Schleswig-Holstein Church Records

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The Nordelbische Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche - Nordelbisches Kirchenarchiv writes:

"Practical Information for Genealogists:

We are sorry to inform you that there are no church records or family genealogical registers at the Nordelbisches Kirchenarchiv. So we are not able to help you with genealogical data about families in general.

There is no central index of families or names for the territory of our church. All data of persons can only be traced directly from the church records of the local parishes. It is therefore indispensible for efficient genealogical research to know the exact German name of the place of origin of the person concerned.

Written requests should be addressed to the respecting local parish, in most cases the church record offices". Older records can be obtained from a so called Kirchenkreis (archival district) representing the parishes belonging to that archival district.

A map for Kirchenkreise (archival districts) in Schleswig-Holstein see here

If you need to see the holdings for each Kirchenkreis click here (pdf files)

If you are in search for an address for a Kirchenkreis go to Google, enter your choice of Kirchenkreis, look for Kirchen und Gemeinden and obtain the postal, fax or email address. For changes in jurisdictions click 

If there is a question to which Kirchenkreis jurisdiction a village might belong, please contact for clarification

It is best to write a request in German. If you need help composing a letter, refer to Germany Letter Writing Guide and follow the instructions.

Here is how it works:

A researcher is looking for church records of Bissee, Holstein. A look on a map places the town right between Kiel and Neumünster. The question is, which Kirchenbuchamt is the repository for Bissee, Kiel or Neumünster? Kirchenkreis Neumünster's jurisdiction map does not show Bissee, therefore, the Kirchenkreis Kiel's jurisdictions were checked. The town did not show up in the listings either. Further research revealed that Bissee was part of the parish of Brügge according to the gazetteer Kingdom of Prussia, Schleswig-Holstein Province. Going back to Kirchenkreis Neumünster's listings, Brügge is listed.

The request for the ancestor's record would be addressed to the Kirchenkreis Neumünster

If you desire to go to Schleswig-Holstein and conduct research using church records, you should be aware of the following information issued by the Evangelische Landeskirche:

Before 1876 the entries in church registers had the status of legal documents. This changed when civil registration came into existence throughout Germany. Today church administrations are urged to allow research into church registers as well as provide information. Since 1876 church books do no longer have equal legal standing with civil registration registers since the Church only documents ecclesiastical concerns.

Church books become "historical" if they are no longer used for administrative purposes and attain this status at the latest thirty years after the last entry was done. Then records are archived and are subject to archival laws.

These regulations only apply to historical church books. Current church books are subject to information entitlement, i.e., persons or their legal guardians have access to the information pertaining to them, others if they have a credible legal interest.

If  you want to visit one of the Kirchenbuchämter, be beware of time restrictions (1 session = 3 hours). The research facilities are small and have only one reader on which to read microfiches. The equipment might be worn out which limits research time even more. It is expected to work independently for the staff cannot/will not assist with research. You must be knowledgeable about their archival records, jurisdictions and of course, have the ability to read old German script. Some archives provide indexes of names, which of course, facilitates a search for ancestors immensely. You will be charged a fee of 5 Euros (2010) for using the facility.


The Nordelbische Landeskirche has placed restrictions on German researchers visiting Statens Arkiver, Viborg, Denmark. They are not allowed to search the church books for Schleswig-Holstein in this facility unless they are residents of Denmark. All Danish nationals as well as members of other European nations have access. After one year a list of persons, who were searching the church books of Sydsleswig (Nordschleswig) is sent to the Nordelbische Kirchenarchiv in Kiel for inspection.

To read about church history in Schleswig-Holstein see:

The dead of the Asylum in Glückstadt 1767-1815

Since September 1766 the asylum of Glückstadt had its own church and kept its own church records. The first birth occurred in 1766, the first death in 1767. All entries are related to the occupants of the institution among which were not only the insane but also the criminal. Most of the occupants came from elsewhere. Dr. Fritz Treichel has listed these people in several installments, stating origin, why these people are in the institution and when and of what they died. Mr. Treichel’s findings can be retrieved in the periodical Familienkundliches Jahrbuch Schleswig-Holstein, Jahrgang 15 (1976), Jahrgang 21 (1982) and Jahrgang 25 (1986). These articles are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The periodical’s call number is 943.51 B5fj

Kirchenstuhlregister Oldenburg

This is a register of seats a family was able to purchase from the Church. 75-80% of seats were sold. The purchase was mainly for a certain timeframe; however, it was also possible to purchase a seat for a life time. This privilege was granted to officials and proprietors. The buyer would receive a so called Kirchenstuhlbrief.

The author Karlheinz Volkart has extracted a Kirchenstuhlregister for the parish Oldenburg/Holstein from the year 1732. This particular register shows not only the current owner of a certain Kirchenstuhl, but contains far reaching evidence of formerly held positions and owned properties which were closely connected. Such lists also show inheritances and clears confusions regarding connections between persons and facts. There are also references to times before the church book for Oldenburg was established.

The list can be found in Familienkundliches Jahrbuch Schleswig-Holstein, Jahrgang 31. The periodical is available at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, International Floor. The reference number is 943.51 B5 fj.

Here is a link to the Roman Catholic Church in Schleswig-Holstein

Death Records in Schleswig-Holstein Church Records

Between the second half of the 1700’s till about 1800, the church death records may help you greatly in organizing families.  At this time, death records often were quite lengthy documents giving names and detailed information regarding the survivors of the deceased. 

Marriage Engagement Records

Aksi after abiyt 1740, narruage and engagenent recirds were iften jeot separatel and may also provided important information about a family.