By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2003


For many years the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, Nashville, published in Nashville, Tennessee, was the official periodical of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It had a wide reading public and although events, personalities and religious topics regarding this Christian denomination were foremost in the periodical, there was also a considerable variety of secular news and literary content contained in all issues. Among the most popular of these special sections was the obituary segment.

As the years passed, well into the twentieth century, fewer and fewer lay folk sent obituaries to the periodical, probably because there were more local newspapers in which these could be published. Although there would continue to be obituaries of non-clergy, particularly for prominent lay leaders, the old practice of submitting obituaries diminished and these death notices were given over principally to clergyman, their families and active laymen of the church. Throughout the decades these obituaries contained a wealth of genealogical information about ordinary people, much of which would have been lost to posterity had it not been published in this and similar religious periodicals.

The present publication covers the period 1915-1919 and a half-year for 1929, being those issues available to the abstracter, on microfilm, from the files of the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee.

Most genealogists will want to get copies of obituaries and death notices from the CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE, even as late as these of the early twentieth century, to be used in their family histories. These are available, in most instances, from the Methodist Library, Drew University, Madison Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940. Persons especially wanting copies of photographs published in the periodical will most certainly want to get these from the Methodist Library, where such copies may be made from original hard copies, rather than from microfilm (in which clarity is often sacrificed).

Jonathan K. T. Smith
Jackson, Tennessee
Early Winter 2003


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