I'm studying a group of Germans that immigrated to the United States around 1860 to the mid-1880s. My source for their birth place is their local court naturalization papers on FamilySearch. Many of them say they were born in Werdau -- one record says "born in Werdau in the County of Zwickau in Germany". (This is consistent with what I've learned from local histories -- the town I'm studying recruited many immigrants for their skills in the weaving industries.)

The online version of Volume V28, Page 522 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica has this entry for Werdau:

WERDAU, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Saxony, on the Pleisse, in the industrial district of Zwickau, and 40 M. S. of Leipzig. Pop. (1905) 19,473. Its chief industries are cotton and wool-spinning and the weaving of cloth, but machinery of various kinds, paper and a few other articles are also manufactured. In addition to the usual schools, Werdau contains a weaving-school. The town is mentioned as early as 1304 and in 1398 it was purchased by the margrave of Meissen, who afterwards became elector of Saxony. See Stichard, Chronik der Fabrikstadt Werdau (2nd ed., Werdau, 1865). End of Article: WERDAU

The entry on the online Meyers Gazetteer is Werdau 2) Werdau, Zwickau, Zwickau, Sachsen.

Many members of this group were also members of the local Lutheran church in the US (in Massachusetts).

FamilySearch's website seems to have little coverage. I have found some Werdau-born people on FamilySearch, but they are 'strays' (people born in Werdau who turn up in some extracted burial records from other areas of Germany).

The FamilySearch catalog has some church records for Werdau, for which one can order FHL microfilm, but they are LDS records (no surprise there), not Lutheran.

What online resources (indexes, transcriptions) are available for Lutheran parish records in Germany for this time period?

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    My grandfather who lived in Werdau visited family in the US in 1892. I believe he was there for a couple years. I'd love to hear more about your research.
    – user4002
    May 19, 2015 at 19:58
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    I also have some contacts from Werdau that may be able to help.
    – user4002
    May 19, 2015 at 20:17
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  • I have updated the title to make one of our newer questions less of a duplicate of this one.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 22, 2015 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


You are lucky. There are almost no Lutheran parish records available for this time, especially not for Waldau. The local Lutheran church of Saxony is also no funding member of Archion, a platform for digitized Lutheran church records. See the link for a map of participating churches, the website will start for the general public in a few months and will be the only notable source for Lutheran parish records from Germany.

But …

When checking the FamilySearch records for Werdau my first reaction was: Wow, so much primary and secondary sources for this town!

I picked those:

These are no church records, but will most likely provide more information than the few columns that formed a church record in these years. Resident population registers are lost for a lot of German towns (or where never created). If in existence, they are often not available for public research or only through single individual research requests.

  • At least one of these is only accessible by using a terminal at the FHL itself in Salt Lake City, so I guess I have something for my "what to do at the FHL" research list now. Others are microfilms which I could order, but there is a lot of film. Articles on how to use resident population registers would be good to have, but that's a topic for another question. :) I'll read the other questions which have already been posted. I see that there are some records for other areas which are not indexed, so I can look at those to see what the records look like.
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:10
  • P.S. Your second link to Archion gives me a stern warning. I don't know much German, but I know enough to recognize an access prohibited sign. As you said, it's in beta, and not open to the public yet?
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:14
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    @JanMurphy Yes. Beta testers need to sign in twice, first using this prompt and then after accessing the site via regular login. I'll write a self-answered question on Archion for non-German speaking users as soon as the site goes public.
    – lejonet
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:51
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    @JanMurphy I think these registers differ locally, so explaining a particular example available to you would be best.
    – lejonet
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:52
  • I'll add more later once I get my records in order. This person is probably not in one of my direct lines, but I found this reference to a Christian Friedrich KLOPFER from Werdau on GedBas and now I'm curious if he might be a cousin.
    – Jan Murphy
    Nov 4, 2014 at 19:54

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