Religion Through History

Churches and the people who led and attended them.
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My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~ Dalai Lama XIV

Originally a colony of Great Britain and under the rule of King George III, the Founding Fathers of the United Sates were opposed to a state religion (King George III was the head of the Church of England as is Queen Elizabeth today). In fact, they even wrote it into the Constitution:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And yet, many today say that the U.S. is "a Christian nation". Indeed, Christianity is the most populous religion - followed by Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Worldwide, Christianity is also the most followed (2.4 billion), closely followed by Islam (1.8 billion). Then comes Agnostic/Atheistic (1.2 billion), Hinduism (1.15 billion) and Buddhism (521 million). Fifteen other religions (for instance, Judaism - 14 million and Chinese traditional religions - 394 million) round out the rest of us. So religion is a way of life for billions of the people around the world.

Some facts about religion in the United States:
  • Hindus have the highest rates of education among religious communities - 48% of all Hindus have a post-graduate degree.
  • The number of Mormons in the U.S. today are equal to the number of Anglicans/Episcopalians - 1.7% .
  • Six of the Supreme Court justices are Catholic and three are Jewish - about half of the population identifies as Protestant.
  • Only 10 U.S. states have weekly church attendance above 50% - they’re all in the South. 11 states have weekly church attendance below 33% - and no, one of them is not California or New York!
  • The Southern Baptist Convention has twice as many churches as the Catholic Church, despite having 1/4th the membership.
  • The first Muslims in the U.S. were African slaves - about 10% of slaves were Muslim.
  • 40% of the U.S.’s 1.2 million Buddhists live in Southern California.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the fifth largest religious organization - the Catholic Church (66 million), the Southern Baptism Convention (16.5 million), the United Methodist Church (8.4 million), and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. (8.2 million) are larger.

These are the photos of people practicing their religion in the past - the buildings, leaders, and congregants of the past two centuries. From weddings to baptisms to confirmations to funerals, most people have participated in at least one religious activity in their lives.
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A photo of Blanche Laravie posing for her Solemn First Communion at St. Peter's Church
People in this photo:
Jun 2, 1907 - Feb 20, 1988
Added May 27, 2015 by: Susan Pombrio
Susan Pombrio
85 favorites
A photo of Valdimar Eylands
People in this photo:
Mar 3, 1901 - Apr 12, 1983
Added Apr 14, 2015 by: Ragnar Ægisson
Ragnar Ægisson
4 favorites
A photo of Priscilla Allen Scroggins and family. The lady to the right is Priscilla Allen Scroggins. The oldest Methodist in the world. She was born on March 9, 1777 in South Carolina to William Allen.This photo was taken in 1893 when she was 116 years old. The newspaper article attests to this fact. Effectively making her (at the time) the oldest Methodist in the world! Born before the methodist church was officially established. She has been a Methodist since age 14 in 1791. Her father William Allen died in Ga at age 112. He was born in 1726 and died in 1838.
People in this photo:
Mar 9, 1777 - Nov 17, 1893
A photo of a portrait of Really A. Rabbi Jacobs. This is one of our ancient ancestors who practiced Judaism with fervor, enthusiasm, delight, tenderness, and the urge to fry up some latkes for the entire family.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Mar 18, 2015 by: Itcha Madeevie
Itcha Madeevie
4 favorites
A photo of Martha J Smigielski at Holy Communion
People in this photo:
Nov 11, 1912 - Feb 20, 2009
Added Feb 13, 2015 by: A.l. Smigielski
A.l. Smigielski
38 favorites
A photo of Hilary Andrew Leister at his Confirmation
People in this photo:
Jun 16, 1913 - Aug 16, 1994
Added Feb 10, 2015 by: Dev Fosbrink
Dev Fosbrink
54 favorites
A photo of Kate (Cunningham) Pilcher
People in this photo:
1876 - June 1948
Added Jan 24, 2015 by: Cathie Allen
Cathie Allen
108 favorites
Rev. John Walker's Church 2nd Creek Baptist, Hazard, Ky
People in this photo:
1867 - 1940
Added Jan 20, 2015 by: Cynthia Long
Cynthia Long
275 favorites
A photo of Maurilio Ponce and Lucia Reyes baptizing a baby.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Oct 27, 1990
Added Jan 2, 2015 by: Lorenzo Mata
Lorenzo Mata
11 favorites
A photo of Joseph H Myers Sr
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
This is a photo of Dwight Ong added by Yo Star on September 22, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jul 24, 1933 - Jul 13, 1996
Added Sep 22 by: Yo Star
Yo Star
27 favorites
Topics:
Hansel Vibbert who preached at Calvary Temple in Evansville Indiana.
People in this photo:
Jul 20, 1916 - June 1986
Added Sep 22 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
5.05k+ favorites
This is a photo of Letcher County, KY Ministers added by Darlene Stephens on September 3, 2020.
Added Sep 3 by: Darlene Stephens
Darlene Stephens
36 favorites
Bert started preaching at 14 years old.
People in this photo:
Oct 31, 1902 - Jan 30, 2000
This is a photo of Francis T O'Malley added by Andrew Dolan on August 31, 2020.
People in this photo:
Feb 28, 1931 - Feb 8, 2017
Added Aug 31 by: Andrew Dolan
Andrew Dolan
59 favorites
In the 1950s, early 60s, Bro Armel Latterell served in the Holy Cross Brothers as Principal of St Thomas Aquinas Boys Scool, Flatlands, Brooklyn NY.
People in this photo:
Jun 16, 1921 - Jul 20, 1997
Added Aug 28 by: Edward Melanson
Edward Melanson
3 favorites
Topics:
This is a photo of Cooney family added by Richard Meehan on July 27, 2020.
Added Jul 27 by: Richard Meehan
Richard Meehan
9 favorites
Topics:
Pauline , Marie and Richard Meehan 1960's
Added Jul 27 by: Richard Meehan
Richard Meehan
9 favorites
Topics:
This is a photo of John R Reilly added by Andrew Dolan on June 29, 2020.
People in this photo:
Oct 7, 1912 - Nov 26, 1956
Added Jun 29 by: Andrew Dolan
Andrew Dolan
59 favorites
Topics:
This is a photo of J. Arthur Patenaude, Mildred M Roberts Patenaude, Virginia L Patnaude Jensen, Children Theresa Patenaude Smith , Robert A Patenaude, and Mary Patnaude Urban (Virginia's confirmation May 1936), added by Brigette Meeker on June 18, 2020.
People in this photo:
Apr 5, 1898 - Oct 10, 1964
Added Jun 18 by: Brigette Meeker
Brigette Meeker
3.41k+ favorites
This is a tintype photo in an album belonging to my Great-Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth (Gleaton) Glover Johnson. Mary's parents were Daniel Forest Gleaton and Rossie Ida (Thompson) Gleaton. Below this photo was written, "Preacher Smith." I did not see the buckle or Bible until I scanned the photo and enhanced it on my computer.
Added Mar 3 by: Shelia Wiseman
Shelia Wiseman
219 favorites
Confirmation of Thomas Tiletsky, circa 1940s This is my grandfather as a boy at his Confirmation, one of the Catholic Sacraments. My grandfather Thomas was raised in the Slavic neighborhoods of Fells Point and Patternson Park in Baltimore, MD. He was ethnically Polish and Lithuanian. His younger sister told me that he was quite the jokester as a child, and teachers couldn't get him out of their classrooms fast enough. The teachers would often give him money to go to the moviehouse instead.
People in this photo:
Oct 15, 1932 - May 17, 1996
Added Feb 25 by: Sarah Ashley
Sarah Ashley
11 favorites
A photo of Steve Soresso with his foster mother on his First Communion
People in this photo:
Sep 7, 1927 - Nov 25, 1985
Added Jan 26 by: Sandi Soresso
Sandi Soresso
12 favorites
Fr. Jerry Wade (tennis coach?!) found in the 1985 Bellarmine College Preparatory yearbook. Fr. Wade has been President of the San Jose, California high school numerous times.
People in this photo:
Dec 12, 1937 - Unknown
Added Dec 28, 2019 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
5.05k+ favorites
A photo of Albert L Shimalonis
People in this photo:
Sep 12, 1932 - Nov 30, 1996
Added Dec 26, 2019 by: Laurie Tiffany
Laurie Tiffany
13 favorites
Topics:
This photo is of sister Marie Estelle (Barbara Kosick)
People in this photo:
May 28, 1898 - Dec 26, 1992
Added Nov 9, 2019 by: Colton LaLonde
Colton LaLonde
109 favorites
Topics:
A photo of the Interior of Reims Cathedral after German shelling. A commercially published mass produced tinted postcard, probably part of a series. Caption reads: "3. REIMS (1919). -- Interieur de la Cathédral (au fond, trou causé par un obus de 380)" Google Translate: "Interior of the Cathedral (basically, hole caused by a shell of 380)"
A photo of Joseph Anderson Pinkston Birth 17 MARCH 1900 • Lacoochee, Pasco, Florida, USA Death 29 MAY 1963 • Orlando, Orange, Florida, USA
People in this photo:
Mar 17, 1900 - May 29, 1963
Added Sep 22, 2019 by: Robert Myers
Robert Myers
48 favorites
Topics:
Found in an antique store. Handwritten on the back: "Sister Martha Dohrmann Confirmed"
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Aug 24, 2019 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.27k+ favorites
A photo of the Presbyterian Church and Parsonage, Highland, NY. Earl Smith and Dorothy Van Kleeck were married here on June 12, 1930.
People in this photo:
May 1, 1900 - May 22, 1982
This photo may be from the Horn family from Kuelsheim, Baden who came to NYC around 1848. We are hoping someone might recognize this.photo taken in Brooklyn - no date
Added Feb 13, 2019 by: Nancy Miles
Nancy Miles
3 favorites
A photo of Anastasia (Schneider) Lavallee
People in this photo:
Feb 18, 1867 - January 1957
Added Dec 8, 2018 by: Jane Lavallee-Smiley
Jane Lavallee-Smiley
105 favorites
Topics:
A photo of Rosemarie (Canavan) Noeldechen
People in this photo:
Jun 10, 1893 - 1950
Added Nov 7, 2018 by: Joan Noeldechen
Joan Noeldechen
67 favorites
Photo found at Garage Sale Warehouse in Beaverton, Oregon, September 2018. Note in German which I will also post.
Added Oct 20, 2018 by: Patti Hutterli
Patti Hutterli
160 favorites
A photo of my First Communion - Debra Marie Valentine
People in this photo:
Nov 7, 1969 - Unknown
Added Sep 12, 2018 by: Debi Tucker
Debi Tucker
19 favorites
After the original Dalton M.E. Church burned down a new one was erected in its place in 1917.
Added Aug 22, 2018 by: Andy Scott
Andy Scott
101 favorites
A photo of the M.E. Church in Dalton Kansas built in 1903
Added Jul 1, 2018 by: Andy Scott
Andy Scott
101 favorites
A photo of Osvaldo Mion with sister Ines at niece Maria’s baptism.
People in this photo:
1921 - Sep 15, 1993
Added Jun 30, 2018 by: Brandon Remo Mion
Brandon Remo Mion
54 favorites
Topics:
The alter at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in 1908. The church was built in about 1866. The second oldest Catholic Church in Hamilton, Ohio.
Added Jun 19, 2018 by: H Butler
H Butler
20 favorites
A photo of Rosemarie (Canavan) Noeldechen
People in this photo:
Jun 10, 1893 - 1950
Added May 18, 2018 by: Joan Noeldechen
Joan Noeldechen
67 favorites
Topics:
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Rev. W. R. DILL which was taken at the Lawson’s Studio in Troy, OH. The photograph appears to have been taken in the 1880’s with Rev. DILL likely in his 30’s or 40’s at the time the photograph was taken. Rev. DILL signs the back of the photograph with the sentiment “Christian Compliments” and notes that the photograph was a gift to E. M. THAYER. I’m hoping to locate someone from this DILL Family so that the photograph can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added May 5, 2018 by: Shelley Cardiel
Shelley Cardiel
605 favorites
A photo of Elizabeth Mercy Kerwen's priest Fr. Robert Ecker who also spoke at Graduation Exercises for Bay Ridge High School where she taught speech.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
Added Apr 23, 2018 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.4k+ favorites
Topics:
A photo of Elizabeth Mercy Kerwen's Catholic Church, Our Lady of Angels.
People in this photo:
Nov 10, 1913 - Dec 1, 2002
Added Apr 23, 2018 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.4k+ favorites
Topics:
This is a view of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Abbottstown, PA taken on Sept. 2, 1934 by my father, Norman A. Mort.
Added Apr 14, 2018 by: Marlene Christopher
Marlene Christopher
239 favorites
This is a picture of two Catholic priests--Father Murray on the left and Father Burke on the right. The location is unknown. The year on the side of the photo looks to be 1934, but maybe could be told better by the cars in the background.
Added Apr 14, 2018 by: Marlene Christopher
Marlene Christopher
239 favorites
This is Father Hayden, a Catholic priest, standing on the steps of the Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in Doylesburg, PA in 1935, according to the year at the side of the photo.
Added Apr 14, 2018 by: Marlene Christopher
Marlene Christopher
239 favorites
This church has been tore down in 2010 outside of Odin, Watonwan, Minnesota Many of my family are buried in the Cemetery outside of the church
Added Mar 20, 2018 by: Patricia Walling
Patricia Walling
428 favorites
A photo of the SWEET HOME SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCH, BELTON ARKANSAS Merrell Cemetery Hempstead County Arkansas
Added Mar 16, 2018 by: Ida Daniel Gibson
Ida Daniel Gibson
24 favorites
A photo of the Bethesda Lutheran Church Class of 1944!
People in this photo:
Sep 12, 1929 - October 2010
Added Mar 9, 2018 by: Holleen Pinkley
Holleen Pinkley
97 favorites
I've "rescued" an old photograph of Father Thomas C. MOORE which was taken at the Thomson Studio in Kansas City, MO on 7 Dec 1886. Father MOORE appears to be in his 40's or 50's at the time the photograph was taken. Based on limited research I was able to locate the following details regarding the priest: Rev. Thomas Corydon MOORE was b. 1840 in Ireland and died 28 Dec 1904 in Las Vegas, NM and is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Plattsburg, MO. Census records provide the following details: 1880 census of Georgetown, KY: - boarding in the home of Pat MCCULLOUGH Thomas C. MOORE, age 40, a Catholic Priest, born Ireland, parents born Ireland 1900 census of Kansas City, MO (First Ward - First Street): Thomas MOORE, age 60, born Apr 1840, born Ireland, parents born Ireland, to USA 1852, a Catholic Priest + 1 Housekeeper I am hoping to locate someone from his family so that the photograph can be returned to their care. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
People in this photo:
1840 - Dec 28, 1904
Added Feb 6, 2018 by: Shelley Cardiel
Shelley Cardiel
605 favorites
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