Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tracing your Religious Affiliations

23rd & Delmar Church of God In Christ
Recently, I came across a picture of my maternal grandfather, George Watson with a group of people in a church setting.  As I looked at the picture I began to wonder what church was it taken in and the timeframe.  At that moment I realized in tracing my roots, I had not given much thought to looking at the clues in my family’s church affiliations.  My mother shared with me years ago her family attended 23rd and Delmar COGIC after they migrated to St. Louis and later to another assembly, Holy Ghost Tabernacle COGIC.  The photo had me intrigued, so I began to look into which church the photo was taken in and when.  I also wanted to know when they attended 23rd and Delmar and when the family moved to the next assembly, if it was possible to find out why?

Grandfather George - Back row on left & Daniel Gaines - Back row center

As I continued to look through the treasure trove I came across a calendar from 2008.  It was a calendar commemorating the church’s 100th year in existence. 

Elder & 1st Lady Bostick
I began looking through the calendar at other photos taken during the church’s history.

Men in Sanctuary

Outside the Church

Baptizing at the Riverfront - Mississippi River
Bingo!!  The background of this photo identified the church from above that included my grandfather.  Based on the dates of when the family migrated to St. Louis and other information shared, placed the timeframe somewhere in the early-1940s.

Inside Sanctuary at 23rd & Delmar COGIC

By the late 1940s the family, reason unknown, moved to another assembly, Holy Ghost Tabernacle COGIC.  Once again, my grandfather is shown in the photograph.

Holy Ghost Tabernacle COGIC
I went to visit a relative and showed both photos to her.  She identified another relative, my maternal grandmother’s brother Daniel captioned in the first photo and recognized her own picture in the one above - Holy Ghost Tabernacle!  In 1956 mother moved a final time to another assembly, Christ Southern MB Church.

When tracing your roots it is vital to leave no stone unturned.  Those small tidbits of information may lead you to key dates and important events where your ancestors were a part.


  1. Keep up the good work with determination and tenacity, you never know what you'll turn up.

  2. The Photos wer Awesome. Great Perspective about the History of the Church. This was a vital piece of our History and it can't be left out the our Narrative. You can glean so much information from these Church Histories. Great Piece Linda!

    1. Thank you True! Yes you can. It was very vital to our history.

  3. And photos, you might find some good photos! Did your family move closer to the churches they began attending? Although there can be many other reasons for changing church. Did any of the earlier churches split due to a church fight?

  4. Pastor Gore TRULY walked with the Lord!!! He Pastored our church, Christ Second Baptist, from 1950-1989. He declined at first due to the fact he was already pastoring, but he stated that the Lord gave him the vision of a "small, nude baby lying in the aisle needing care." He said the Holy Ghost told him to accept the pastorate, and we were truly blessed through his ministry. I believe we'll never see such a preacher and teacher on this side of glory!

  5. I see my granddaddy Rev.Allen Smith with his guitar

    1. Yep Rev Allen Smith, I am so glad I found this. by the way my name is Eric Smith, I was looking to see if I could find pics of His Wife Virlee Smith as well.

  6. Linda Simms are you or your husband related to any Simms from Winona, Montgomery County, Mississippi?