Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Pastor's Ledger

How would a pastor in the 19th century keep track of, well, everything a 19th century pastor has to keep track of? I'm sure each pastor had their own way of organizing hymns, psalms, sermons, baptisms and marriages, but Herbert B. Roberts used The Pastor's Ledger, A Private Record Book For The Pastor's Study, Arranged Upon A Convenient And Original Plan by F.A. Blackmer, With The Aid of Many Pastors. For The Recording Of All Pastorial Labor,  Also A Church Directory. This ledger was published by Bardwell, Blackmer, & Co. in 1889 and sold for $2.25. Herbert B. Roberts served as pastor for the Scotia First Reformed Church from 1901 to 1923, before that he was the pastor at the Berne Reformed Church. His ledger documents much of his time at Berne.

The ledger was arranged into six different sections, sermons, prayer meetings, baptisms, church accessions, marriages, and funerals. It also has a useful church directory that lists church members along with their address, when and for what reason they saw the pastor, age (usually confession or a certificate) and remarks which often state when the parish member died. In Herbert B. Robert's ledger, he crosses out the address and uses the space for the maiden name of female parishioners which is potentially more useful than address. Images of the ledger can be seen below.

The title page of The Pastor's Ledger

Pastor Roberts' sermons during his first few months at Scotia Reformed.

The pages listing funerals has information on the cause of death, where the funeral took place as well as where the deceased was buried making it a useful genealogy resource.

Part of the pastor's church directory from his time at Berne.