Finding Aid to the Records of St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church

Collection Category: Religious Records | Collection Type: Image Browse | Location: New York County

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is the official repository of the records from St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City.

This collection is a digitized finding aid to the 13 register books that are held at the NYG&B offices in Manhattan. Researchers are welcome to use these materials in person, but must first make an appointment. Send us an email if you’re interested. 

Click here to view this finding aid

About the Physical Collection

The records held in the NYG&B offices are delicate, and consist of 13 register books.

Most registers are in German until about 1920, after which they are in English. Church services were in German until 1937. 

The registers consist of:

  • Baptisms 1850 to 1976
  • Confirmations 1851 to 1871
  • Marriages 1850 to 1976 (missing 1866 to 1871)
  • Deaths/funerals 1853 to 1940
  • Church minutes 1856 to 1900

The registers of events are a rich source of information about the participating parties.

For example, marriages frequently provide the specific places of birth for bride and groom; baptisms frequently provide birthplaces of the child’s parents; confirmations provide the birth date of the confirmed; deaths frequently provide the birthplace of the deceased.

About the Church

St. Luke’s Church was started in 1850 by Rev. William Drees and a small group of his Dutch Reformed congregation. The first services were held at West 35th Street and Ninth Avenue.

St. Luke’s was transformed into a Lutheran church in 1853 upon joining the New York Ministerium, and took the name The German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of St. Luke’s in 1859.

In 1861, the church moved to West 46th/47th Street and Eighth Avenue. The church bought its own building in 1863 at West 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue. In 1875, the church moved into a larger building at 233-239 West 42nd Street near Eighth Avenue to accommodate a growing congregation.

Until St. Luke’s joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the church was independent of any synodical affiliation.

St. Lukes’s church moved to 308-316 West 46th Street near Ninth Ave in 1923, where it remains today.

Reflecting the ethnic makeup of its congregation, church services were conducted in German until 1937.

Some of the pastors associated with St. Luke’s are:

  • William Drees (1850-1870)
  • Wilhelm H. Buettner (1871-1874)
  • Wilhelm Busse (1874-1899)
  • Wilhelm F. Koepchen (1900-1936)
  • Albert Neibacher (1935-1974)
  • Dale Hansen (1974-2000)
  • Paul Schmiege (2000-present)

Saint Luke’s Lutheran Church remains open for worship (see http://stlukesnyc.org). For more information about St. Luke’s see the church’s website as well as “Church Records Given to the Society,” The NYG&B Newsletter, Spring 2003, p. 3, and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in the City of New York 1850-1940, available at New York Public Library.

 

Suggested citation for this collection:

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, "Finding Aid to the Records of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church” digital images, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, (www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org), 2019.