Researching the Lutheran Pastor at Concordia Historical Institute

How do I Begin?

Concordia Historical Institute's Reference Staff is delighted to assist you. For starters....

  1. Research is best conducted in person at CHI. Initial inquiries may be made by mail.
  2. Access to the collection is provided in the Institute's Reference Room. Our Reference Room is open from 8:30 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. We are closed for certain holidays. It is recommended to check ahead of time before traveling long distance (314-505-7935).
  3. Use of CHI's collection is free to CHI members and students with ID. A $10.00 access fee applies to all others. There may be other charges, e.g., photocopies. Consult the general Researching at Concordia Historical Institute for more information.
  4. Some materials have restrictions and may require special arrangements. CHI reserves the right to limit or restrict access to materials.

CHI Serves the Synod and Lutheran Church

Concordia Historical Institute is the Department of Archives and History of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Information on Missouri Synod Lutheran pastors is available from a variety of sources including official records, biographical files and official publications in the Institute's Library and Archives. Biographical information on pastors from other American Lutheran synods is sometimes available from CHI's extensive collection of related materials on American Lutheranism.

Family Genealogist

The popularity of tracing family roots has steadily grown over the years. CHI welcomes genealogists who have inquiries concerning their ancestor who was a Missouri Synod pastor. Information available is normally limited to the education and ministry of the pastor, although obituaries and records often do contain information about a pastor's family. The researcher should anticipate that records before 1920 are in German.

Church and Congregation Researcher

Congregations celebrating significant anniversaries often produce a written history of their church. Writing a history recounts the unique story of God's gracious dealings with His people at that particular place. Naturally, information about each pastor is an important part of a church's history. This information usually includes details about his education, previous ministry and perhaps a brief report of what happened to him after he left.

Personal Collections

Personal collections of pastors (sermons, lectures, diaries, etc.) may be on deposit at CHI. However, these are generally of prominent individuals such as leaders of the Synod, professors of seminaries and colleges, etc..


CHI maintains an extensive picture collection of pastors. Other possible resources include histories of other congregations the pastor served, official publications of the synod and graduation pictures. Reproduction of pictures is available for a nominal fee.

Researching Your Lutheran Pastor by Mail

Researchers unable to come to St. Louis may have research done by CHI's reference staff by mail.

CHI provides a Biographical Record of Missouri Synod pastors for $10.00. This information is especially helpful to congregations seeking to compile a church history that includes their former pastors. Biographical Records are also useful to genealogists who are researching a Lutheran pastor.

General research is also available. Fees apply with discounts to Institute members. Please consult CHI's brochure Researching at Concordia Historical Institute.

Remember: there is no substitute for doing your own research. Visit Concordia Historical Institute and experience its outstanding collections for yourself.

Biographical Record

Each Biographical Record is $10.00, postage paid. Four or more require half payment in advance. Please keep in mind that the information on each record varies, but the report will be as complete as CHI's archives are able to provide.

Research by Mail Service Charges

If it's information on a Lutheran Pastor you need ... CHI's Archives and Library include:

If you have a request for information or reference services, please send an e-mail to

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