Use the Archives

Use the Archives

Information about Research & FAQ

Special Collections

Presbyterian Women Histories

Presbytery Records

Congregational Records

 

Information about Research & FAQ

Schedule an Appointment

Use the form here or contact the archivist by email at archives@ctsnet.edu or phone at 404-687-4628

Please visit here for a complete listing of services and pricing.

Reproduction services such as photocopying are available, but may be limited due to donor restrictions, copyright law, condition of the item, or other reasons.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. All responsibility for copyright infringement, questions arising from copyright, and the use of the copies provided is assumed by the person using the materials.

Individual Records Research

Our staff will search for records of baptism, marriage, and church membership of living individuals. The request must be from the individual or his/her legal representative.

The search fee is $10 and payments can be made to Columbia Theological Seminary.  Please note that we cannot guarantee a record of the baptism.  There are no refunds if information is unavailable.

First contact the archivist to ensure that we have the records from a given church for a specific time period. Please allow four to six weeks to process your request.

Our staff will also search for baptism, marriage, membership, and/or death records of deceased individuals. We charge a fee of $30.00 for one hour of research (no split hours). The fee includes up to 10 photocopies, 10 PDF scans, or 10 JPG images per request. Payment is required in advance. Please contact the archives to begin the research process.

Genealogical research needs to be conducted on-site at the archives. For information on hiring a local independent researcher, we recommend reaching out to the Georgia Genealogical Society and the Georgia chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Microfilm/Microform Use

A microfilm/microfiche reader is available for researchers in the microform area on 2W. Printing services for the microfilm/microfiche reader are currently unavailable.

Copies cost 5 cents per page, payable at the circulation desk.

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Special Collections

Special Collections support the mission of Columbia Theological Seminary by providing rare and historic materials that support the institution’s curriculum and research.
Special Collections is divided into three main areas: Rare Books, Columbia Seminary History & Faculty publications, and Columbia Seminary Advanced Degree Theses.   They are available through the library’s catalog.  The collection is open for in-person use by advance appointment.  To make an appointment, contact the Public Services Librarian Erica Durham at durhame@ctsnet.edu

Rare Books

The Rare Books collection is composed primarily of titles concerning the history and theology of the Reformed tradition published prior to 1831.  Strengths in this collection include reformed history, theology titles, missionary accounts, the covenanters/dissenters movement, Confession(s) of faith, and sermons.

CTS History & Faculty Publications

The CTS History & Faculty Publications includes materials about Columbia Theological Seminary history, books published by Columbia’s faculty, selected works by seminary administration and alumni, and the Columbia Series in Reformed Theology.

CTS Advanced Degrees Theses

The CTS Advanced Degree collection includes dissertations, projects, and theses from Columbia’s advanced degree programs.   More recent theses are available in print and electronic format through the institutional repository.

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Presbyterian Women Histories

Information about the Presbyterian Women Histories from their local churches (PC(USA) and PCUS) at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Q. I need information about submitting my church history/PW history (mailing address, format, type of paper, etc.). Where can I get that information?

A. Click HERE for a fact sheet about the histories (including a description of the types of paper that are acceptable), and here for a separate document about types of materials to use. Click HERE for information about collecting and preserving PW histories

Q. Which local church histories are at Columbia?

A. Columbia Seminary received all of the local church histories (often referred to as “the notebooks”) that were at Montreat, for all regions of the United States. The collection occupies eight library shelving ranges and continues to grow, thanks to the steady support and participation of hundreds of Presbyterian Women’s groups and their congregations. Please send Presbytery level history reports to the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.

Q. How can people get access to the local church histories?

A. The histories are available for onsite use and, in some situations, our staff can respond to questions by mail or by e-mail. The histories are presently maintained in their original, paper format only. They are not available online or by e-mail.

Q. Is a list available of all of the churches represented in the local church history collection?

A. As of April, 2011, the list of congregations represented in the church history collection is integrated into our archives online catalog. To see the entire collection, select “Core Collections” from the catalog search page and then select “Presbyterian Women History collection.” The histories are divided into series by state, and are listed alphabetically within each state. You can also search for individual congregations by the quick search or advanced search options. The complete list includes the names of over 5,800 congregations. Congregations that have merged, split, or changed names may be listed under one or all of the past and current names.

If you have additional questions, please contact us for assistance: Archives@CTSnet.edu

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Presbytery Records

The presbytery records at Columbia Theological Seminary include both records that were transferred from the Presbyterian Historical Society and records that have been deposited at the seminary since then. The denominations represented are current PC(USA) and former PCUS.

The Columbia Seminary Special Collections and Archives department continues to accept materials on deposit, including records of presbyteries and both active and dissolved congregations. For information about depositing records at Columbia Seminary, please contact the archivist.

A note on access: The policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to restrict access to all official denomination records on deposit that are less than 50 years old. If researchers wish to access these records, we require that they secure written permission from the records’ owners. If you believe this restriction will affect your research, please contact us for further instructions prior to visiting.

If you have any questions, please contact us for assistance.

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Congregational Records

The congregational records collection at Columbia Theological Seminary includes both records that were transferred from the Presbyterian Historical Society and records that have been deposited at the seminary since then. The denominations represented are current PC(USA), and former PCUS.

Records we accept

Session minutes and registers are of chief importance, but we also hold minutes of other church councils, including deacons, trustees, women’s associations and youth groups. Records are housed in a controlled archival storage area with security systems. Congregations retain ownership of the records on deposit and may request the return of records at any time with written authorization from the clerk of session.

How to deposit congregational records at Columbia Seminary

The CTS Special Collections and Archives department continues to accept materials on deposit, including records of active and dissolved congregations. For information about depositing records at Columbia Seminary, please contact the archivist.

How to preserve congregational records

The archives at Columbia Seminary follows the guidelines for records creation, retention, and preservation maintained by the Presbyterian Historical Society.   More information about conserving and digitizing records that may already be at risk can be found at the Presbyterian Historical Society.

Presbyterian Historical Society Preservation Grants

Congregations can apply for Heritage Preservation Grants of up to $500 here.

How to locate descriptions of records already deposited at Columbia Seminary

Catalog records for archives materials can be searched in the archives online catalog. Cataloging is an ongoing process; some of the collections in the archives are not yet described in the online catalog. If you do not find what you are looking for, contact us.

A note on access: The policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is to restrict access to all official denomination records on deposit that are less than 50 years old. If researchers wish to access these records, we require that they secure written permission from the records’ owners. If you believe this restriction will affect your research, please contact us for further instructions prior to visiting.

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