This second part focuses on the records generated by the Community of Christ (RLDS). Although this church was not officially reorganized until 1860, it is important to remember its roots and membership extend back to 1830. The period 1844-1860 in Latter Day Saint history was one of redefining identity for many Mormons.
Susan Easton Black’s monumental six volume work Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1993) is a major resource to begin your research. Just be aware there are some errors in this work. There are many Irish born in these biographical sketches.
The majority of the church’s records are held at the Community of Christ Archives in Independence, Missouri. Large segments of the collection are on microfilm at the Family History Library: www.familysearch.org in Salt Lake City.
Some of the major collections include “Archival Holdings” which include original documents by individuals such as letters, licenses, journals, diaries and autobiographical material; Branch Records, known as “Local Jurisdictional Record Books,: and are the records of the individual congregations; “Certificate of Child Blessing Card File,” an alphabetical card index to priesthood blessings given to newborn children or young children; “Deceased Membership Files,” cover information from 1860; “Early Church Membership Records (1852-1908),” which details religious information such as baptismal,
confirmation, ordinations, transfers and removals, and expellings; “Early Reorganization Minutes (1851-1872)”; “RLDS Membership Record Book (1872-1905),” containing the branch records of membership, blessing of children, ordinations and excommunications; “Saints’ Herald,” the official periodical of the church, dating from 1860; “Saints’ Advocate (1878-1886),” documents the RLDS missionary activities among the Utah Church.
For further reference in understanding the historic positions of the church, I recommend the following works: F. Henry Edwards, Our Legacy of Faith: A Brief History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (1991); Richard P. Howard, The Church Through the Years. 2 vols. (1992-1993); Peter A. Judd and A. Bruce Lindgren. An Introduction to the Saints Church (1976); Alan D. Tyree, ed. Exploring the Faith: A Series of Studies in the Faith of the Church Prepared by a Committee on Basic Beliefs (1987).