Airmen's Missionary Fellowship. In 1947 the name was changed to MAF. Material in this collection include office files, including correspondence with MAF missionaries, with other missions served by MAF, and with the general public, technical bulletins, publications, prayer letters, and photographs.

A researcher wrote wanting to know if the Archives had photographs of her great-grandfather, George E. Fisk. I searched and located photographs, letters, and other information about him in the records of MAF. Fisk was a missionary to Borneo who was shipwrecked in 1946 near Australia. In his MAF file (136-23-68) is information on this event including a report written by Fisk, "Shipwrecked...Safe", along with a photo of his family. There is also a newspaper clipping and an article by his wife reporting on the incident. From the Fisk photo file we see Fisk with some artifacts, probably from Borneo, and a photo of him and his wife.

The AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS (Collection 261) was established in 1810 as the first American foreign mission agency. Even though it was Congregational in orientation it did accept missionaries of various denominational backgrounds. Missionaries letters, journals, and reports are in the microfilm edition of this collection. All 858 reels of microfilm are available for research. There is a published guide to these materials with an index to the missionaries including their place and date of service and corresponding microfilm reels to view. Highlighted here is the entry for Mrs. Ann Dana, who had been with the mission from 1848 to 1853 working at the Choctaw Mission School in Wheelock (Oklahoma Territory). Her letters are on microfilm reel 761. A report dated 17 July 1849 describes the status of the school and stated that Mrs. Dana had been a teacher there for twenty-five years. Mrs. Dana wrote a letter on 8 August 1853 from the home of her nephew, Edward Bunce, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, describing her struggle with poor health which eventually resulted in her retirement from the mission.

    The work I had 5 years been engaged in, my heart truly delighted in; I was never weary of training & teaching those young Choctaws & till I received that severe shock, a year since, which tore up the foundation on which my ability to labor was based; I could not bring my mind to be willing to leave so useful & interesting a field. I have been a great sufferer. I tried to rise above it, and I kept up as long as I could, but the system gave way at last entirely. There were time when the bones over the brain seemed to be drawing asunder, & they did, till a finger could be laid in, within the opening. My memory was greatly affected and my thoughts were not under my control...It was the 9th [?] of June that the circumstance occured, and I continued to attend to my duties as I well could, often being obliged to cease for a time even in school. Brother & sister & Miss Ker were away, so that the necessity of the case compelled me to make every exertion; but at last I had no farther power granted me. God saw fit to permit me to be laid aside entirely. The trustees dismissed the school.

AMERICAN HOME MISSIONARY SOCIETY (Collection 142) A group of small missionary societies, the earliest of which was the Young Men's Missionary Society of New York (formed in 1815) along with the New York Evangelical Missionary Society (formed in 1816) and other small agencies combined to make up the United Domestic Missionary Society in 1822. This group was supported by Reformed Churches and the Presbyterian Church. In May 1826, representatives from Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches met to form the American Home Missionary Society. During the convention, the United Domestic Missionary Society voted to merge with them. Materials in the microfilm collection of 385 reels include incoming and outgoing correspondence, administrative materials, annual reports and the Society's periodical, The Home Missionary. The purpose of the society was to support of young congregations of Christians on the American frontier until such time as the congregation could become self-sufficient. There are yearly missionary tables on reel one which first need to be searched to determine where the missionary served. Then the correct film can be searched for that missionary.

Another researcher was looking for letters of Ole Andrewson who had worked with the AHMS in the 1850s. I checked the missionary tables for 1853-1860 and found that he had been in Wisconsin with the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church (1854-1855), the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Illinois (1855-1856), and back in Wisconsin with the German Evangelical Church and later the Norwegian Lutheran Church (1857-1860). In his report of 4 March 1858 he states that his report was late again because he was away from home for the months of January and February assisting a brother Hatlesteed with a revival. In the Missionary Boxes section of the report he requests a second time for a box of clothing, which possibly would be used for his family. He then continues writing:

    My family consists of wife & seven children. The oldest, a girl 12, 2 boys 9 & 11, girl 7, boy 5, two girls 3 & 1 years. I have also my mother to suport, [sic] of fable health at 70 years old. And now may the love of God, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ & the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, amen.

    Yours in Christ, O. Andrewson

And then he added a practical P.S. "Please send me a draft of $31.50."

The AMERICAN SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION (Collection 168) began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1817 as the Sunday and Adult School Union and adopted its present name in 1824. Non-denominational as an organization, it drew members from the Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Moravian, Dutch Reformed, Congregational, Lutheran, German Reformed, and Friends churches. The object of the ASSU was to establish Sunday schools, which were then left to "their own free choice" concerning denominational affiliation. ASSU management was composed of laymen, but its missionary effort was carried on almost entirely by clergymen.

There is a published guide to these records containing an alphabetical name index, with locations where the individual worked, an index to workers by the state they labored in, and a chronological index to the microfilm reels. In the index the letter "C" indicated there are correspondences for this individual and the letter "R" for reports. At random I picked L.Milton Marsh from the index and found his monthly report written on 29 October 1859 from Neenah, Winnebago County, Wisconsin.

    Herewith I send you my monthly report...Had a hard but pleasant time last Sabbath, rode 22 miles on horseback, spoke 3 times in all 2 hours & all listened with close attention, the people are waiting to be stirred up...I hope to receive a letter occasionally from the Schools to whom my letters are sent that a mutual interest may be awakened so I may always have a remembrance in their prayers & if I may be instrumental for the salvation of some souls my hearts desire will be attained. In Christian love, I remain Yours truly, L. Milton Marsh.

SHORT TERMS ABROAD (Collection 179) was a nondenominational evangelically-oriented service agency, incorporated in 1965 and functioned until 1976, when the organization merged with Intercristo. The purpose of STA was to encourage missions to use short-term staff, provide a means of screening personnel to mission groups who were temporarily in need of specialized skills or augmentation of staff, and offer opportunities of service in the mission field to those who could serve only a short time as opposed to making a lifetime commitment

The collection consists of correspondence, personnel files, bulletins, newspapers, posters, publications, legal documents, photos, mailing lists, minutes of meetings, and other items pertaining to the operation of the organization. The personnel files are more interesting and informative for the family historian. A complete alphabetical list of all personnel files are printed in the guide. The application for Rev. R. Bronleewe gives his date of birth, birthplace, address, race, etc. The application for his wife, Ruth, give similar information for her. The date the STA office received the form is stamped near the top of the page.

MOODY CHURCH (Collection 330) in Chicago, Illinois was formed as the Illinois Street Church in 1864 from an outgrowth of a Sunday school started by Dwight Lyman Moody. After Moody died in 1899 the church was renamed Moody Memorial Church. The records of the church contain correspondence, reports, scrapbooks, church bulletins, minutes of meetings, membership registers, cards, and files, and baptismal records, marriages performed at the church, death records and other records.

The guide to the Moody Church records states that "the membership records of the church are another rich source of information about the congregation. Besides yielding genealogical information, the materials in these files document the development of the church over the years and offer many glimpses into the everyday life and beliefs on the individual members. Church membership cards which were kept for each member, giving basic information such as when he or she joined the church, address, etc."

Click to go to a list of the people for whom there are membership cards in the records of Moody Church.

Here are examples of two church membership cards from box 44, folder 8.

William McBirnie's card states that he was born in Liverpool, England and was attending the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He had contact with a A. S. Porter in Arkansas and was converted in Toronto, Canada. These cities should be check for records about him. The card for Mrs. Norman Minogue has very little information about her except for the most important to family historians, her maiden name, Anna Erickson. The records of Toccoa Fall Institute in Georgia and Nyack Missionary Training School in New York should be check since it appears she may have attended these institutes.

There are several boxes of membership files in this collection (330-45-1 through 51-2) which are arranged alphabetically by members name, although often there is no order within a particular file. Among the types of documents that can be found in a file are letters transferring membership from Moody to another church or from another church to Moody, certificates of membership, documents relating to an investigation or criticisms of a member's conduct, letters from members explaining what the church means to them or giving them reasons for leaving and much miscellaneous material.

Samples of some documents from the "M" membership file (330-48-4) randomly chosen are:

    Harriett E. Moore's application for membership in the Moody Church, 2 Oct. 1919

    Transfer of church membership for Sarah Minuar from the Second Reformed Church in Rochester, New York, to Chicago Avenue Church, 6 Dec. 1897

    Certificates of reception dated 1916 for Allen Morrison, Methodist Episcopal Church, North Judson, Indiana and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Mountain, First Methodist Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Iowa

    Letter from Sam Mitchell of Kansas City, MO requesting a "letter of dismission to the First Congregational Church of this city."

    Letter from George Moody requesting "Church letter sent to the Walnut St. Baptist Church of Waterloo, Ia."

    Letter from Moody church clerk to George Moody regarding a previous letter of dismissal give to him and his wife in 1914. "In going over our records, I find that on July 14, 1914, letter of dismissal were granted to Mrs. Moody and yourself to the Presbyterian Church of Aconanda, Montana"

There are several large books containing membership registers (330-51-4, 5 & 52-1) which often give the address and marital status of each member and indicate if the member had left, died, or was dismissed.

The death register of church members covers the period from 1922 to 1941. Information given was sometimes the birth date, the death date, the undertaker, and the cemetery. In this example note the age of Elaine Scorga (5 years), the relationship of Mrs. Georgia Sandborn to Mr. Thos. Smith (first wife's mother), and the information on Thomas Stephens (elder of Moody Church)

The marriage register begins in 1922 and ends in 1940. Note that Pastor Harry A. Ironside performed the marriage of Chester Humphries and Florence Shrock (fifth entry down) in the Moody Church. In Pastor Ironside's Life Record book (1900-1948) the same marriage (top entry) is recorded with the ages listed for Chester (40) and Florence (27) and the amount given to the pastor ($5.00). In the same Life Record book are lists of baptism and funeral services performed by Ironside. The baptismal entries are only list the date of baptism and whether the person was an infant or adult. This is a page from the funeral service entries. Note that the deceases' age, place of residence, and whether he or she was a church member is given. Look at the entry for November 9, 1935. That's the famous former baseball player turned preacher Billy Sunday. Ironside preached his funeral at Moody Church. A copy of his message is on the Archives' website. An interesting item was tucked into Ironside's book and gives a glimpse into the life of Dr. Gardiner. It reads as follows:

    Dr. James Creighton Gardiner
    Born in February 1854 in Cavan Township, Ontario, Canada. Died August 29, 1931 at 4 o'clock very peacefully. Leaves a widow to whom he was married in 1901, and a daughter, Miss Mabel Gardiner. He was converted as a lad, joined the Wesleyan Methodist Church when 21 years of age. Was a class leader and office bearer for many years. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Hemenway M.E. Church of Evanston, with which he had been affiliated since 1907, and of which he was a teacher of the Adult Bible Class. He practiced dentistry for 33 years in Chicago, and the last two years in Evanston.

Newsletters of Moody Church were The Moody Church Herald and The Moody Church News. The Evangelism & Missions Collection (formerly BGC Library) has an incomplete set of copies of the Herald from 1909-1916 and of the News from 1923 to 1980. The May 1927 issue of The Moody Church News contains information on illnesses, marriages, deaths, and personal facts on church members. The "Personal Mention" column lists eight illness, one accident and one operation. Three marriages and three deaths are listed in their respective columns. Correspondences received by the church are also listed in the "A Letter or Two" section. The first entry for Mr. J.S. Fiddler states that he joined the Church in 1891 and went to China in 1896 and recently wrote a letter from Kansu. A more extensive article, in this issue, was written about the martyrdom of CIM missionary Morris Slichter and his three year old daughter, Ruth Irene. His wife and six year old son, John, survived.

There are many archival other collections which contain some information the family historian would be interested in. Stanley Kline (Collection 477) was a missionary with Africa Inland Mission to the Belgian Congo for almost forty years. Over the years he collected clippings, photographs, programs, typed and handwritten notes for almost all of the AIM staff from the 1930s on. These were pasted onto loose leaf notebook paper and arranged alphabetically in twenty-four notebooks. This is an important record of AIM missionaries. Here is an example from Photo Album XX for Rev. Willis Hotchkiss. He was with the first group of missionaries to travel to Africa in 1895. As you can see from the note he resigned in 1899. What happened? Why only four years on the mission field? By check the August/September 1899 issue of AIM's magazine, Hearing and Doing, we find out that he resigned so that he could organize a Mission in Africa to represent the Friends Church, of which he was a member.

Another collection with genealogical information is Collection 562, Roger W. and Mary Fickett Howes, missionaries to China from 1925-1945. In folder 1-4 labeled "Certificates and Legal Documents" the follow materials were found. Here is a transcript of his certificate of birth. Note that he was born in Massachusetts, this will be important when we look at another document. Next is the marriage registry for the Howes with their signatures at the bottom and names of their fathers. This is Roger's U.S. Certificate of Naturalization which state that he was a Canadian citizen. Why would he need to be naturalized since he was born in Massachusetts? Well, according to his daughters he was taken to Canada as a young child and became a citizen there. Also in the folder is the will for Roger Howes. Note his strong Christian witness in the first paragraph.

    I, Roger Williams Howes, of the City of Tucson, County of Pima, State of Arizona, being of sound mind and disposing memory, realizing the uncertainty of this life, and with full confidence and trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in His death for my sins on the cross and in His shed blood as an atonement for my soul, and knowing that by faith in His sacrifice on the cross for me I have eternal life, do hereby make, publish and declare this instrument to be my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former Wills and Codicils made by me, and I hereby will and dispose of all the property of which I am the owner at my death in the following manner.

Some miscellaneous genealogical items of interest are in several other collections. Dr. Lemuel Nelson Bell a Presbyterian medical doctor to China and father-in-law of Billy Graham once applied and was accepted into the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution through his great, great, great, great grandfather, Samson Mathews. That's four time great grandfather. Mathews was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Augusta County, Virginia, militia and fought in the battle of Yorktown. Bell's application papers are in Collection 8, box 1, folder 38 and may be viewed by researchers.

An interesting chart showing the Ancestry of Dwight Lyman Moody is in Collection 318, box 38, folder 10. It traces Moody's ancestry ten generations back to Edmund Moody who supposedly saved the life of King Henry VIII. The photo is from the D. L. Moody photo file.

Most of us have heard about the "Mutiny on the Bounty" and possibly have seen the film by the same title. In Collection 146 - Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge on microfilm Reel 38 is the "Pitcairn Island Register." Births, deaths, marriages, and remarkable family events are recorded. Note the entry for the year 1793.

    Massacre of part of the mutineers by the Tahitians. The Tahiti men all killed, part by jealousies among themselves, the others by the remaining Englishmen. Mary Christian born.


The following is a quote from the Archives' Frequently Ask Question page. "The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been holding evangelistic meetings in cities across the United States and around the world for almost half a century. Some of these campaigns were led by Billy Graham, other by his associates. In many cases, a particular city or town will have had several BGEA campaigns over the years. In each campaign, the BGEA staff involve dozens of local pastors, arrange for combined choirs from many churches and train dozens, hundreds or thousands of people to server as ushers or counselors. In many cases, we have the lists of people who participated in this way."

In the BGEA: Oral History Project - Collection 141 there oral history audio tapes and transcripts of hundreds of persons who had some involvement with the BGEA, Billy Graham, or an international or regional congress on evangelism. An alphabetical list of all interviewees is printed in the guide. He is a portion of that list. Note the variety of occupations of some of these individuals: Ethel Waters, jazz musician, actress, soloists in crusades; W. T. Watson, president of Trinity Bible College; Bill Webster, bank executive; Benjamin Weiss, former high school principal, Sara Welch, legal secretary, converted at 1978 Las Vegan crusade; Elizabeth Wenger, homemaker. You might find out some interesting information about these people.

The Archives does not have the decision cards which were filled out by inquirers at crusades. The 1959 BGEA: Wheaton Crusade Follow-up Cards - Collection 28 contains cards which were sent to local pastors for follow-up and then returned to the crusade committee. As you can see by this example they contain very little information.

Testimonies of hundreds of Christian can be found in:

    Collection 26 - BGEA Audio Tapes
    Collection 113 - BGEA Films and Videos
    Collection 191 Hour of Decision Radio Programs, etc.

All the documents I've mentioned tell stories about those who went out to serve the Lord. We see only glimpses of their lives through the records left behind. Through their struggles, successes, disappointments, etc. we can vicariously experience what it was like to walk in their shoes. I close with a letter written by AIM missionary John Buyse from Collection 81, box 19, folder 16. It is dated January 17, 1918.

    When you receive this letter you doubtless have learned from the Africa Inland Office as to the death of my dear little wife and my little girl.

    We expected the baby to arrive about the middle of February. Wife had been well right along until last week when she took a severe cold which resulted in a hard cough and severe pain all over the body which was almost unbearable. Five times the Lord removed the pain in answer to prayer. The permanent deliverance came when on Tuesday, 1:30 A.M., she gave birth to a perfect but dead baby girl. Baby was normal and weight between eight and nine pounds. It looked just like its mother and had long black hair. Wife felt well during the day. At might she took suddenly ill and died peacefully at 8:30 P.M. She had a chill at night which caused a high fever.

    I had buried baby with my own hands that same day, but I took it up again next morning and placed it in the same bamboo coffin with wife. Wish you could have seen them lying together, baby in wife's arms. They just looked as if they were enjoying a peaceful sleep. A party of missionaries from a distant station came to help me bury them.

    The Lord has taken all that was dear to me on earth. Why? Because He loved us so much that He wanted a gift, a real love gift, the best I had. Should I refuse Him? A thousand times, No. He has blessed wonderfully in the trial. No rebellious thoughts, no why has entered my heart. Just loving submission to His loving will. I never felt Him so near as these past few days. My dear little wife and baby girl are in glory. Their death is going to be used by God to save this wicked, God-refusing tribe. It will be a glorious day when the earth will open up and my dear ones will enter their new bodies. They have met Jesus now.

    We were married 13 months. She has enriched my life, and our fellowship has been sweet. She was the all-round missionary. I miss her in every way but the Lord will make up for all things He wants done.

    Yours in the One who said, "Behold, I come quickly,"

    (Signed) John G. Buijse

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Wheaton College 2006