About this collection
This collection contains parish registers from numerous Protestant communities and military garrisons found in former or modern German territories. The records are largely organized according to historical regions and church districts. Current affiliations may differ from this earlier organization. Use the box "Browse this collection,” to determine the Historic Region to which a given locality was assigned. The oldest church records in this collection date from the 16th century. However, many records begin in the 18th century. The last years for many of the record sets are 1874 or 1876. In addition to these records traditionally kept by the Church, on 1 October, 1874, Prussia mandated that personal and vital statistics be recorded by local registry offices.
Many registers date to the beginning of, or just before, the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). These earlier documents may be partially written in Latin. The majority of the collection, however, is in German. These parish records primarily contain information about births and baptisms, marriages, and deaths and burials. A few confirmations are also included.
What you can find in the records
Events in the original church registers were recorded by the local pastor. Occasionally, events recorded in the lives of Lutheran, Reformed and Catholic parishioners were combined together into a single register. However, the majority of the entries are about members of the Lutheran Church. Depending on the time period and on the individual formulations used, you may generally find the following details in these records:
- Child: Given Names, Birthdate, Time of Birth, Legitimacy/Illegitimacy, Baptism, Witnesses
- Parents: Father's Given Names, Last Name, and Profession/Trade; Mother's Given Names, Maiden Name and Profession/Trade; Parents' residence
- Confirmation Date, Last Name, Child's Given Names, Birthplace, Birthdate, Baptism Date, Parents, Residence
- Groom: Given names, Last Name, Occupation, Residence, Birthdate and Birthplace, details about his Parents
- Bride: Given names, Last Name, Maiden Name, Occupation, Residence, Birthdate and Birthplace, details about her Parents
- Date and Place of Wedding
- Deceased: Given Names, Last Name, Maiden Name, Occupation/Trade, Age, Spouse/Parents, Deathplace, Time of Death, Cause of Death, Date of Funeral
More about using this collection
The collection is based on older microfilms from varying archives and communities. Search for names, dates or places using the search form. Under "Browse this collection,” select the Historic Region, the City or District, and then the Description and time period for the register desired. The sequence of birth, marriage or death records may not be consistent. In the church books, entries about the same persons may often be found on preceding or succeeding pages.