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Home > Databases > Local heritage books > Chicago, St. Paulus

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Local heritage book Chicago, St. Paulus

The present local heritage book (in German “Ortsfamilienbuch”, OFB) encompasses all records of baptism, confirmation, marriage and obituaries of the first church book of the ‘First German Protestant Church of St. Paulus in Chicago, Illinois’. This church book was initiated in 1846 and covers the baptisms until 1863 and for some years up to 1876 all other events.

In the now created update of this OFB the data from the second church book were added, which contains the 5200 baptism entries from 1863 to 1876.

The church book was written in German language and includes many persons immigrating during this period via Chicago into the United States. A noteworthiness is that the respective parish priests registered the origin of the immigrants in many cases with their date and place of birth in Germany. Thus, this parish record represents a very good base of information on emigrants from Germany into the United States of America.

During the big Chicago fire in 1871 the priest of the church, Heinrich Wunder, ran into the church and got the church books out of the burning church. Thanks to this action we still have all these data of the early years of Chicago.

The compilation of the parish records occurred by a team of the Lower Saxony Association for Family History in Hannover, Lower Saxony (NLF). A particularly developed software ‘GEN_DO!’ had been used supporting a large team to enter the parish records. After having finished the transcription, the persons were put into family groups, merging those persons who were mentioned in several parish records.

We would like to thank the recent-day St. Paulus’ Lutheran Church in Chicago for their permission to create and publish this local heritage book. St. Paulus’ Lutheran Church can be found on their web site https://www.fspauls.org/.

Our sincere thank is directed similarly to the archive of the ‘Concordia Historical Institute’ in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, https://concordiahistoricalinstitute.org, who scanned the parish records and made them available to us.

In the mean time we started to incorporate data from German church books referring to the emigrants mentioned St. Paulus’ Lutheran Church in Chicago. This work will be continued in our association especially for persons originating from Lower Saxony. We would be very pleased to receive supplements from other parts of Germany including detailed indications about the sources to meet the methodology in this local heritage book.

Hereby the NLF team is presenting their results. We hope to provide a sound contribution to the research for emigration from Germany in the 19th century and are eager to learn about corrections and amendments.

Gabriele Fricke and Albert Emmerich,
Project Management.




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Niedersächsischer Landesverein für Familienkunde e.V.