Some Lutheran Websites and Availability of Genealogical Data

These are the Lutheran Sites I have found and searched. This is not to say this list is all-inclusive. Many of the individual congregations have websites of their own and may have their records online and some of the websites below have congregation website finders you can use to directly connect to them. This necessitates some research on the investigators part to locate their desired congregation since it is, in most circumstances, standard policy for the Lutheran congregations to keep their own records,

Note: I WAS LOOKING FOR SEARCHABLE ONLINE RECORDS.

These are my personal observations. If I state that there were no searchable records available online, that doesn't necessarily mean there aren't any on the site. Instead, it means I simply couldn't find them or by their own statements have said these records weren’t available online at their site.

If you find otherwise, please notify me at: chapuck@cellone.net so I may make the necessary corrections to this document.

Thank you.

SEPTLA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Theological Library Association

Library of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, PA

Observations:

Site consists mostly of church related history and related historical artifacts.

No access to congregation records.

This one made no mention of a Lutheran connection, I don't know if it is related. I plead religious ignorance.

Lancaster Theological Seminary

Historical Society of the Reformed Church and the Evangelical Synod of the United States

Observations:

Has internal personnel contacts and descriptions of available records.

Has nothing Online.

Observations:

This site makes no direct mention of "Genealogy" in their dropdown "goto" lists, but by using the term "genealogy" in the search engine feature, you can find directions for submitting a request for a search of their records. Note that all their current congregations keep their own records including records from the original congregations. Example: if the church began as a "German" Lutheran church and later became an Evangelical Lutheran, that congregation should still have the original "German" records.

They have nothing Online.

Observations:

They will do searches for a fee.

Nothing Online.

Observations:

While I'm not sure just what denomination this site relates to, it does have a promising Genealogy area. You can post a message concerning your Lutheran ancestor and any interested person can post an answer. You may do a surname search of the posted messages and there are some family genealogies included you can browse.

Again, there doesn't appear to be a records archive available for search.

The following is an excerpt from a message I received from an individual who apparently has considerable knowledge of this subject. I have found that most, if not all the points he mentions here are indeed accurate.

This gentleman shall remain anonymous, "he knows who he is", and has my deepest gratitude. I learned more in this one paragraph than all the 8hrs. of blundering I did online before his message. For this I am grateful.

"Virtually all Lutheran churches that I have dealt with have retained all

their own records back to their founding. That is standard policy. If one

congregation merges with another, the records should go to the new

congregation formed by the merger. If a congregation closes, the records

go to the district archives of the specific Lutheran denomination, of which

there are primarily two: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS). These are quite

independent of each other, and each has its own web page: www.elca.org and

www.lcms.org. (There are also one or two other much smaller Lutheran

denominations.) I doubt that you would find marriage records of interest at

the national headquarters of either denomination, but these web pages have

congregation finders that might help you find churches of interest in the

area you are researching. If you were told by individual churches that

they do not have records from before 1905, it is most likely because the

churches at which you inquired were founded around that time, or their

older records were lost, although I suppose it is possible that the policy

in a particular district may have been to send their older books to the

archive, but that would be unusual. You may just have to do some research

to find out which congregation is of interest to you. Two regional archives of the ELCA that I know

of off-hand are in Philadelphia and Staten Island, and the regional archive

for the LCMS is in Westchester, N.Y.

The phone number for the ELCA archives in Philadelphia is as follows: (215) 248-4616 ext. 6383

The archivist is John Peterson, and his usual hours are Tuesday and Friday afternoons."

This information was submitted by Bob

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 Mary Ann Lubinsky
County Coordinator

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