Reformed Church of America Information
The Reformed Church in America (RCA) was established when the Dutch
settled New Netherland. The first congregation was organized in 1628 on
Manhattan Island (New Amsterdam). Other congregations and settlements
were quickly established between Albany (Fort Orange) and New York City
during the following century. The Dutch migrated westward along the Mohawk
River and across the Hudson into New Jersey. From there they settled into
Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
The Archives include records from more than 240 congregations. Most
of them are from New York and New Jersey, but many other states where
the RCA had congregations are included also. When congregations are disbanded,
the records are transferred to the denomination's archives. Records are
transferred to the archives on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, we do not have the staff or financial resources to undertake
genealogical research for family historians. The best we can do at this
point in time is to advise as to the availability of the records and,
hopefully, point you in the right direction for further searching.
At times, we are able to undertake searches in particular congregational
records. In order to perform that research, the staff needs to know the
family name being researched, the years of the search, and the congregation
to be searched. The fee for this service is ten dollars per hour. Most
searches are thoroughly conducted in an hour.
The Archives also are available for research use by appointment with
a daily research fee of ten dollars. You are welcome to visit and undertake
the research yourself or to use the services of a local genealogist or
Records relating to German Reformed congregations
The records you are seeking may be records of the German Reformed Church.
That denomination, known as the Reformed Church in the United States,
merged to form the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and is now a part
of the United Church of Christ. Many of their records are stored at
The Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society
Philip Schaff Library
Lancaster Theological Seminary
555 West James Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
Records relating to Presbyterian Church congregations
You may be in need of some records relating to the Presbyterian Church.
Many of their records are stored in:
The Presbyterian Historical Society
425 Lombard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
For professional genealogical assistance
For research in the New Jersey area, especially in the Hunterdon, Somerset,
and Middlesex county areas, I suggest the services of Fred Sisser, III.
He is familiar with the holdings of the Archives, published the Somerset
County Genealogical Quarterly, and has done genealogical research for
a number of years. He can be contacted at
Post Office Box 6493
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Resources for research
Several resources can assist you in your Dutch-American research. The
Historical Directory of the Reformed Church in America, 1628-1992, is
a list of all ministers who served in the RCA and the churches and years
they served them, as well as a list of all organized congregations by
town with a list of the ministers who served the congregation. This volume
was edited by myself and was published by William B. Eerdmans, Co., Grand
Rapids, Michigan. Also published by Eerdmans is The Dutch Reformed Church
in the American Colonies, by Dr. Gerald De Jong. This is the best work
relating to the colonial period of the church.
A Guide to Local Church Records in the Archives of the Reformed Church
in America lists all the congregational records in our custody, provides
a brief sketch of the Dutch church in America, and offers some other useful
hints and helps for the family historian. It is available from this office
for $15.00 (postage included). If I can offer any additional information
or help, please let me know.
Russell L. Gasero
Church in America