church records

30 Mar 2014

Some Thoughts on Reading German Parish Microfilm

Warning: genealogy whining ahead. I have some thoughts on reading German parish microfilm – a LOT of German parish microfilm that looked just like the screenshot on the right.

I was lucky to be at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, with every roll of microfilm available. So I did due diligence, reading German parish microfilm for five days for every village in my search area – but with no results.

Why did I pick genealogy? Why not something easier, like taking up home dentistry, a backyard moon launch, or counting grains of sand on the beach?

So after all those hours and rolls of German records, I have to say there are two people I dislike, however pointlessly retroactive.

The pastor:

Let’s leave handwriting and spelling out of it. Not fair to pick on the guy when that was his job to be the educated person […]

2 Nov 2012

Follow Friday: Free Quaker Genealogy Resources Online

Quakers in your family tree? The Quaker Information Center at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana, can probably help. Their site has information on Quakerism, a resource list of printed publications, and this list of major collections of U.S. Quaker archives:

Following are some of the major collections of the records of U.S. Friends meetings. It would be helpful and appreciated if you would review the web pages of these collections before making inquiries to them:

  • Most archives of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting and Baltimore Yearly Meeting are stored with one or both of the two libraries listed below.
  • The records of New York Yearly Meeting are deposited in the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College. Friends Historical Library Swarthmore College Phone: 610-328-8496 Email: (See the link for “genealogy.”)
  • Archives for Indiana and Western and Northern Yearly Meetings are housed at
5 Oct 2012

Follow Friday: Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin

Today’s Follow Friday is the Evangelical Central Archive in Berlin, which has a great collection of German parish registers from the former Prussian church provinces beyond the Oder-Neisse border (Eastern Prussia, Western Prussia, Back Pomerania, Posen, eastern territories of Mark Brandenburg and Silesia) and some Protestant military church registers.

The repository has the following holdings:

  • About 7000 Parish Registers from Protestant parishes which belonged to the former eastern provinces of the Protestant Church of the Old Prussian Union. These areas today belong to Poland, Russia, and Lithuania. German Protestant parishes no longer exist in these areas.
  • About 763 military church records of the Military Church
  • About 70 Parish Registers from German-speaking congregations outside of Germany.
  • Personal records from Danish refugee camps (1943-1949) are available for official use only.

Click here to search for parish registers by village. The fee schedule for genealogical research is provided here. And here is a link to the search interface (with English translation by […]

10 May 2012

Liturgical Calendars

Have you encountered a parish record where the date of a baptism, marriage or burial is expressed according to a liturgical calendar, such as the third Sunday after Trinity or the first Sunday after Pentecost? These dates can be intimidating but are decipherable into standard dates if you know where to look.

First, let’s define the liturgical calendar, which for Christian churches follows the life of Christ. The liturgical year begins with Advent (waiting for the birth of Christ) four Sundays before Christmas. The church Christmas lasts 12 days* from Christmas Day (fixed date) to Epiphany on January 6.