Bradford, Massachusetts. First Church of Christ records, 1682-1915.

Collection Information
Title:

Bradford, Mass. Frist Church of Christ records, 1682-1915.

Creator(s):

First Church of Christ (Bradford, Mass.)

Dates:

1682-1915

Extent:

1 box (0.5 cubic feet)

3 reels 35mm microfilm: service copy, master print & archival master (0.06 cubic feet)

1497 unique images: archival TIFF, derivative JPEG & PDF

Collection ID #:

RG4843

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to the original ledgers and archival and print master microfilm is restricted. Access to digital copies via online interface and to service copy microfilm is unrestricted. Please consult the librarian or archivist for further information.

Technical Access:

A microfilm reader is required to access the service copy reel of microfilm. To access the digital user's copies via online-interface, a java-enabled web browser is required. Internet Explorer 8.x and later, Firefox 5.x and later, Opera 12 and later, Safari 5.x and later, or any version of Google Chrome are recommended. Digital copies may be accessed here: http://www.congregationallibrary.org/nehh/BradfordMAFirst4843.

Copyright: Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], in the Bradford, Mass. First Church of Christ records, RG4843. The Congregational Library & Archives, Boston, MA.

Additional Resources:

Item-level metadata is available for digital files. Please contact the library for more information.

Language:

English

Processing information:

Collection re-described by Sari Mauro in September 2013 in accordance with DACS 2013. Portions of description written by Robin Duckworth.

Abstract:

The First Church of Christ in Bradford was formed in 1682, just ten years after the town (previously called Merrimack for its location along the river) officially changed its name. Originally part of Rowley until it petitioned the General Court for separation in 1668, the church became known for its benevolent work and was the site of the 1810 state-wide meeting that established the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The ledgers contain the records of the church, most notably vital statistics, minutes of church meetings, records of treasurer's reports, and examples of correspondence.

Acquisition Information:

Placed on permanent loan by First Church of Christ, Bradford, Massachusetts, in 2008.

Accruals:

Accruals are expected for this collection in the form of full-text transcription of digital duplicates. There is no projected date for this accrual.

Historical Note

The First Church of Christ in Bradford was formed in 1682, just ten years after the town (previously called Merrimack for its location along the river) officially changed its name. It was originally a part of Rowley until it petitioned the General Court for separation in 1668, called its first minister, Rev. Zechariah Symmes of Charlestown, and built the first meetinghouse. The East Parish was formed in 1726, and was later incorporated as the town of Groveland in 1850. When Bradford hosted the General Association meeting in 1810, a group of students and clergy set forth a proposal that quickly gave rise to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). Two young women of the congregation – Ann Judson and Harriet Newell – were among the first missionaries sent out by the American Board, and many other missionary groups and training programs emerged in the area. The town was annexed by the city of Haverhill in 1897, but First Church of Christ in Bradford remains separate from First Congregational Church in Haverhill.

 

Scope of Collection

This collection contains records pertaining to both the church and the parish. Included are records of vital statistics, membership, covenants, financial reports, ministerial salaries, church meeting minutes, ecclesiastical councils, and pew subscriptions. Also included are records pertaining to the dissolution of the Parish and the shifting of administrative control to Church officers in 1915.

This collection is part of New England's Hidden Histories. Digital historical representations of this collection can be viewed online.

 

Further Searches

Subject Headings

Bradford (Mass.) - Church history.

Church records and registers - Massachusetts - Bradford.

Ecclesiastical Council - Massachusetts.

Baptismal records.

Necrologies.

Church membership.

Marriage records – Massachusetts.

Covenant (Church polity) - Congregational churches.

 

Related Materials

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. Construction. Image.

Bradford, MA : First Church of Christ. 17.11.1 B72.7 FIRCC

 

Arrangement

Collection is contained in five (5) volumes and arranged into two series: Church Records and Parish Records. The volumes in each series are arranged chronologically. All volumes are duplicated in service copy microfilm reel and in digital format. Digital format is posted online where all five volumes are viewable.

 

Contents

Series I: Church Records

Date 1682-1820, 1824-1904
Extent 2 Volumes
Scope of Series This series contains records of the church. Included are the founding covenant, membership records, vital statistics, marriage and baptismal records, records of church discipline, records of the bicentennial celebration, and notes on missionary work.
  Date Location
Church Records 1682-1806, 1824 Volume 1
Reel 1 of 1
Online Interface
  The first volume primarily contains membership records and vital statistics, including admissions and dismissions, marriages, and baptisms. It also has a copy of the original covenant signed by the founding members and records of church business. The original book was damaged by both water and fire, resulting in text that is sometimes incomplete or difficult to read. In an attempt to capture as much text as possible, pages were imaged multiple times in the microfilming and digitization process.
Church Records 1824-1904 Volume 2
Reel 1 of 1
Online Interface
  The second volume begins at the installation of Rev. Ira Ingraham, and mostly consists of administrative records. It includes notes about missionary work, discipline of members, selection of ministers, and preparations for the church's bicentennial celebration. There is also a short section at the end listing membership records for most of the 19th century.
   

Series II: Parish Records

Date 1739-1915
Extent 3 volumes
Scope of Series This series contains records of the parish which generally tend to address financial and administrative concerns. Included are records financial accountings, including ministerial salaries and pew subscriptions, correspondence, and records pertaining to the 1915 dissolution of the Parish. Also included are membership lists for the 19th and 20th centuries.
  Date Location
Parish Records 1738-1852 Volume 3
Reel 1 of 1
Online Interface
  Parish records generally refer to financial and real estate matters. This volume includes treasurers' reports, ministerial salaries, pew subscriptions, and general expenses of maintaining the building and its staff.
Parish Records 1787-1866 Volume 4
Reel 1 of 1
Online Interface
  This volume contains both parish financial records and administrative records, as well as correspondence relating to the matters discussed at meetings of church committees. There is also a section toward the end listing members for the early 19th century.
Parish Records 1852-1915 Volume 5
Reel 1 of 1
Online Interface
  These records mostly pertain to annual meetings, including the 1915 decision to dissolve the Parish as a corporation and hand over its duties to the officers of the church. It also contains a list of new members for the early 20th century.

 

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