Researching at Concordia Historical Institute

How do I Begin?

Concordia Historical Institute's Reference Staff is delighted to assist you. For starters....

  1. Reference services are available 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. We are closed for certain holidays.
  2. We recommend always checking ahead of time before traveling long distance (314-505-7935). You should come with a specific question or topic in mind.
  3. Research is free to CHI members and LCMS seminary and Concordia University System students with a valid ID. A $10.00 access fee applies to all others.
  4. You will need to sign in. You will be asked for identification we can photocopy. We may ask for references.
  5. Briefcases, bookbags, etc., are not allowed in reference areas. No food or drink!
  6. Please treat materials carefully. Materials in folders need to be kept in order. Only pencil is used when working with archival materials. There are limits to the amount of material made available at one time.
  7. Copies are made in accordance with copyright laws. Same day copying is available when staffing permits. There are limits and charges. Photographic duplication is available.
  8. Some materials have restrictions and may require special arrangements. CHI reserves the right to limit or restrict access to materials.

CHI Serves the Researcher

Concordia Historical Institute has been called “the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.” Included in CHI’s climate-controlled collection are more than 2.6 million manuscripts, documents, letters, and papers from significant individuals and official church agencies. While Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of History and Archives for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, it also has accumulated a vast collection on the history of Lutheranism in America.

Answers to your questions

The staff of CHI will assist you in finding answers about the history of the American Lutheranism, the history of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, congregational history, and even assisting with genealogical research. CHI is here as a service agency to Lutherans, as well as an institution for collecting and preserving documents of historical value, stimulating historical research and teaching about church history. The Rev. Marvin Huggins, assistant director for archives and library, heads the reference department of qualified staff and volunteers.


The popularity of tracing family roots has steadily grown over the years. CHI welcomes genealogists who have specific inquiries concerning their ancestors. CHI holds the record books containing the official acts of many former and active congregations of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Before doing genealogical research at CHI request our brochure Researching Your Lutheran Ancestor at Concordia Historical Institute.

If it's information on American Lutheran history you need, CHI has it.

CHI's Archives include:

Historical Library offers:

Of special interest is the Reference Room*:

* $10.00 access/ assistance fee for Non-Members, includes 10 copies; No access fee and member rate for copies to LCMS seminary and Concordia University System students with valid ID

Researching by Mail /Email / Phone

Researchers unable to come to St. Louis may have research done by CHI's reference staff by postal mail, email or phone. Fees apply with discounts to Institute members. All inquiries are to be submitted in writing. Initial contact may be made by postal mail, fax, phone or email.

Include payment of any fees. Postage and handling may be extra for large projects and will be billed if necessary.

Remember: there is no substitute for doing your own research. Visit Concordia Historical Institute and experience its outstanding collections for yourself.

Service Charges

Research by Mail / Email / Phone

First hour research (including consultation)

Additional research per hour

Biographical Sketch of Pastor/Teacher - $10.00/sketch

Copy of specific church record for genealogical purposes - $10.00/record

Baptism or Confirmation entry on official letterhead for LCMS membership purposes - Free

Certification of Baptism or Confirmation for official/marriage purposes - $15.00



Photo-Quality Printed Images

Scanned Images (electronic file sent via email) - $0.35/image

CD Reproduction - $10.00/CD plus cost of contents



If you have a request for information or reference services, please send an e-mail to

Home | Information About CHI | Lutheran History | Services Available
Membership Information | Staff & Board of Governors

Copyright 2000-2013 Concordia Historical Institute