Source Information

Missouri Synod, U.S., Lutheran Church records, 1851-1972 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2023.
Original data: Lutheran Church Records. St. Louis, MO, USA: Concordia Hiustorical Institute.

About Missouri Synod, U.S., Lutheran Church records, 1851-1972

About the Missouri Synod, U.S., Lutheran Church Records, 1850-1972

General collection information

This collection contains a variety of church records from the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, in the United States between 1850 and 1972. Records included in this collection cover many types of church events, including baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. Records may also include copies of correspondence from outside of the church needed to perform the ceremonies, such as marriage licenses or burial permits.

Records in this collection may be written in English or German. Most of the records in this collection are handwritten in ledgers, however newer or transcribed records may be typed.

Using this collection

Records in the collection may include the following information:

  • Name
  • Event type
  • Sex assigned at birth
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Age at event
  • Birth date and place
  • Baptism date and place
  • Confirmation date and place
  • Marriage date and place
  • Date and place of marriage license or banns
  • Death date and place
  • Burial date and place
  • Name of cemetery
  • Names of family members, including spouses
  • Please note that every record is unique and the information contained within will vary, depending on the event type and time period.

    Because there are many different types of records in this collection, individuals may be found in multiple records. For example, a baby may be listed in a baptismal record, again at confirmation, married in adulthood, or mentioned in records concerning their spouse or parents.

    Knowing some common German phrases will help you to explore these records:

  • Getauft is German for "baptized."
  • Tauf is German for "christening."
  • Geburt is German for "birth."
  • Ehe is German for "marriage."
  • Tod is German for "death."
  • Tochter von is German for "daughter of."
  • Sohn von is German for "son of."
  • Mutter is German for "mother."
  • Vater is German for "father."
  • Ehefrau is German for "wife."
  • Ehemann is German for "husband."
  • Bemerkungen is German for "remarks."
  • Collection in context

    Lutheranism is a branch of Protestant Christianity that was founded by Martin Luther in the 16th century. Luther, a German monk and professor of theology, became disillusioned with the practices of the Catholic Church. In 1517, he challenged the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church. This event marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that aimed to reform the Catholic Church and resulted in the establishment of Protestant denominations.

    Shortly afterward, in 1540, Lutheran pastors began keeping records about the major events that occurred in the lives of their parishioners, making Lutheran Church records some of the oldest records available.

    Lutheranism was first brought to the United States during the 17th century by Scandinavian immigrants. Often, congregations keep their records locally. When a congregation ceases to exist, they send their records to the archives at the Concordia Historical Society in St. Louis Missouri.

    Bibliography

    Concordia Historical Institute. "CHI Collections." Last Modified January 13, 2022. https://concordiahistoricalinstitute.org/chi-collections/.

    Fairchild, Mary. "Lutheran Church History." Last Modified March 12, 2018. https://www.learnreligions.com/lutheran-church-history-700827.

    Ohio History Central. "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America." Last Modified March 22, 2019. https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_in_America.