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This book is what all great genealogical books aspire to be. If I ever learn to write, I'd like to be able to write like John Humphrey. Masterfully weaving a combination of history, theology, and a thorough knowledge of the extant records, the author creates a tapestry of knowledge for the researcher confronting baptismal records. While focused in early Pennsylvania before and during the Revolutionary war, that Commonwealth's great flowering of religious freedom allowed many differing denominations to exist side by side. For this reason, the book is not just about Pennsylvania baptisms, but about the baptismal practices, record keeping traditions, and limitations of baptismal records for all the major denominations which found their way to America's shores in this period. Did your Catholics or Lutherans come over later? This book will still help you understand what might be in their local parish registers - both in the Old Country and here in America. And why don't the Quaker's baptize? I could go on with more examples of why this book is outstanding. Suffice it to say that in my personal research, this book helped me to better understand why the baptism records were made the way they were. I particularly enjoyed this book's coverage of the problems faced by parents out on the early frontier when they had an infant to be baptized. The paucity of clergy and the rarity of paper books goes a long way towards explaining the problems you'll encounter when searching for a pioneer baptism.
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