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 is a fee structure to use the Region 8 Archives. See our Research Fees Policy for more information. See our Reproductions Policy for more information on photocopying.

 

Limitations on Services

Researchers should note that due to our scarce resources, some limitations exist to the services we can offer.
  1. Due to limited staff, please allow up to 1-2 weeks to hear a response in regards to a research inquiry. The Region 8 Archivist will do their best to accomodate all requests in the order in which they are received.
  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 the names of congregations 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 lists of every Lutheran congregation that ever existed within a specific locality. 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 Overview.
Region 8 Archives Policies
Policies are available on the attached sub-tabs.
Research Inquiries

INSTRUCTIONS

Research inquiries can be submitted via phone or email.
Phone: 717-339-1317
Email: region8archives@uls.edu

Please be sure your research inquiry includes the following:

1. Name and Location of Congregation(s) or Name of Synod(s)
All of our records are indexed by names of congregations and synods. Thus, it is essential that inquiries include this information. Please note that more than one Lutheran congregation within a particular locality can have the same name (e.g., St. John, St. Paul, Trinity Lutheran, etc.). Therefore, we need as much of the following information as possible to identify the correct church: street address, city/town, county, and state where it is/was located. If researching a synod, only the name of the synod is necessary.

2. Nature of Research
Please be as specific as possible. If known, include the types of records you wish to research, such as parish registers, meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, etc. Also, be sure to include as much of the following information as possible if it is relevant to your research: full names of individuals (including birth/maiden names when applicable); known or approximate dates of births, confirmations, marriages, deaths, etc.; name of city/town, county, and state where individuals lived; and names of pastors who performed baptisms, marriages, etc.

Example: Do your collections include records for the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Anytown, PA? I am seeking a marriage record for Richard and Jane Roe, married at this church on August 15, 1950. The pastor who performed the ceremony was Rev. John Smith.
General Policy Information and Provisions
The collections of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 8 Archives are significant and enduring resources for the study and documentation of congregations and synods within Region 8 of the ELCA. The Archives realizes the visual value of its collections for a variety of purposes. With this in mind, it shall be the policy of the ELCA Region 8 Archives to make available reproductions of its collections subject to the following conditions, procedures, and fees.

For the purpose of this document, "reproduction" shall be defined as the electronic or mechanical duplication of materials held by the ELCA Region 8 Archives. The following media shall be included in this policy: manuscripts, archival documents, books, photographic media (including still photographs, digital photographs, slides, and negatives), scanned digital images, audio, and video.

Patrons desiring a reproduction of any item from the collections of the ELCA Region 8 Archives must first consult staff for permission. The staff's first duty is to the continuing preservation of the Archives' holdings. Documents or materials deemed too fragile and/or in poor condition will not be reproduced.

The staff of the ELCA Region 8 Archives reserves the right for any reason to deny, limit, or restrict any reproduction request. The staff member will provide a reason for the denial, limitation, or restriction to the patron. Possible reasons for modifications or refusal of reproduction work could include the fragile condition of the document, or intellectual, literary, or copyright issues.
Violations of any portion of this policy could result in the loss of research privileges and/or legal action.
Reproduction
All reproductions are provided for the patron's individual use. Patrons agree not to publish, reproduce, display, or distribute any reproduction of material or objects provided to them by the ELCA Region 8 Archives without authorization from the copyright owner. The ELCA Region 8 Archives assumes no responsibility for any infringement of intellectual, literary, or copyrights in conjunction with the reproduction of its holdings. All responsibility for any infringement of these rights rests with the patron. (See the ELCA Region 8 Archives Usage and Publication Policy.)
 

Paper Photocopies

With permission from ELCA Region 8 Archives staff, patrons may use either of the two self-service copy machines located near the circulation desk of the A. R. Wentz Library. These photocopiers print onto 8.5" x 11" paper only. Paper larger than 8.5" x 11" will not be supplied. For information on reproductions of documents larger than 8.5" x 11", see the "Oversized Materials" section below. Personal copiers are prohibited at the ELCA Region 8 Archives.
 

Microfilm Printouts

Patrons desiring paper copies of microfilm records held by the ELCA Region 8 Archives can make their own copies on the microfilm printing machine located in the Audio/Visual Room of the A. R. Wentz Library.
 

Scanned Digital Images

Self-scanning of documents, manuscripts, books, or photographs held by the ELCA Region 8 Archives is prohibited without permission. This includes the use of flatbed scanners, document feeders, hand-held scanners, microfilm scanners, and wand devices.
 

Digital Photography

Digital photographic reproduction of any item or object held by the ELCA Region 8 Archives is prohibited without permission. If permission is granted, patrons must sign a "Personal Use Declaration" certifying that the image will not be shared, transmitted, reproduced, or published without authorization from the copyright owner.
 

Still Photography

Still photographic reproduction of any item or object held by the ELCA Region 8 Archives is prohibited without permission. If permission is granted, patrons must sign a "Personal Use Declaration" certifying that the image will not be shared, transmitted, reproduced, or published without authorization from the copyright owner. The ELCA Region 8 Archives is not able to reproduce or digitize photographic slides or negatives in its collections.
 

Audio and Video Recordings

The ELCA Region 8 Archives is not able to reproduce audio or video recordings in its collections. Personal audio and video recorders are prohibited without permission.
 

Oversized Materials

Under this policy, "oversized materials" shall be defined as any materials larger than 8.5" x 11". Patrons desiring reproductions of materials larger than 8.5" x 11" can choose from the following options:
  1. Use the zoom function on the A. R. Wentz Library copy machines to reduce oversized materials no larger than 11" x 17" down to 8.5" x 11".
  2. Copy the oversized materials in sections onto 8.5" x 11" paper.
  3. With permission from ELCA Region 8 Archives staff, make a digital or still photographic reproduction of oversized materials after signing a "Personal Use Declaration" certifying that the image will not be shared, transmitted, reproduced, or published without consent from the copyright owner.
Reproduction Fees
Please see our Research Fees page for more information on fees.
Limitations on Reproductions
Patrons can make copies of single items in the holdings of the ELCA Region 8 Archives. However, the ELCA Region 8 Archives cannot authorize the reproduction of entire document collections and monographs or large portions thereof. For more information, please consult staff.

Updated 11/10/17
Provisions subject to change without notice.
Region 8 Usage and Publication Policy
Congregations and synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are the sole owners of their records, including those that are deposited in the ELCA Region 8 Archives. By granting permission to examine holdings or by supplying a reproduction, the ELCA Region 8 Archives is not authorizing publication. It is the user's responsibility to guard against the infringement of copyright. The user must obtain permission to publish texts and/or facsimiles from the owners of the copyright. The ELCA Region 8 Archives will be held blameless for the infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by others. The user and/or publishing party assumes full and sole responsibility for any and all issues related to rights, including (but not exclusive to) copyright, intellectual, or literary rights.

 

ATTRIBUTION

All materials cited from the collections of the ELCA Region 8 Archives must be accompanied by proper credit. The suggested bibliographical citation is:

Author. Name of Collection. ELCA Region 8 Archives, A. R. Wentz Library, United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Example:
Augsburg Lutheran Church, Harrisburg, PA. Reports of Sunday School Secretary, 1893-1960. ELCA Region 8 Archives, A. R. Wentz Library, United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA.

Updated 11/10/17
Provisions subject to change without notice.

Click here for a printable version of this policy in PDF format. 
 

 

General Information and Provisions
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Region 8 Archives (hereafter referred to as "the 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 (hereafter referred to as "the five synods").

The Archives is not the official repository for the following three synods of ELCA Region 8: Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, and West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod. The Tri-Synod Archives at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania collects materials from these three ELCA Region 8 synods.

The Archives does not accept donations from private individuals or any entities other than the five synods. Any individual or entity that holds original records of an ELCA congregation or synod should make every effort to return such materials to their rightful owner(s).
Region 8 Archival Services
ELCA Region 8 archival services are provided by the United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg at the discretion and with the supervision of the Seminary's Library Director and Archivist and his/her designees (hereafter referred to as "the Archives staff"). The Seminary provides shelf and storage space for archival materials, subject to constraints of the current A. R. Wentz Library facilities.
Custody and Rights
ELCA synods are the sole owners of their records as well as those of the disbanded ELCA congregations that existed within their territories. The five synods retain legal title and all rights to materials deposited in the Archives, including (but not exclusive to) copyright, intellectual, or literary rights. The Archives only takes physical custody of the materials in order to preserve and make them available for research.
Transfer of Materials To the ELCA Region 8 Archives
All transfers of materials to the Archives must be arranged by the synod staff member who is responsible for the synod's records management (hereafter referred to as "synod designee"). No other synod staff members or persons associated with a disbanded congregation should arrange a transfer. Synod designee must coordinate transfers of materials with the Archives staff only under no circumstances should arrangements be made with any other individuals at the United Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg.
Delivery of Materials
Materials must be delivered to the Archives by the synod designee. Except for published items (e.g., church/synod histories, annual assembly proceedings, bulletins of reports, etc.), shipping of materials via parcel carriers is highly discouraged due to the possibility of damage to or loss of irreplaceable historical materials. The Archives staff is not able to transport materials from synod offices to the Archives.
Scope of Acquisitions (click to expand)
The Archives collects records of historical value created by the five synods and their respective disbanded congregations. The Archives' scope of acquisitions is based on the records retentions schedules developed by the ELCA. All records transferred to the Archives must be noncurrent (i.e., those that are no longer used in the day-to-day course of business). The Archives will not accept any current records that the five synods would potentially need for operational, administrative, fiscal, or legal purposes.
 

Synod Records

The types of synod records that the Archives will accept are those that the ELCA document "Records Retention Schedule for the Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" specifically states are to be deposited in the regional archives. They are as follows:
 

Legal Records

  • Charter or articles of incorporation (copies)
  • Synod constitutions and bylaws (copies)
  • Minutes of the synod council (copies)
  • Minutes of the synod council executive committee (copies)
  • Minutes of the synod assembly (copies)
  • Documentation for bequests, gifts and endowments (after the file is closed)

Information on Congregations

  • Constitutions and bylaws of congregations (inactive)
  • Articles of incorporation (inactive)
  • Copies of property related documents of congregations (inactive)
  • Congregation annual reports (inactive)
  • Congregation profile (inactive)
  • Congregation histories and anniversary books
  • Reports of special congregation projects
  • Congregation audio and visual materials
  • Samples of congregation newsletters
  • Promotional pieces
  • Bulletins of special occasions

Information on Synod Employees (all of the below upon completion of service)

  • Letters of application
  • Letters of call
  • Position description
  • Résumé
  • Continuing education documentation
  • Honors and clippings

Biographical Documents on Rostered Persons (all of the below upon retirement, resignation, removal from the roster, or death)

  • Educational and professional history such as résumés
  • Copies of letters of call, acceptance, and termination
  • Questionnaires answered by the individual, including subjective essays describing the person's understanding of vocation
  • Family history, including marriages and divorces, which are legal contracts and part of the public record
  • Photographs, identified by name, location, and date
  • Personal correspondence between the pastor and the bishop that relates to the program of the congregation
  • News releases, honors, bulletins for installations, anniversaries, retirement, and funerals

Correspondence Including Email

  • Only that correspondence to the bishop and assistants of the bishop that represents the policies, programs, and ongoing life of the synod (upon completion of service)
Documents and Reports
  • Reports from the synod to the ELCA Church Council Reports from synod staff or about various synod partnerships and activities
  • Publications of the bishop Worship bulletins for synod sponsored events
  • Synod newsletters (samples)
  • News releases and other promotional material (samples)
  • Training program material (samples)
  • World Wide Web site (samples)
  • Membership directories with or without photographs (samples)

Synodical Agencies, Schools, and Camps

  • Constitutions and bylaws (outdated)
  • Articles of incorporation (outdated)
  • Minutes of boards (outdated)
  • Audit reports (outdated)
  • Copies of insurance policies (outdated)
  • Programmatic material
  • Newsletters
  • Histories and bulletins of special events

Synodical Auxiliaries

  • Constitutions and bylaws (copies)
  • Minutes of boards (copies)
  • Assembly programs and documents (copies)
  • Audit reports (copies)
  • Programmatic material
  • Newsletters
  • Membership directories
  • Audio visual materials

Disbanded Congregation Records


The types of disbanded congregation records that the Archives will accept are those that the ELCA document "Disposition of Records: Advice for Disbanding Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America" defines as the permanent records of a congregation's history. They are as follows:
  • Parish Register
  • Charter, Articles of Incorporation, and Constitutions
  • Minutes and reports of regular and special congregational meetings
  • Minutes of the Congregation Council and its Executive Committee
  • Minutes and other records of committees and auxiliary organizations for men, women, and youth
  • Letters of call or employment and appropriate biographical material for rostered leaders and staff
  • Correspondence of historical significance
  • Parish newsletters
  • Other significant publications, such as directories, anniversary history booklets, and news releases
  • Programmatic, worship, and music materials generated by the congregation
  • Annual audit reports and year end budgets and treasurer's reports (may be part of the minutes of the annual meeting)
  • Property related documents such as deeds, titles, surveys, mortgages, easements, blueprints, and construction drawings
  • Documentation of endowments, bequests and restricted gifts
  • All insurance policies
  • Photographs and negatives, films, DVD and videotapes, sound recordings, all properly marked identifying persons, dates, and events
  • "Snapshots" of the congregation's World Wide Web site (i.e., printouts of pages with unique Web delivered material containing information about the life of the congregation and its community) if no web archiving service has preserved the site
Exclusions (click to expand)
The Archives reserves the right to refuse the transfer of materials not included in the scope of this policy.
 

Financial Records


According to the ELCA document "Records Retention Schedule for the Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America," no synod financial records should be transferred to regional/synodical archives. Synods are to send annual audit reports and the Synodical Budget/Actual Submission Form to the ELCA Treasurer.

Synods are to include annual budgets, annual treasurer's reports, and information on permanent bequests, gifts, and endowments with both the synod assembly minutes and pre-assembly reports. Below are guidelines for all other financial records that the synods must either retain or destroy according to the provisions of the appropriate ELCA records retention schedule. Synods should never transfer these records to the Archives.
 

Synod Financial Records

  • Bequests after distribution
  • Mortgages paid in full
  • Legal files and notes on synodically owned real estate
  • Loans and notes after sale or termination
  • Canceled checks or copies of canceled checks
  • Cash receipt record
  • Special fund-raising appeal record
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Accounts payable vouchers, originals and documentation
  • Payroll administration records such as W-2, W-4, 941 forms and payroll registers
  • Cash receipt journals
  • General invoices

Disbanded Congregation Financial Records

  • Investments in asset management
  • Canceled checks or copies of canceled checks
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Payroll administration records such as W-2, W-4 forms and payroll registers
  • Cash receipt journals
  • Record of member giving
  • General invoices
  • Offering envelopes

Confidential Records


Certain synod and disbanded congregation records are considered confidential and therefore restricted to public access. Below are guidelines for confidential records that the synods must either retain or destroy according to the provisions of the appropriate ELCA records retention schedule. Synods should never transfer these records to the Archives:
  • Information on Persons (Files containing some or all of these documents may exist for pastors, other rostered persons, employees, registered seminary students, and volunteers.)
    • Emergency notification forms
    • Health-related documents, including as worker's compensation
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Background and reference checks
    • Performance appraisals and letters of discipline
    • Contracts
    • Continuing education documentation
    • Documents related to compensation and benefits
    • Mobility forms
  • Pastoral Care Files (When the pastor or other authorized staff member provides pastoral care to parishioners, such as marriage counseling or personal spiritual direction, the pastor may create a file containing the following documents.)
    • Date and time of consultation
    • Persons present
    • Observation notes
    • Tests, such as personality inventories
    • Correspondence
  • Information on Rostered Persons (Roster files contain highly confidential records. For complete guidelines, synods should refer to the ELCA document "Care of Information on Persons Rostered in the Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.")
  • Long-Term Controlled Access Documents (Access to these records is reserved to the bishop of the synod or a designated synod staff person, the secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and legal counsel. Synods are to retain the following files for 25 years after retirement, resignation, removal from the roster, or death, and then destroy them.)Signed letters regarding the performance of a rostered person, if they warrant the bishop's attention
  • Personal correspondence between the pastor and the bishop or synodical staff member
  • Correspondence and documentation on matters that could result in disciplinary action or that relate to serious concerns about conduct
  • Rostered leader's reports to the bishop
  • Mobility forms
  • Performance evaluations
  • Letters of recommendation Medical or psychodiagnostic reports
  • Temporary Documents (These documents have temporary value and the synod should destroy them when they are no longer useful or at the time of a change of call.)Signed letters regarding the performance of a rostered person, if they do not warrant the bishop’s attention
  • Transcripts of academic records
  • Contractual arrangements, including grants or sponsorships, while the contractual agreement is in effect

Electronic Records


The Archives recognizes that electronic records are an increasingly important area of historical documentation. However, many challenges exist with preserving electronic records, as file formats and the hardware and software to read them change continually.

Therefore, until all the issues involved can be researched, the Archives will not collect electronic records, including (but not limited to) email messages, databases, spreadsheets, word-processed documents, presentations, digital photos/graphics, Web pages, or digital audio/video files. Synod and disbanded congregation records of archival value that exist only in digital formats should be printed out on acid-free paper for transfer to the Archives. Digital images should be printed out on quality photographic paper. The Archives will not accept electronic records on CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, removable storage drives, external or internal hard drives, magnetic tapes, zip disks, or any other types of data storage media.
 

Three-Dimensional Objects


Due to space limitations, the Archives generally cannot collect three-dimensional artifacts other than small, easy-to-house items that are part of or directly related to larger manuscript collections. According to the ELCA document "A Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations," disbanded congregation items such as carvings, stained-glass windows, old vestments, and altarware (if still usable) should be donated to an active congregation in need of them.
 

Personal Papers


The Archives will not accept any personal papers created by congregation members, employees, pastors and other rostered persons, registered seminary students, volunteers, or any other individuals associated with the five synods and their respective congregations. Therefore, synods should not include personal papers with the records of synods or disbanding congregations when transferring materials to the Archives.
 

Sermons


Sermons, in whatever format, are considered intellectual property and belong to the pastor. Therefore, synods should not include sermons with the records of synods or disbanding congregations when transferring materials to the Archives. The Archives will determine whether it can accept sermons directly from pastors on a case-by-case basis. Please consult the Archives staff for more information.
Note About Active Congregation Records
According to the ELCA documents "A Brief Guide for Archives of Congregations" and "Records Retention Schedule for the Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America," active ELCA congregations are responsible for maintaining their own records.

The Archives staff recognizes that many active congregations do not have a proper environment to store records of historical value, particularly older materials that may require preservation measures. To help minimize the risks of losing valuable records altogether, the Archives staff can advise active ELCA congregations in regards to preserving fragile materials. However, due to limited resources and shelf space, as well as its obligation to adhere to ELCA policies, the Archives cannot accept records from active ELCA congregations.


Updated 11/10/17
Provisions subject to change without notice.
Researcher Requirements
  1. The ELCA Region 8 Archives is a closed stack collection. For safety and security reasons, materials are accessible to researchers only via ELCA Region 8 Archives staff.
  2. Patrons are required to show a current photo ID as proof of identification (driver's license, passport, school/government ID, etc.) before conducting research.
  3. Use pencil ONLY. No pens, markers, or highlighters of any kind are permitted.
  4. Laptop/tablet computers are allowed provided other patrons are not disturbed. All laptops/tablets must be taken out of their respective cases. The use of other electronic equipment including cameras, audio and video recorders, scanners, and personal copiers is prohibited without permission.
  5. The ELCA Region 8 Archives is not responsible for patrons' belongings and cannot provide a secure area for their storage. Any items not essential for research should be left in the patron's vehicle.
  6. Patrons may not bring into the Reference Room any original archival materials obtained elsewhere.
  7. Food, beverages, chewing gum, and tobacco are prohibited in the Reference Room.
  8. Children may not accompany patrons while they are conducting research.
  9. Because original archival materials can be fragile, patrons must handle them with great care. Depending on the nature of such materials, patrons may be required to wear white lintless gloves.
  10. When taking notes, do not place notebook paper on top of archival materials.
  11. Materials must not be defaced by marking, underlining, making marginal notes, applying sticky notes, or any other form of mutilation. No tracing or rubbing is permitted. Patrons should notify the ELCA Region 8 Archives staff when encountering materials that have been defaced or damaged in any way.
  12. Each patron is generally permitted to view one archival box or two books at a time.
  13. Open and view documents from one folder at a time. Leave documents arranged in their folder in exact order. Allow materials to rest on the table at all times and do not remove them from folders.
  14. Requests for reproductions are considered by the staff on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the ELCA Region 8 Archives Reproduction Policy.
  15. Patrons should respect the rights of others and keep noise to a minimum. Please refrain from loud conversations or transcribing, and turn off cell phone ringers.
  16. Patrons are held responsible for all material charged to them. All materials are to be used only in the Reference Room. Materials will not be loaned out for individual use. Materials may not be transferred from one patron to another.
  17. Patrons should keep archival materials nearby and remain in their own space. Materials must not be left unattended. If patrons need to leave the Reference Room for any reason, materials must be returned to ELCA Region 8 Archives staff.
  18. Before leaving, patrons must return all materials to the ELCA Region 8 Archives staff.
  19. All decisions regarding the handling and reproduction of materials are at the discretion of the ELCA Region 8 Archives staff. All of their decisions are final, and are subject to change without notice.

Updated 7/14/17
Provisions subject to change without notice.
Research Inquiries

Research Inquiry Instructions

Research inquiries can be submitted via phone or email.

Phone: 717-339-1317
Email: region8archives@uls.edu

Please be sure your research inquiry includes the following:

1. Name and Location of Congregation(s) or Name of Synod(s)
All of our records are indexed by names of congregations and synods. Thus, it is essential that inquiries include this information. Please note that more than one Lutheran congregation within a particular locality can have the same name (e.g., St. John, St. Paul, Trinity Lutheran, etc.). Therefore, we need as much of the following information as possible to identify the correct church: street address, city/town, county, and state where it is/was located. If researching a synod, only the name of the synod is necessary.

2. Nature of Research
Please be as specific as possible. If known, include the types of records you wish to research, such as parish registers, meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, etc. Also, be sure to include as much of the following information as possible if it is relevant to your research: full names of individuals (including birth/maiden names when applicable); known or approximate dates of births, confirmations, marriages, deaths, etc.; name of city/town, county, and state where individuals lived; and names of pastors who performed baptisms, marriages, etc.

Example: Do your collections include records for the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Anytown, PA? I am seeking a marriage record for Richard and Jane Roe, married at this church on August 15, 1950. The pastor who performed the ceremony was Rev. John Smith.