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The Archives of the Reformed Church in America represents the enduring memory of the church. Documents, videos, sound recordings, and computer data keep a record of our life and mission as a people of God. They are the valuable permanent records of the RCA.

Looking see ahead

The Archives is housed at the Gardner A. Sage Library of New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Occupying over a half-mile of shelf space, the holdings date from the 1630s, with correspondence between the New Netherlands dominies and the Classis of Amsterdam, and lead up to present-era records from RCA congregations and governing bodies and the RCA’s many mission fields.

Find out more information about

You may contact the archivist at — or by phone at (732) 246-1779. The Archives is located at 21 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

Researching at the Archives

The records of the Archives are available by appointment for research use. You are welcome to undertake your own research or use the services of a local researcher. Costs for a researcher hired by the Archives would be $30/hour for the first hour and $20/hour for each hour after that. Research could include providing digital copies of pertinent materials.

Recent records of the Reformed Church in America are restricted. However, many records from the first three centuries (approximately 1630 through 1950) of the life and ministry of the RCA are available for scholarly research. These include the records of congregations, classes, regional synods, the General Synod, and mission fields.

Genealogy Research

Unfortunately, the RCA Archives does not have the staff or financial resources to do genealogical research for family historians. However, we can tell people what records are available and guide them in the right direction for further research. Most of our congregational records have been digitized and made available on That site would provide the least expensive and most efficient method to research Reformed church congregational registers.

Other Research

Recent records of the Reformed Church in America are restricted. However, many records from the first three centuries (approximately 1630 through 1950) of the life and ministry of the RCA are available for scholarly research. These include the records of congregations, classes, regional synods, the General Synod, and mission fields.

For a list of congregations for which records are available please view the Guide to Local Church Records.

Research Guidelines

All access is made after application for use of the records. Complete the application for research and forward it to the RCA archivist. A fee of thirty dollars per day is charged for use of the materials.

Archives Policies

1. Book of Church Order Requirements for Reformed Church Archives

1.1 The Reformed Church Archives defines the archival collection in a manner consistent with the standard professional definitions:

An archival collection is the whole of the written documents, drawings, and printed matter, officially received or produced by an administrative body or one of its officials, in so far as these documents were intended to remain in the custody of that body or that official.

It is important to note that records created by congregations, classes, regional synods, and the General Synod and its program agencies are governed by the following several sections of the Book of Church Order:

1.2. Congregations

“The classis, in formally disbanding a church, shall be satisfied that each and all of the following conditions have been fulfilled:

“…The presentation to the classis of all formal church records and all other records and documents in its possession.” (Chapter 1, Part II, Art. 7, Sec. 16 [2004])

Section 17 provides for the transfer of all real and personal property of a church when it is disbanded or dissolved. The records and documentation describing the life and mission of a congregation are part of that property.

1.3. Classes

“The clerk shall also be responsible for forwarding to the denominational archives the minutes of the classis and subsidiary corporations, all papers pertaining to disbanded churches, and all papers of the classis should the classis disband.” (Chapter 1, Part II, Art. 5, Sec. 2 [2004])

1.4. Regional Synods

“The clerk shall also be responsible for forwarding to the denominational archives minutes of the regional synod and subsidiary corporations.” (Chapter 1, Part III, Art. 5, Sec. 4 [2004])

1.5. General Synod

“The general secretary shall also be responsible for forwarding to the denominational archives minutes of the General Synod and subsidiary corporations, and shall undertake such other duties as may be assigned by the synod. (Chapter 1, Part IV, Art. 5, Sec. 3 [2004])

2. Policy and Purposes of the Reformed Church Archives

The following statement of policy and purpose of the RCA Archives was approved by the General Synod in 1980 (MGS 1980, pp. 143-145), and revised by the General Synod Council in 1995 and in 2004.

2.1. The Archives is responsible for the custody and preservation of the archives and records of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). The archives and records of the RCA include all those produced by actions of the General Synod, regional synods, classes, and local churches. They include all boards, commissions, committees, and missions established by any of the above-mentioned bodies. In the event of dissolution of any of these bodies, their records and archives shall be transferred to the RCA Archives for custody and preservation.

2.2. Records of the RCA shall not be disposed of without the authorization of the archivist. No assembly or agency of the General Synod shall deposit official records with another archival repository.

2.3. The Archives shall be made available by appointment to staff of the RCA for the conducting of business and to others who have a legitimate interest in studying the history of the denomination. The Archives shall endeavor to promote scholarly research concerning the RCA and to that end shall publicize these records.

2.4. The functions of the RCA Archives shall be to:

a. Maintain, repair, and preserve the archives and non-current records of the RCA.

b. Establish an effective records management program for the denomination resulting in the mandatory transfer of non-current records deemed worthy of permanent preservation to the Archives according to satisfactory retention schedules.

c. Arrange, describe, and prepare suitable finding aids and guides to aid in accessing the records in custody of the Archives.

d. Inspect and appraise the records and archives in the possession of the RCA and its staff and determine suitable disposition. The archivist shall be bound to observe the confidential nature of their contents if so restricted. Restrictions on access and use shall be determined at the time of transfer, but will not be less than 20 years from the creation date. Sensitive and confidential records must be identified as such by the creating office. The Archives may request a list of the records to be made in accordance with established format.

e. Dispose of non-current records that have no further administrative, legal, historical, or other scholarly value with the agreement of the concerned bodies that produced or received the original record. The disposals shall be carried out in agreement between the Archives and these bodies. When no disposal schedules are available, disposal lists shall be prepared.

f. Encourage the deposit of archives of private individuals and organizations that are deemed to be of historical interest and reflect some aspect of the denomination’s work and mission in the world.

g. Assist in the publication and promotion of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America.

2.5. Official records are defined as all documentary materials (e.g., correspondence, publications, photographs, videotapes, etc.) received or originated by the RCA and its staff in the normal course of its activities, which serve as evidence of the organization, function, policies, decisions, procedures, and operations. Such records are the property of the RCA, and all rights, interests, and use of those records belong to the RCA.

3. Access to and Research in the Reformed Church Archives

3.1. The archives of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) are the property of the General Synod. They are preserved for the administrative, legal, financial, and historical needs of the church. Access to and use of these records is in accordance with the “Policy and Purposes of the Reformed Church Archives” statement (above).

3.2. All research in the RCA Archives is by appointment only. Researchers must fill out a research application and return it to the archivist prior to undertaking research. The archives may not be borrowed or used outside of the RCA Archives. There are no inter-library loan privileges for archival materials. Researchers may not use pens with these records, and the records must be handled with the utmost care. Researchers are responsible for any damage to records.

3.3. Access generally is granted by the archivist. In the cases of the following records, access must also be granted by the appropriate office:

  • Mission records after 1967: Global Mission staff
  • Finance records: finance staff
  • General Secretary records: Office of the General Secretary
  • Judicial business records: Office of the General Secretary
  • Personnel files: personnel director
  • Staff contact page

3.4. Research is at a fee of thirty dollars per day. Research fees for long-term use may be negotiated as the occasion arises.

3.5. Researchers are responsible to determine the copyright limitations of all records used for their publication. The Archives does not own the copyright to all records in its custody. No records may be reproduced for publication or transcribed without the permission of the RCA Archives.

3.6. In the interest of providing historical resources in various parts of the country, the RCA Archives may provide for the reproduction of pertinent records at the expense of the agency or assembly so desiring the reproduction. The reproduction is for personal research use only and may not be sold, published, or deposited elsewhere without the permission of the Reformed Church Archives. Copies of items for personal use may be requested also of some records if they are not in fragile condition. Copies will be made by archives staff. Copying and reproduction fees for materials are as follows:

Fees for Duplication of Archive Materials

Basic costs must be paid prior to the work. Cash is acceptable; checks should be payable to the Reformed Church in America. A fee of $25 plus collection costs will be imposed for all returned checks. Hourly base rates may be possible for large projects. The hourly rate shall not be less than $30/hour, and special projects may be negotiated with the archivist. All requests are handled on an as-available basis.

Photographs, negatives, and slides $8.00/image (JPEG, 300 dpi, sent via email)
Digital correction $50.00/hour minimum plus $8.00/image
Photocopies $0.25/page
Photographic reproduction Cost recovery of vendor charges
$10.00 retrieval/handling fee plus postage/handling
Video/audio dubbing Cost recovery of vendor charges
$10.00 retrieval/handling fee plus postage/handling
Charges for materials
CD/DVD/cassette tape $5.00
Photographic paper $1.00/sheet (when printouts are requested)
VHS duplication $15.00/tape
Postage/handling $10.00
(priority and express mail include the cost of mailing the item.)

When ordering images, the precise page or image identifier must be specified. For reproduction rights on the internet, video, film, or other media, inquiries should be directed to the archivist.

Congregational History Series

Have you always wanted to share your congregation’s history with the wider church?

You can do that as a participant in the RCA Congregational History Series. The series is a way for congregations, using their own resources, to reach a wider audience with an account of their life and ministry over the lifespan of the congregation.

The RCA Commission on History hopes that encouraging congregations to produce histories of depth and substance will provide models of what to do and how to do it that will increase the value of congregational histories beyond a local audience.

Process for participation in the Congregational History Series

The Congregational History Series is a sub-series of the Historical Series of the Reformed Church in America, which was inaugurated in 1968 by the General Synod acting through the Commission on History. The goal is to communicate the church’s heritage and collective memory and to reflect on its identity and mission, encouraging historical scholarship which informs both church and academy. Here’s how to participate:

  • The author(s) must follow the RCA Historical Series House Style Guidelines in writing the book. The completed manuscript should be submitted to the general editor of the Congregational History Series, Matthew Van Maastrich, for approval for inclusion in the Congregational Histories series.
  • All costs for editing, printing, proofing, promotion, and other related costs will be paid by the congregation, and the congregation shall retain the copyright. An initial estimate based on the submitted manuscript will be provided for copyediting and printing. The congregation will pay one-half of that sum to start the copy editing process. Once copy editing has begun, the fee will be non-refundable. Other than corrections, no other changes may be made to the manuscript or graphics at that time. The congregation shall obtain all rights and permissions for material protected by copyright.
  • Once a printing estimate has been obtained, the congregation will provide sufficient funds to cover that expense before the book goes to press. Appropriate mention on the RCA website, Facebook, and other social media will be provided at no cost. Sales through Faith Alive can be arranged, but the congregation will be responsible for the annual shelving fee.

Churches in the Congregational History Series:

  • The City in Its Heart: Maple Avenue Ministries, Holland, Michigan
    Discover how Maple Avenue Ministries’ multiracial, multicultural journey of reconciliation is rooted in both the RCA and CRC. The price is $15 for the volume and all sales are being handled by the church. Please address orders to: Mr. Anthony Bivens, Maple Avenue Ministries, 427 Maple Avenue, Holland, MI 49423. Inquiries about ordering may be sent to Anthony:
  • Hope Church, Holland, Michigan: The First 150 Years (1862–2012)
    From its earliest decades Hope Church welcomed members from a variety of denominations, cultivated relationships with churches in the East, and allowed women to vote to call pastors and elect elders and deacons. During recent decades Hope Church has been a catalyst for community efforts to reach out to migrant worker families, provide day care to children, and work with other churches in the community. The price for the 520-page book is $15.00 plus postage and handling. It is available at Hope Church, 77 West Eleventh St., Holland, MI 49423; email inquiries to To order a book for shipment, contact the Hope-Geneva Bookstore at