We receive many requests from genealogy researchers who come across United Brethren references, such as:
Since we are the only denomination with “United Brethren” in the name, they contact us to see if we can help track down further information. Other times, we get confused with other “brethren” groups–Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Grace Brethren, Mennonite Brethren, etc.
Most genealogy requests don’t involve the current United Brethren in Christ denomination. Our group descends from maybe 15,000 people who, in 1889, broke away from a denomination of over 250,000 people. In the process, we lost almost all church properties and, basically, started over.
Until the 1940s, two denominations used the name “Church of the United Brethren in Christ.” The other (much larger) group, after a merger in 1946, became the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1968, they merged into what is now the United Methodist Church.
We are the only group still using the “United Brethren” label, which is why so many people come to us when they discover an ancestor attached to that label. But usually, their ancestor was part of the other group.
The United Brethren Historical Center, located at Huntington University, contains all of our historical records. For a fee, they can conduct geneology research for you. Here is information about the genealogical services they provide. The following is from their website:
Since genealogy is not the primary focus of the Historical Center, and because of limited staff, we ask that you direct your request for genealogical research to an independent researcher that is associated with the Historical Center. Robert Kaehr (right) will handle all phone, mail and email requests for a fee. You may also visit the Center to perform your own research.
The UBHC is open to the general public during regular hours and by appointment. There is only one staff member, so it is best to call because the Historical Center is closed when staff is out of town.
Phone number: (260) 359-4157
Fax number: (260) 358-3698
For genealogical request only, please email Robert Kaehr: firstname.lastname@example.org
All other research requests should be directed to Randy Neuman: email@example.com
Most genealogy requests, however, concern ministers and churches which were part of the “other” United Brethren church which is now part of the United Methodist Church. So chances are, you really need to check the United Methodist archives. Here are United Methodist Church links that might be helpful.