UPDATE: THIS COLLECTION HAS BEEN EXPANDED AND IS NOW ALSO AVAILABLE ON ANCESTRY.COM.
About 4.6 million genealogical records from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are now available on Archives.com.
This project represents a unique collection for Archives.com, which partnered with the ELCA Archives to digitize and index about 1000 rolls of microfilmed records of affiliated church. According to the company, this collection represents records that have never been online before. It eliminates the major barriers we usually have in researching church records: not knowing which specific congregation an ancestor attended; not knowing where those records are now and not having easy access to them.
According to a company press release, “The records in these collections date from the mid-1800s through 1940 and include births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, and burials. Details vary from church to church, but often include parents’ names, dates and places of the event, and other biographical details. Many of the churches were founded by immigrants from Norway, Sweden, and Germany and had immigrant families as their members.”
I was curious to see what I could find in the collection on my own family. You can imagine how happy I was to find this record (image below) of my grandmother, Alfreda Sporowski (image right) from Gillespie, Illinois:
I remember years ago writing a letter to the church and receiving a letter in reply with this information. Now I’m looking at the original document in just seconds from my home computer. We’ve come a long way!
Not a member at Archives.com? You can sign up here for a free 7-day trial membership.