United States, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of an index and images of baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burial records from throughout the country. The Midwestern states are heavily included. Some records extend beyond 1900. These records are in multiple languages.

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

Record Content

The language and contents of the records varies by congregation.

Birth and baptism records usually contain:

  • Name of the child
  • Birth and christening dates and places
  • Names of parents and witnesses
  • Residences of the parents and witnesses

Marriage records usually contain:

  • Name of husband and wife
  • Ages of husband and wive
  • Places of residence
  • Social status such as unmarried or widowed
  • Names of witnesses and their residences
  • May give names of parents and their residences
  • May give birth dates and places
  • May give information on previous marriages

Death and burial records usually contain:

  • Names of deceased
  • Death and burial dates and places
  • Age of deceased
  • Residence of deceased
  • Name of spouse or parents
  • May give names of children
  • May give birth date and place

How to Use This Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of bride and groom
  • Approximate marriage date and place

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Event Place"
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type and Years" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the dates, names and places to locate census records
  • Use christening and birth records of christenings (baptisms) to identify a person’s birth date and place.
  • Use the age to calculate the person’s birth date.
  • Use the records of deaths or burials to find cemetery, obituary and funeral records.
  • Use the records of deaths or burials to find probate records.
  • Use church records of marriages to identify a couple, the marriage date and place, and to begin compiling a family group. They are an excellent substitute for civil marriage information.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
  • Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the minister, or a clerk appointed by the minister, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

General Information About These Records

The entries are recorded in register books in columns or in paragraphs without columns. Records are preserved under varying conditions. Many are subject to deterioration or destruction. Some are well preserved in archives. Some denominations have established record gathering and preservation programs.

Record History

Church records in the United States began in the early 1600s. They can be found in the churches, church archives, or university archives. They normally records christenings, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. An infant’s christening usually took place within a few days or few weeks of the birth, depending on the religion. Some churches, such as the Baptists, baptized only adults not infants. Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints blessed their infants when they were a few weeks or a few months old. Many religions tested the church knowledge of those that had been baptized as infants and then confirmed them a member of that religion. Frequently, a person’s age at confirmation was between 14 and 20.

Why This Record Was Created

To know who were members, Churches were required to record the date a person was baptized into the Christian religion. Many churches also recorded the date of birth along with the date of baptism. Church were also required to record the burial and marriage dates of the members of the local congregation. Only some churches performed confirmations and were required to record the names of those that were confirmed members of the church.

Record Reliability

Church records are considered a primary source. They are usually reliable because they are kept by the minister, or a clerk appointed by the minister, who usually recorded an event at or very near the time it occurred.

Related Web Sites

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.


Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America records, ca. 1800-1900." Index and images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2014. Citing Ancestry.com. Evangelical Lutheran Churches, nation-wide, United States.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.

Image Citation:

The citation for an image will be available on each image once the collection is published.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 February 2015, at 20:38.
  • This page has been accessed 296 times.