Church records in Saxony

Church books in Saxony as a historical source

Church records are one of the most important sources for family researchers. Until the introduction of registry offices around 1875, births (or baptisms), marriages and deaths (or burials) were registered as official acts almost exclusively by the church. 

The records of church officials also contains further information on the occupation, social status, illnesses and place of residence. The German (protestant) church records of births/baptisms, marriages and burials can date back as far as the 16th century. Usually, the books are stored at the parish and researcher will be able to examine the books there. This means that when searching for personal data, you have to find out not only the place of residence and birth, but also the relevant parish. For the territory of Saxony the Historisches Ortsverzeichnis von Sachsen (historical gazetteer) is the best tool and can be searched online.

I provide a quick guide for the gazetteer within my blog article: Searching places in Saxony with the Historical gazetteer of Saxony (incl. quick guide video) 

In recent years, more and more church records have become available online

Digital Saxon church records

Since the end of 2020, the birth, marriage, and death records of all Catholic parishes in Saxony up to the year 1875 have been available online in completely digital form via the parish register platform "Matricula"

Unfortunately, for the evangelical-lutheran parish, which are the most common congregation in Saxony, the situation is completely different. Many books were filmed and digitized, but only a few are available online. 

(The further explanations refer only to the records, parishes and archives of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony).

The Landeskirchliche Archiv in Dresden (Church archive Dresden) provides on their website  a list of all filmed and digitized church books in it's area of responsibility. (Behind the link there is a pdf-file, which you can save on your computer by clicking the right mouse button). 

All archival records listed there can be viewed in digital form at the church archive in Dresden. Some of the digitized church books are already available at  (online portal for Protestant church records). But it will take some more time until all digital books from Saxony are available at Archion. I recommend that you check the church directory portal from time to time for updates.

The church archive in Dresden is not the only archive that keeps church records for places in the (historical) territory of Saxony. 

The most important archives and websites for Saxon church records

Please find below all important webpages and research platforms together with a short prescription.

Historische Ortsverzeichnis von Sachsen (Historical gazetteer of Saxony)

Besides „Meyers Orts- und Verkehrslexikon“ (Meyers Gazetteer) the Historical (digital) gazetteer of Saxony is the most important reference book or platform for locating parishes in Saxony. The use of the “Historical gazetteer of Saxony “ requires knowledge of the German lan-guage.

One of the most important platforms for research in German church records is the inter-net platform "". More than 140,000 digitized books from mainly Protestant ar-chives and parishes are available online there. Unfortunately, only books from 140 par-ishes (out of a total of 338 parishes of “Evangelisch-lutherische Landeskirche von Sach-sen”) are available so far. The church records are not indexed and therefore not machine searchable. Knowledge of German and old German scripts are necessary for the search.

Navigation on the portal is possible in English and German.

Since the end of 2020, the birth, marriage, and death records of Catholic parishes in Saxo-ny (diocese of Dresden-Meißen up to the year 1875) have been available online in their entirety via the "Matricula" parish register platform.

In addition, church records from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Italy, Luxem-bourg, Serbia and Slovenia can be found here, too.

Navigation on the portal is possible in English and German as well as Czech and Slovak.

Landeskirchliches Archiv Dresden

The “Landeskirchliches Archiv Dresden” has become the most important archive for church book research in Saxony. An increasing number of digitized church records are available in the archive. The archive is leading the filming and digitization of church books in the area of the “Landeskirche von Sachsen”. Gradually, the digitized books will also be published on Archion.

In addition, other important genealogical sources from the historical holdings of Protestant church congregations in Saxony can be viewed in the “Landeskirchliches Archiv in Dres-den”.

General information about the archive and the holdings is available in English.

Everything else is described in German only.

Landeskirchliches Archiv Berlin

The church records office at the “Landeskirchliches Archiv Berlin” is responsible for the area of the Evangelical Church Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz (EKBO). The area also includes Saxon parishes in the church districts of Hoyerswerda, Weißwasser and Görlitz. The church records in question can be viewed in the archives in Görlitz.

Information on the website is available in German only.

Archiv des Evangelischen Kirchkreisverbandes Görlitz

The archive in Görlitz has a large number of microfiches concerning church parishes in Saxony. The archive also provides access to filmed church records in Silesia (now Germany and Poland).

Information on the site is available in German only.

Landeskirchenarchiv Magdeburg

Some Saxon parishes in northern Saxony belong to the Evangelische Kirche Mitteldeutsch-lands (Evangelical Church of Central Germany). The church records for places in the for-mer Provinz Sachsen (Province of Saxony as part of Prussia) are available in Magdeburg as microfilms.

Information on the website is available in German only.

Some of the church records from the archive have already been published at ““.

On the pages of "" you can find indexes to church books and some transcripts of church book contents in Saxony. As a rule, you will not find complete church records digitized here. The exception are church records for Bautzen, which can be viewed here in their entirety.

The catalog search can be used to find the available records on Saxony.

The church records found at „“ are similar to the available sources at „“. In the descriptions of the holdings, there is often a reference to the available books at "".

The catalog search can be used to find the available records on Saxony.

If records of the parish you are looking for are not available online, you must contact the appropriate archive or parish office.

Research inquiries to Church archives

Contacting a church parish or a church archive in Germany can be one of the biggest chal-lenges for a foreign researcher. You cannot be sure that your request will be answered.

Most employees in Saxon church archives or parish are not very familiar with the English language. For this reason, it can be that letters or e-mails in English cannot be processed. If you get replies from archives or church parish, they will be mostly written in German.

The payment options for archive fees are only for payments within Germany/ Europe. Most archives require the payment of fees in advance.

And you will often only get transcriptions from the book pages and no scans/photos or English translations of the records.

For this reason, I recommend seeking help for research inquiries from people who can write and read German very well. Alternatively, you can use translation programs, like “Google translation” or “”. Another option is to contact English-speaking researchers or professional genealogists in the searched area. They will help corresponding with the Saxon parish or archives or do the research in the church records for you.

The ideal template for (German) research inquiries

Here's the perfect template for your next archive request, free of charge. Please enter your email address below and I will immediately send you the link to download the template (text file). In addition, you will always be the first to be informed about further templates, instructions and similar offers. Of course, you can withdraw this decision at any time free of charge. 


Guiding questions and key points for written inquiries

Preparation of the request

  • What is the goal of my inquiry? What do I want to know?
  • What evidence or information do I already have? What document could help to understand and answer my request?
  • What is the correct (postal or e-mail) address of the archives or parish office?
  • Where can I find the address, I need?
  • In what form is payment of fees possible?

Important content of a written inquiry

  • name of the contact person
  • central questions or the goal of your research request
  • requesting for copies or transcripts from the church records pages
  • mention known facts (names and dates)
  • your contact details
  • willingness to pay any costs incurred (fees)

Follow-up of your inquiry

  • Ask for notification of receipt of your written request to the archive.
  • Payment of fees
  • Letter of thanks to archive or parish office
  • Dealing with negative information (learnings)
  • Determination of further research approaches

For additional help with research requests to German archives, see my blog article:

Successful inquiries to offices and archives in Germany

Good luck with your further genealogical research!

Print Friendly and PDF Ausdrucken

Noch keine Kommentare vorhanden

Was denkst du?

Here you will regularly receive the latest tips and advice on genealogy and archival research conveniently delivered to your email inbox.

Privacy guaranteed. Your email address will not be passed on. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.
Powered by Chimpify