Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Breakthrough with Lutheran Church Records at

Yesterday was a momentous day for Mr. Myrt, since made the following announcement. Many of his Norwegian immigrant ancestors continued to practice Lutheranism as they carved out their lives in America. Publishes Millions of Lutheran Church Records is thrilled to announce the release of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) birth, marriage and death record collections! These three collections total nearly 4.6 million records., in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Archives, digitized and indexed approximately one thousand rolls of microfilmed records from churches now affiliated with the ELCA. These records have never before been online. 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. These records could hold the key to finding your origins in the Old World. Researching in church records can be challenging, as you often don't know exactly which church your ancestors attended. With the ELCA collections, you don't need to know the specific church your ancestors belonged to. These collections brings together all of the pre-1940 records for churches affiliated with the ELCA. The ELCA collections add to the 2.5 billion records that are currently available to members. Not a member? Sign up today for a seven day free trial! makes family history simple and affordable.

So Ol' Myrt here decided to try it out, searching first for Mr. Myrt's grandfather Ole J. Sogge. We know his death date from family records. Thanks to we now have the original church record of his death and subsequent burial in Sioux City, Iowa. We've been to the grave site, but lacked the church records until now.

My Search for Ole Sogge returned Ole Jurgen Sogge as follows. Of special interest is the click to "View Image" -- so much better than an indexed entry. As it is this indexed entry has an incorrect entry for "prefix" where "Mrs." is listed. However, the information does indeed correspond to family and tombstone dates for Ole and not his wife. (I think the indexer made a mistake as earlier entries for the year 1925 had Mrs. as a prefix.)

Here's the image itself. Thank heavens for a wonderful church secretary or Lutheran minister with legible handwriting! Click to view a larger version of this image.

A - Zoom
B - Brightness
C - Contrast
D - Normal / Inverted (white with black letters or black with white letters)

This entry from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Death and Burial Records lists for year 1925, "Pastor Arthur Rholl in charge." Entry 9 as follows:

Ole Jurgen Sogge
July 25, '25 [death date]
July 28, '25 [burial date]
49 [age]
S. City [residence, Sioux City, Iowa]
Norway [birthplace]4
Not member [affiliation with congregation]

"Evangelical Lutheran Church of America ArchivesYears: 1850-1940Description: This collection contains death and burial records from various Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations and range from the mid-19th century through the early 20th century. The information contained in the records varies from congregation to congregation (and sometimes from minister to minister). Information can include the person's name, date and place of death, date and place of burial, parents' names, spouse's name, name and location of the church, event type, the title of the original record book, and a digitial image of the record.Address: 321 Bonnie Lane, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007Website:

This information for a citation may prove a little confusing to beginning genealogists, since the ELCA-Archives website is not the location of the image  - it exists on the site. I assume from the description the original record books are in the collection of the ELCA-Archives.

For more experienced researchers, this is no different from citing an 1812 Widow's Pension file housed at the National Archives displayed at

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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1 comment:

  1. Since my husband is part Swedish, I'll have to try this new set of records (although he declares himself completely uninterested in his family background . . . I'm hoping he'll come around).

    Thanks for explaining the image vs. the ELCA-Archives website. This is so funny to me with my background in literary theory . . . it's like the White Knight in Lewis Carroll's 2nd Alice book, Through the Looking Glass, explaining these differences: the thing vs. the name of the thing vs. what the thing is called vs. the name of what the thing is called . . . It's also like Humpty Dumpty's declaration that "words mean exactly what I say they mean, neither more nor less." It's hilarious.

    Thank you for this post.