Church Records

Church records

The Library has an extensive collection of church records from various denominations throughout Minnesota.  For individual congregations, search the library catalog by the name of the congregation, the church body, or the location.

Episcopal Church. Diocese of Minnesota.

Diocesan Records, 1823-ongoing

The records of the Episcopal Church, Diocese of Minnesota, cover the period from the arrival of the first Episcopal missionaries into the area in the 1820s through the bishopric of Robert M. Anderson, which ended in 1993. They document the organization, administration, and history of the diocese and its parishes and missions through the records of the diocesan offices and parishes and the papers of numerous diocesan officials and leaders.  Also documented in detail are the Diocese of Duluth.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 
Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota, 1800-1988

Materials in English, Norwegian, German, and Chinese
Selected congregational records from individual congregations belonging to the American Lutheran Church with a strong emphasis on Norwegian churches in Minnesota. Records from other states are also available, including Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, etc. Congregational records consist of ministerial records such as baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, funerals, day registers, communions, pastoral journals, and membership lists.  Other congregational records available are minutes, church council minutes, Luther League minutes, Ladies Aid minutes, and youth group minutes. Minutes often include congregational histories and some parish newsletters. 
MNHS call number: M678, Digital Finding Aid

First Baptist Church (Saint Paul, MN)
Church Records, 1849-1999 (bulk 1849-1940).

Records of the first Baptist church organized in Minnesota Territory, documenting its history, administration, and the activities of its auxiliary organizations. The First Baptist Church of Saint Paul traces its origins to July 1847, when Harriet E. Bishop, a teacher and Baptist missionary from Vermont credited with starting the first public school in St. Paul, opened the first Sunday school in the city.  The collection includes church histories and historical and biographical sketches (1874-1999); scrapbooks (1867-1945), correspondence, photographs, minutes, membership and financial records, annual reports, correspondence, instructional materials, and newsletters.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

First Presbyterian Church (Minneapolis)
Parish Record Books, 1835-1871

Two volumes of typed copy of minutes of meetings of the church and of its predecessors at Fort Snelling, Oak Grove, and Minnehaha. Included are lists of members; records of births, baptisms, and marriages; and a copy of the records of the church at St. Peters (Fort Snelling), accompanied by a sketch of its organization with the names of members. The church at St. Peter’s was organized in 1835. Among the men prominent in the development of the church were Thomas S. Williamson, Henry H. Sibley, and Samuel W. and Gideon H. Pond. 
MNHS call number:  See the finding aid in the library (P3011). 

St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church, St. Michael Minnesota
Parish Registers, 1857-1894 

Records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths for this Wright County German church; for the Church of St. Walburga in Fletcher, Hennepin County; and for other Roman Catholic churches in Wright, Hennepin, Sherburne, and Meeker counties. Also, a parish census (1894) for St. Michael’s. Information is recorded in Latin.
MNHS call number:  See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm M387). 

Unity Church (St. Paul, MN)
Records, 1860-1983

Records of this Unitarian church, relating to its administration, membership, clubs, committees, affiliation with state and national Unitarian associations.  Records include organizational and membership data; correspondence, minutes, and other papers of the board of trustees; reports and correspondence concerning annual membership meetings; financial records; fund-raising materials (1948-1955); planning commission correspondence and minutes (1953-1956).
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (St. Paul Minnesota)
Parish Registers, 1931-1993

Baptismal, marriage, and death registers kept by a Catholic parish serving a Mexican American community on the west side of Saint Paul.  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church began in 1931 as a Mexican mission formed at the urging of the Guild of Catholic Women. The Guild rented a former grocery store at 123 South Wabasha Street to serve as the mission's first chapel and Reverend Joseph Guillemette, a priest in the foreign language department of the College of St. Thomas, was assigned by the Archdiocese to minister to the Mission. The first masses, celebrated in Spanish and English, were held on February 22, 1931.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Chisago Lake Lutheran Church (Center City, MN.)
Parish Record Books,  1854-1968

Microfilmed minute books, parish registers, and ministerial record books of one of the earliest Swedish-American Lutheran congregations in Minnesota. Includes record books containing minutes of church council and committee meetings; membership rosters;  baptism, wedding, and death registers.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church (Benson, Minn.)
Parish Records, 1860-1971 
Parish registers, historical data, minute books, records of the ladies aid and other women’s organizations, cemetery records, and miscellany of five Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran churches in Benson (city and township), Six Mile Grove Township, and Swenoda Township in Swift County, which were the predecessors of the present Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church.  English & Norwegian.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm 351). 

Catholic Church.  Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Parish Questionnaires and Related Papers, undated and ca. 1890-1974

These materials center on a "Questionnaire on Parish History" sent out in 1948 to each parish in the Archdiocese (which included North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota) to collect data for a history of the Catholic Church in Minnesota to be issued on the centennial of the establishment of the Diocese of St. Paul, July 19, 1950. The questionnaires (there are none for North Dakota) contain information about persons, events, and dates significant to parish history; inventories of parish records; buildings, cemeteries, parish organizations, and parochial school programs; and the ethnic composition and geographical origins of parish members. The related papers may contain items such as: manuscript and printed historical sketches; anniversary celebration materials; annual financial reports; programs of religious, social, and cultural events; church and school dedication programs and souvenir booklets; newspaper and periodical articles; and photographs. 
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Microfilm M260). 

Related resources

Guild of Catholic Women (St. Paul, MN)
Guild Records, 1909-2009

Records of a Saint Paul-based philanthropic and social association of lay Roman Catholic women, its Catholic Guild Hall, the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Antone Hospital Guild, and Our lady of Good Counsel Home. The Guild of Catholic Women was organized by women in St. Luke's Parish, Saint Paul, in December 1906 and was incorporated in 1912. The Guild's objective was to organize city-wide Catholic women for philanthropic and social activities. Files include minutes, annual reports, financial records, correspondence, photographs, clippings, newsletters and publications, photograph albums, scrapbooks, and other material documenting the activities of the Guild of Catholic Women. Of particular interest is an extensive set of minute books (1909-2007), a set of history files, and a link to a video presentation about the history of the Guild and its work.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches
Council Records, 1905-2011

Subject files, minutes, reports, membership and committee data, financial records, correspondence, newspaper clippings, subject files, and similar materials documenting the activities of a voluntary association of Protestant and Orthodox churches in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area organized to work together for the welfare of the community and to foster cooperation among the area's many Protestant churches.
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Saint Paul Area Council of Churches
Council of Church Records​
1903-1994 (bulk 1943-1994)

Records documenting the activities of the Saint Paul Area Council of Churches, as well as predecessor and related organizations, in the areas of religious education, social services, human rights and social activism, and the ecumenical movement.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Church Record Links

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.