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Lutheran Church in the United States

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Church Records Gotoarrow.png  Lutheran Church Records

History in the United States[edit | edit source]

The first Lutherans in what would become the United States were members of the Swedish Lutheran Church who landed in the Delaware Valley in 1638 to establish the colony of New Sweden. Many Lutherans came to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, brought by immigrants from Germany and Scandinavia. A significant number of Scandinavian Lutherans settled in the states of the Upper Midwest. Large numbers also settled in major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Seattle.

The Lutheran church in the United States has historically been made up of several synods and conferences. While all are rooted in the 1580 Book of Concord which attempted to harmonized the differences of opinion that arose after the death of Martin Luther, they also generally accept the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed. Among Scandinavian churches the faith is summarized by the Augusburg Confession. This subtle disagreement has been the foundation for many of the fractures which have occurred in the denomination, as well as differences in policy, practice, and liturgy which have resulted in the breakup of individual congregations.

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Types of Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • Baptisms (infant)
  • Confirmations
  • Marriages
  • Burials
  • Communicants / Member lists
  • Register of families

Where Records Are Located[edit | edit source]

Concordia Historical Institute
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
801 De Mun Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63105
Telephone: 314-505-7900
Fax: 314-505-7901

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA Archives)
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631-4198
Telephone: 773-380-2818

German-Russian Lutheran Ancestry

Odessa3.org - This site contains German-Russian emigrant ancestry in pocket settlements in mid-west states of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska . Contains transcribed minutes of meetings, membership lists (some with parentage listed), birth, deaths, and marriages.]

Cyndi's List: Lutheran

If a local church is still active, they can help you find their records. The records of disbanded U.S. churches are at the ELCA Archives in Chicago. The archives has records of many congregations; those on microfilm can be borrowed for a small fee. Partial lists of church records in its collection are:

  • American Lutheran Church (ALC) Archives. ALC Congregations on Microfilm. Dubuque, Iowa: The Archives, [197-?]. (Family History Library fiche 6330690-93.) Arranged by state and city of congregation. The ALC Archives are now part of the ELCA Archives.
  • American Lutheran Church Shelf List Index to Their Church Records Microfilmed as of 1987. N.p., 1988. (Family History Library book 973 K2aL.)
  • A guide to most Lutheran churches and addresses is:
  • Lutheran Church Directory for the United States 1982. New York, New York: Lutheran Council in the USA, 1981. (Family History Library book 973 K24L.)

An incomplete list of Lutheran ministers and the churches they served can be found at OurFamTree.com, Lutheran Denomination Summary.