Image of Church Record Books
Welcome to the Archives at United Lutheran Seminary
The United Lutheran Seminary Library contains two major archives: The ELCA Region 8 Archives and the Seminary Archives. 

The Seminary Archives is composed of material relating to the history and day-to-day operations of the Seminary. It also houses papers from the Rev. Samuel Simon Schmucker (the founder of the Seminary) and those (donated by former professors, presidents, and alumni.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 8 Archives is the official repository for five synods of ELCA Region 8: Allegheny Synod, Delaware-Maryland Synod, Lower Susquehanna Synod, Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod, and Upper Susquehanna Synod.

Both of these archives are held in the A.R. Wentz Branch of the United Lutheran Seminary Library in Gettysburg, PA. Please see the tabs above for more information.

Both archives charge fees for use. Please see the Research Fees tab for more information.
INFO AND CONTACTS
Sheila Joy, Archivist
sjoy@uls.edu
717-339-1317
M-F: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please make an apointment before visiting. We are only occasionally able to accommodate walk-in requests.

Evan Boyd, Library Director and Archivist
eboyd@uls.edu
Internship Opportunities
The Seminary Archives hosts undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in careers in archives and museums for internships which allow students to do professional work and hands-on learning in small archives operations. 

To learn more and view our open positions, click here.
ELCA Region 8 Archives
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 8 Archives is the official repository for five synods of ELCA Region 8: Allegheny, Delaware-Maryland, Lower Susquehanna, Metropolitan Washington, D.C., and Upper Susquehanna. The archives also contains the records of the historic Lutheran church bodies of the region.
 
Research Inquiry Overview
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 8 Archives is the official repository for five synods of ELCA Region 8: Allegheny Synod, Delaware-Maryland Synod, Lower Susquehanna Synod, Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod, and Upper Susquehanna Synod. The Archives collects records of historical value created by the five synods and their respective disbanded congregations, according to ELCA records retention schedules. See our Acquisition Policy for more information.

The Archives also houses historical records from two ELCA Region 8 predecessors: the Central Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America and the Maryland Synod of the Lutheran Church in America.
For records of Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, and West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod, please contact the Tri-Synod Archives at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania.

For records of Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod and Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, please contact the Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia.

Types of Records in our Collections

Synod records generally include annual assembly materials, meeting minutes, and information on congregations. Congregation records mainly include parish registers, council meeting minutes, and publications such as newsletters and anniversary history booklets. See our Collections page for more information.

Note About Non-ELCA Congregation Records

With a few exceptions, our collections only contain records from Lutheran congregations affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) or one of its predecessor bodies such as the the American Lutheran Church (ALC), the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), or the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA). Researchers seeking records from non-ELCA congregations should contact the archives of the appropriate denomination.

Note About Active ELCA Congregation Records

Active ELCA congregations are primarily responsible for maintaining their own archives. Therefore, we recommend that researchers interested in the records of an active congregation contact the church's staff before contacting us. To obtain information on active congregations, please visit the ELCA's Find a Congregation web page.

Note About Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage Certificates

Researchers often ask if we have a copy of a baptism, confirmation, or marriage certificate. It is not a common practice for Lutheran congregations to keep a second copy of such certificates, and therefore very few exist in our collections. In nearly every case, the only record we will potentially have is the entry in the congregation's parish register noting that the baptism, confirmation, or marriage took place. Therefore, individuals who do not have the original certificate or a facsimile will doubtfully ever be able to obtain another copy.

RESEARCH SERVICES

Researchers can view materials in our collections of synod and disbanded congregation records by appointment only. 
There are some fees to conduct research in the ELCA Region 8 Archives collections. Information about those fees can be found on our fees web page.

Limitations on Services

Researchers should note that due to our scarce resources, some limitations exist to the services we can offer.
  1. We are not able to conduct general research. Our staff will at least determine if our holdings include congregation or synod records that may contain the information researchers are seeking. We will also attempt to fulfill simple requests, such as supplying a record of baptism or confirmation to individuals who require the information to become a member of a Lutheran congregation, to be married in a Lutheran church, or to convert to another faith.
  2. We do not have a database of individuals that we can search to find baptism, confirmation, marriage, or burial records. Our church records are indexed on paper by congregation name only. When researchers are seeking information on particular individuals, they must provide the name and location of the congregation with which the person was affiliated.
  3. We do not have record of every Lutheran congregation. From our catalog of church records, we can list those congregations in a particular city, town, or township for which we have materials. However, our index does not necessarily include all Lutheran congregations that ever existed in a given vicinity.

Note About Fragile Materials

Many of the older materials in our collections are in very fragile condition. Generally, we do not allow access to original materials that may suffer damage if handled. We understand that this may disappoint some researchers. However, our policy simply reflects the reality of the situation: most of the items in our collections are one of a kind and irreplaceable. Therefore, preservation is a higher priority than access.

Fortunately, however, many of the older parish records in our collections are available in alternate formats such as microfilms, paper transcriptions, or published volumes. Because we have very few of these materials in our collections, we will gladly refer researchers to other sources that may have them. We believe this policy offers the best option—it allows us to preserve the original records, while the information they contain is still available to researchers.

RESEARCH INQUIRIES

After reviewing the information on this page, researchers should submit an inquiry so that our staff can determine whether records are available in our collections that might contain the information they are seeking. When research questions are simple and specific, our staff can often provide answers without individuals having to visit the Archives. However, if it is necessary for individuals to conduct their own research on materials in our holdings, then an appointment can be arranged.
To submit an inquiry, follow the instructions on the Research Inquiries page.
Region 8 Contact Information
Hours: By Appointment
Phone: 717-339-1317
Email: region8archives@uls.edu

ADDRESS:
ELCA Region 8 Archives
United Lutheran Seminary Library
61 Seminary Ridge
Gettysburg, PA 17325
 
Image of archival boxes.
Seminary Archives
The seminary archives is composed of material relating to the history and day-to-day operations of the former Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and United Lutheran Seminary, Gettysburg campus. It also houses papers from the Rev. Samuel Simon Schmucker (seminary founder) and those donated by former professors, presidents, and alumni.

What is Held in the Archives
  • Material relating to the history and day-to-day operations of the Seminary
    • Minutes, publications, ephemera, photographs, audio/visual materials
  • Papers and books from the Seminary's founder, Rev. Samuel Simon Schmucker
  • Papers of distinguished professors, presidents, and alumni
  • Non-Seminary documents on Lutheran history
  • Record groups of information on ULCA and LCA organizations
    • Constitutions, minutes, publications, ephemera
  • A card file, listing church-related biographical data about ministers that have served in this region
  • Congregational History File, containing information about some churches in the area
Policies and Permissions
INFO AND CONTACTS
Sheila Joy, Archivist
sjoy@uls.edu
717-339-1317
M-F: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please make an apointment before visiting. We are only occasionally able to accommodate walk-in requests.

Evan Boyd, Library Director and Archivist
eboyd@uls.edu
Paid Summer 2018 Internship
This position has been filled.
In-house fees for researchers
Daily Research Fee is $20
Scanning and photocopying must be performed by staff and fees are: 
  • $7 per day and $0.25 per page
    Example:
    3 pages would cost: $7.75
    ($7 +(3*0.25))
If search is being performed in relation to the creation of a congregational history (commissioned by the congregation), no daily fee is charged, but scanning and photocopying fees do apply.
Genealogy Searches performed by Staff
Baptism, confirmation, burial, or membership-related:
  • $35 for a basic, 1 hr search, which includes photocopying of up to 4 pages.
  • $20 for each additional hour.
  • $0.25 for each additional scan/photocopy.
  • Brittle documents will require an extra fee for scanning of $1.00 per page.
  • Fees still apply even if no information is found related to the patron's request.

 
Synod office searches
Because each member synod provides some funding to the Region 8 archives, the first hour of research for any request is free. Synod funding does not cover the full cost of maintaining the archvies and so all other needs are on a cost recovery basis (with heavy discount on our hourly research rate).

Synod Research Visits
  • No daily research fee
  • $0.25 per page for printing/scanning performed by staff

Synod Research Requests performed by Archives staff 
  • First hour is free
  • Subsequent hours are $10
  • Synod office pays all faxing, scanning, or printout charges
Info Needed for Staff Search
Researchers must provide us with as much of the following information. This information is necessary to confirm that the information they need may exist. 
  • Name of person
  • Logical year or range of years information is likely to be found in
  • Name and location of church or other organization 
An initial, quick check of our records to confirm if we may have the information requested is free. However, after that, the hourly fee must be paid, regardless of our search being successful.
INFO AND CONTACTS
Sheila Joy, Archivist
sjoy@uls.edu
717-339-1317
M-F: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please make an apointment before visiting. We are only occasionally able to accommodate walk-in requests.

Evan Boyd, Library Director and Archivist
eboyd@uls.edu
Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia
Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia is the Northeast Regional Archives (Region 7) for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). It is a part of a network of nine regional archives programs and a national level (churchwide) archives in the ELCA. Our service area is limited to Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Upstate New York (excluding the Metropolitan New York City area) and New England. We carry on the work of our predecessors in the first Lutheran Church organization in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States, founded on August 15, 1748 by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. The archives was recognized as a part of the church organization in 1792.

The Archives has been housed on the campus of the Philadelphia Seminary since 1889, and is located in the undercroft of The Brossman Learning Center. The Archives collections are now completely contained in a large vault area with compact shelving, now better organized. A reference library room provides books frequently used, as well as space for researchers to work in comfortable surroundings. The Archives office is across the hall.

The Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia is a separately incorporated entity managed by its own board of directors. It is managed separately from the United Lutheran Seminary Library and its archival collections in Gettysburg.
Collections

PERSONAL PAPERS

Lutheran Archives Center holds a large number of collections of personal papers of Lutheran clergy, theologians and church workers. Examples include: from the 18th century, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg and Justus Henry Christian Helmuth; from the 19th century, Charles Porterfield Krauth, William Julius Mann and Beale Melancthon Schmucker; and from the 20th century, Henry Eyster Jacobs, Sr., Charles Michael Jacobs, Jr., O. Frederick Nolde, Theodore G. Tappert, Martin J. Heinecken and John H. P. Reumann. Personal papers are generally most useful to academic researchers studying specific topics in church history or theology.

ARCHIVES OF CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS

Lutheran Archives Center holds the archives of the following Lutheran synods and church bodies:
Evangelical Lutheran Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States; 1748-1962
Eastern Pennsylvania Synod, LCA, 1963-1968
Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, LCA and ELCA; 1968-present
Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, LCA and ELCA; 1968-present
New Jersey Synod, ULCA, LCA & ELCA; 1950-present
Upstate New York Synod, LCA & ELCA; 1966-present
New England Synod, LCA & ELCA, 1963-present
Augustana Lutheran Church, New York Conference; 1870-1962
Augustana Lutheran Church, New England Conference, 1912-1962
The General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, 1866-1918Synod archives document the history of the church organizations and their varied ministries. They are most useful to historians and academic researchers in church history.

RECORDS OF CONGREGATIONS

The archives holds records from two groups of congregations in its service area: those which have closed; and those which are active and have chosen to deposit their records, or copies thereof, in the archives for more efficient access by researchers. The vast majority of Lutheran congregations maintain their own records and researchers must contact the congregations directly for information. The organizational records of a congregation, including minutes and reports, legal documents, photos, etc., are most useful for congregations and local historians. 

The parish registers of congregations contain, in chronological sequence, the records of pastoral acts performed by the pastors of the congregation (baptisms, marriages, funerals, confirmations). These records are useful for individuals, family historians and genealogists. Very few of these records have been indexed, however, and many of the 18th and 19th century registers are written in German. Researchers are welcome to use these records for research. We can provide information regarding records we hold, and information on how to contact congregations.
Contact Region 7

Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM ET
215.248.6383