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

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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
United States, United States
United States flag.png
Flag of United States
Location of United States
Record Description
Record Type Church
Collection years 1800-1900
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

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, and vary by congregation.

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

Collection Content

Sample Images


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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

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 Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the bride and groom.
  • The approximate marriage date and place.
  • The approximate date of any event.
  • The names of family members and their relationships.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page (Hyperlink to (Landing Page):
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.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page (Hyperlink to browse):
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒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.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America records, ca. 1800-1900." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. CitingAncestry.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 image citation will be available once the collection is published.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.