Family History

No, there is no computer database containing the name of every person who has ever been baptized or married in a Lutheran church in North America! We receive questions from people hoping that is the case quite often. However, Concordia Historical Institute may be able to help you with your family history research in several ways:

  1. We do have the records of SOME Lutheran congregations that contain information on baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, etc. Usually these are from disbanded congregations, since most Lutheran parishes retain their records locally. In a few cases, existing congregations have transferred their original records to us. We also have some records on microfilm. But our collection altogether represents a very small proportion of Lutheran church records.
  2. We can only provide certification that a record of an official act, such as a baptism or marriage, exists; we cannot provide original certificates. Before we can assist you with genealogical information, we must know that the individual or family being researched was a member of a particular Lutheran congregation. If the record is available, we will be glad to provide what information is at hand.
  3. Even if we do not have the records of a congregation, we may be able to help you determine which existing congregation to contact. Place names change, but if you have the name of a pastor from a baptismal or marriage certificate, we may be able to determine which congregation the pastor was serving at the time and provide a current address. Give us as much detail as possible to help us pinpoint the best potential source of information.
  4. If your ancestor was a Lutheran pastor or teacher, we may have some biographical information on that person, especially on the places where he or she served.
  5. Some family histories of Lutheran families, published and unpublished, have been deposited in our collection. We can check the family name against our holdings to see if anyone has already done some work on the family.

If you think we might be able to help you, please let us know. See our general page on reference services for additional information and a list of service charges.

Here are some links to genealogical Web pages that you may find useful:

Genealogical Assistance Sites

Lutheran Family History Sites

The following are links to websites with genealogical information on families prominent in the history of Lutheranism in America. If you have developed or know of other sites we might add, please send us the URL.


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Copyright © 1997-2002 Concordia Historical Institute

Created by: Jason Todd
Maintained by: Marvin A. Huggins
Last updated: Tuesday, October 12, 1999