November 27, 2015

Church Records for Genealogy on

About 4.6 million genealogical records from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are now available on

Alfreda Sporowski CHILD SMALLThis project represents a unique collection for, 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:

Church record naming Alfreda Sporowski, from's collection of Evangelical Lutheran Church records.

Church record naming Alfreda Sporowski, from’s collection of Evangelical Lutheran Church records.


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!

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About Lisa

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show at She is the author of the books Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies and The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and the Google Earth for Genealogy DVD series, an international conference speaker, and writer for Family Tree Magazine.