What Happened to the Old Church Records of Freysville?
The November 2nd, 2014 meeting of the South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society was held at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Freysville. Richard Konkel presented the program on the early history of Frey’s Church. Richard raised the question, “What happened to the Old Church Records of Freysville?” There are only two churches in all of York County where the early church records are missing; Frey’s Church is one of them.
As early as 1742, Conrad Fry (Frey) owned 163-acres in the area. He established Burying Grounds on this land as early as 1748. In 1771, Conrad deeded 1.5-acres to Lutheran and German Reformed Congregations in the area to build a Union Church. Records indicate that first church building was about 200-yards from the Freysville crossroads; however the exact location of this earliest church is unknown. A foundation has never been discovered. Also, there may have been a second church building; that no longer exists.
The cornerstone for what was the second, or possibly third, Union Church was laid in 1851; this is now Emmanuel United Church of Christ at 1625 Windsor Road. The union arrangement was dissolved in 1909, at which time the Reformed Congregation purchased the 1851 church property. On the opposite corner of the crossroads, the Lutheran Congregation laid the cornerstone for their church in 1909; this is now Emanuel Lutheran Church at 2650 Freysville Road. The third congregation in Freysville is Methodist; their church is Zion United Methodist Church at 2595 Freysville Road.
All the early congregations were German. As such, I imagine the missing early church records could look something like the following mock up example. I created this sample baptism register page, just in case someone has these early church records and don’t realize what they have, since the writing is in German.
Anno 1777, at the top, records the year. The first column records the PARENTS: Michael and Anna Maria. The second column records the CHILD: Johannes, born 14 November , baptized 21 May . The third column records the SPONSORS: Joh. Conrad and wife.
Richard Konkel noted, in his presentation, that in the early 1920s, the missing records were examined for a 1925 history of the church. Within an account, about compiling the church history, it was noted that the early records were examined and that the earliest baptism was recorded in 1777, however no further details were offered. Since 1925, these records have not been seen.
Many people in York County descend from early members of Frey’s Church. I am one of them. I know of many family historians for whom these early church records could provide key finds at discovering significant details about their ancestors early history in York County. If anyone knows where these records are located, please consider making them available to the York County Heritage Trust, so that they can be copied and used by family historians for generations to come.
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