Can you offer some searching tips for my locating congregational histories of exisiting Unitarian Universalist churches?

Searching is not always easy. Typically for a congregational history, we use a grouping of subject headings like these:

  • Unitarian churches -- New York (State) -- New York -- History.
  • Unitarian Church of All Souls (New York, N.Y.) -- History.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Church history.
  • Universalists -- Ohio -- North Olmstead -- History.
  • First Universalist Church (North Olmsted, Ohio) -- History.
  • North Olmsted (Ohio) -- Church history.
  • Universalists -- Massachusetts -- Provincetown -- History.
  • First Universalist Church (Provincetown, Mass.)
  • Provincetown (Mass.) -- Church history.
  • Unitarian Universalist churches -- Massachusetts -- Milton -- History.
  • First Church (Milton, Mass.) -- History.
  • Milton (Mass.) -- Church history.
  • Unitarian Universalist churches -- New Hampshire -- Nashua -- History.
  • First Unitarian Congregational Society (Nashua, N.H.) -- History.
  • First Universalist Parish in Nashua (Nashua, N.H.) -- History.
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua (Nashua, N.H.) -- History.
  • Nashua (N.H.) -- Church history.
  • Universalists -- New Hampshire -- Portsmouth -- History.
  • First Universalist Church (Portsmouth, N.H.) -- History.
  • Portsmouth (N.H.) -- Church history.
  • Unitarian Universalists -- New Hampshire -- Keene.
  • Keene Unitarian Universalist Church (Keene, N.H.) -- History.
  • Keene (N.H.) -- Church history.
  • Unitarians -- Colorado -- Colorado Springs.
  • Unitarian churches -- Colorado -- Colorado Springs.
  • All Souls Unitarian Church (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

There are some inconsistencies. Either “Universalists” or “Universalist churches” – usually not both. Either “Unitarians” or “Unitarian churches” – usually not both.

Usually the denominational choice between “Unitarian Universalist churches” and “Unitarian” or “Universalist,” is based on the date the history was written. The Keene example is a good one—had that history been written before the merger and before they changed their name, the heading would have been “Unitarian” or “Unitarian churches.” Usually we would use “Unitarian Universalist churches” for any history written after the merger, but that’s not always the case.

If the name of the congregation has been established by the Library of Congress (, we use that name. If not, we use the name most used in published works and cross-references are made to other names if they can be ascertained. That means you could find “First Universalist Church (Lawrence, Mass.)” or “Church of the Good Shepherd (Lawrence, Mass.)” depending on what they called themselves in published works (I don’t think there is a history of this church but it was an easy to find example).

A lot of older cataloging may have only be one or two of these headings, and there are currently about 10,000 UU pamphlet records that have not been upgraded and have no subject headings, although the congregation name and place may be in the title or another entry.

More Help Options

Email Your Question

Use our simple form to email a librarian your question. We usually respond to questions within 24 hours (M-F).


Request a Research Appointment

Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources.

Request an Appointment