The immigration of German people into the United States surged during the mid 1800s. This was especially evident in New York City, the primary port of immigration during this period. The records of German Lutheran Churches in the city provide a wealth of information about these immigrants. The records can be used to establish genealogical connections to the origins of the immigrants in Germany as well as their ultimate destination in the United States.
The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Geissenhainer, Sr. and his son of the same name were prominent pastors to German Lutheran congregations from 1808 through 1879. Rev. Geissenhainer Jr. was the assistant pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church from 1827 – 1840. He served the English-speaking congregation while his father preached in German. At the end of his ministry with St. Matthew’s Rev. Geissenhainer transcribed the events he presided over from the church books into two new ledgers. In 1841 he was called to be the pastor of the United German Evangelical Lutheran Church (later St. Paul’s) and remained there until his death in 1879. He maintained St. Paul’s records in three additional volumes.
These records are only available at the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society in New York City. The five volumes include records of baptism, confirmation, marriage, death, and church attendance. They represent an untapped source of information about German immigrants during one of the periods of highest immigration.
MAGS has begun to index the baptism, confirmation, and marriage records. The links below enable you to search each of these record groups by name and date. Results of the search are displayed in a new window. When you find information of interest you can contact the NYHS Library to request a photographic copy of the original record. Click the Readme button on the search pages to see contact information for the NYHS.
Rev. Geissenhainer recorded more than just pastoral acts in the church books. He included some history of the congregations he served. In addition, he recorded detailed obituaries of his parents and wife in the books. Some of these have been transcribed and are available below.