WERE YOUR SAN BERNARDINO ANCESTORS MORMONS?
If your family members were among the early Mormons to settle in San Bernardino, there are a few facts which may help you in your search for information.
There are two distinctly separate groups which use The Book of Mormon in their worship practices.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (LDS) now based in Salt Lake City, Utah was led for years by Brigham Young. Indeed, it was Brigham Young himself who sent many of the early settlers to San Bernardino.
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (RLDS,) now known as The Community of Christ, has its’ headquarters in Independence, MO.
The early Reorganized Church broke away from the followers of Brigham Young because the members of the Reorganized Church felt that polygamy was a sin and they also felt that the church should be led by a descendant of Joseph Smith.
Many of the early Mormons who remained in San Bernardino, or returned after being recalled to Utah in 1857 were members of the Reorganized LDS.
If you are looking in the Mary Lewis files, and she has a notation of “RLDS” on a sheet, that means your ancestor was a member of the Reorganized LDS Church.
The San Bernardino Branch of the RLDS church was organized in 1864 and members met at the old courthouse. Meetings were later held in a hall on the west side of D Street between Rialto and 2nd.
The first actual church building (pictured above) was built in 1888 at the Northeast corner of 5th and G Streets.
The first sermon was preached by Elder David Lehi Harris on September 23rd, and the building was dedicated on December 14th, 1888 by President Joseph Smith III.
The church moved to the corner of 16th & G Street in 1931.
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The first Latter-day Saint (LDS) chapel in this area was built in Colton in 1925.
The first LDS chapel in the City of San Bernardino was built in 1930 at the corner of 9th and F Street.
The article also talks about the wonderful stained-glass windows which have been enjoyed by church members for years and the temple in Redlands, which was dedicated in 2003. The temple is located at 1761 5th Avenue in Redlands.
The LDS Church has a large library and lots of records in Salt Lake City. They also have Family History Centers in many cities which you can visit and conduct research on your family’s roots.
To find a Family History Center near your town, log on to:
You can also do research at home by logging on to http://www.familysearch.org/
To do research within the archives of the Reorganized LDS, you can call The Community of Christ at (800) 825-2806 ext. 2449
and let them know what you are looking for.
The Community of Christ also maintains physical Historic Sites in places like Nauvoo, IL and Kirtland, Ohio, as well as Heritage Plaza in Independence, MO. For more information about these locations, log on to
The LDS Church recently (2012) purchased some historic properties from the Community of Christ, including historic sites at Haun's Mill, Far West and Kirtland.