Because the keeping of vital records began late in the history of Pennsylvania, church records play a  major roll in family history research. It is important that the researcher know the religious affiliation of their ancestor and be able to identify the church or churches their ancestor attended.

Ministers assigned to a particular church may have “rode the circuit’ to outlying areas to perform marriages, etc. for their followers. Records for itinerant (circuit riders) ministers may be recorded in their personal records or the records of the church where they are assigned. County histories may help to identify pastors who served in particular counties and what churches they were assigned too.