The St. Augustine Historical Society Research Library holds several collections of church records that are useful to researchers. The Roman Catholic Cathedral Parish of St. Augustine records, dating from 1594, are the oldest surviving ecclesiastic records in the United States. Church records in Puerto Rico begin in 1625. Images of the original records have been put online at Vanderbilt University; they are neither translated nor indexed.
The University of Florida has posted on-line translations of the same records by Emily L. Wilson, a long serving Librarian of the St. Augustine Historical Society. These can be accessed at:
Prior to 1735 all races are recorded in the same books.
Roman Catholic Church Records
Copies, Photostats and abstracts cover the years 1594 to 2003. All races are recorded in the same books until 1735 when non-whites are recorded in a separate book. Entries before 1821 are in Spanish and are difficult to read. There is a translated abstract in each folder with the page numbers noted. An index to the baptisms and marriages and copies of the abstracts are in the Reading Room, and should be consulted first.
The Research Library also holds microfilm of the records of the Cathedral Parish of St. Augustine and the Parish of San Pedro that was established in New Smyrna, Fla. in 1768 and moved to St. Augustine in 1777. These two parishes were the only Roman Catholic churches in eastern Florida until 1854. The parishes of St. Ambrose, St. Leopold, and Our Lady of Good Council, in St. Johns County, dating to just after the Civil War, are also included. The microfilmed books are in Spanish, Latin, and English. Roman Catholics arrange the data by parish, by race prior to the 1880s. Each book records one type of religious ceremony such as baptisms. The Research Library has translated abstractions of these records with indexes in the Reading Room.
Copies, Photostats and abstracts
Catholic Church records
Pardos, morenos, & indios (these terms refer to non-whites):
Our Lady of Good Counsel:
This church was located in New Smyrna and St. Augustine. The records, in Latin, are also known as the Golden Book of the Minorcans
Cathedral of St. Augustine, Fla. Parish Records
Church of San Pedro
Archive of the Diocese of Menorca, Spain 1566-1816
95 reels of microfilm
In 1997, the St. Augustine Historical Society in conjunction with the University of Florida, the University of Houston’s Recovering the Hispanic Heritage Project, The Menorcan Cultural Society, and Flagler College sent researchers to Menorca, Spain to microfilm the records of the Roman Catholic Diocese created prior to 1800. These documents are arranged by town (parish) then type of ceremony, and then date. The town of origin of the settler can be determined by using the Cathedral of St. Augustine Records for the late 18th century. There are three binders with an index to these records: these should be consulted first. Most data is in handwritten Latin; only the index is in typescript. The earliest records are from the town of Ciutadela in 1566. Also included are some civilian notary records from the city of Mahon and a census of Ciutadela from 1758.
Memorial Presbyterian Church
MC 24 This collection comprises the records, the majority of them business records, of the St. Augustine Presbyterian Church founded 1824 which then became Memorial Presbyterian Church in 1889. These are the original records and they are in English. Search MC24 on EMILY for a full list of the collections contents.
Trinity Parish Episcopal Church Records
The reel contains several books of Episcopal Church canonical records for the oldest Protestant church in Florida. The Episcopal Church arranges their data differently from the Roman Catholics. In each book, one will find a section on Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, Vestry Minutes, etc, covering a range of years. For example, Book 1 covers all topics from 1821-1854
All records are in English and all races are together in the same books. There are some records relating to St. Cyprian’s Mission included. The records of St Peter’s Church: Church of England during the British Period (1763-1784) have disappeared.
Vestry minutes 1860-1908
The library also maintains “vertical files”, which contain newspaper clippings, brochures, programs, and other ephemera about a particular topic. The library has vertical files for most denominations and individual St. Johns County religious organizations. What is in the file varies. There is a list of the vertical files relating to religious bodies in the library.