25 April 2015

What Ancestry.com Did Not Index in the ELCA Records

Ancestry.com recently released their version of a dataabase called "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940." 

There are pitfalls to this collection of which users should be aware:
  • Not every ELCA church is included.
  • Not all the records of every church were microfilmed.
  • Some church records are incomplete.
  • The index at Ancestry.com is not complete and tends to concentrate on baptismal, marriage, and funeral entries. 
The images included in this post come from the "family register" at the Lutheran church in Coatsburg, Adams County, Illinois. Not all churches in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America database at Ancestry.com inclde records like these, but researchers should determine that for themselves. 

Finding this record requires a manual browse of the records, which can be done most easily by using the collection browse option on the right hand side of the search screen for these records at Ancestry.com.  These are a wonderful set of records.

This "family register" for Bernd Dirks lists his wife and children along with their dates of birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death. 

In this case, the entry was particularly helpful as there was no Lutheran church in the town where the Dirks family lived until the 1870s and I had not located the baptismal information for the children. 

This record is the "most contemporary" source of birth information that I have for the children of Bernard and Heipke Dirks as civil records of birth in Illinois do not start until the late 1870s. 

Had I not browsed the images manually, I never would have located this wonderful record.

These items are on the Ancestry.com site at "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Records, 1875-1940"