Local Unit Records Research Guide
This research guide helps library users find and use the locally produced historical records of Church units (branches, wards, stakes, districts, and missions). These records can hold important historical information, such as the unit’s organization date, changes to the units’ officers over time, changes in unit names and jurisdictions, and descriptions of historical events that occurred in the unit. This information is largely contained in manuscript histories, minutes, and other historical records produced by the units and submitted to the Church History Department for preservation.
Generally, researching local unit organizational and historical information is very laborious and time consuming. Many of these records are handwritten (with no typed transcriptions), and few have been indexed. While most of the records have been microfilmed, digital copies have not yet been added in large numbers to the Church History Catalog.
The comprehensiveness and accuracy of local records depend almost entirely on the record-keeping skills, enthusiasm, and conscientiousness of unit clerks. Also, some records simply did not survive the ravages of time, or they never made it to the safekeeping of Church headquarters. (A post on the Church History Library blog, “Where Are the Records?” gives some insight into what may have happened to a unit’s records.) Finally, access policies may limit the use of some records. To understand why access restrictions may be in place, see our Access Policy.