Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Oldenburg Church Books Now Available on Matricula

I am beyond excited! As one who has spent numerous hours in the Family History Library in Norwood looking up baptismal records for my ancestors, imagine my joy in learning that they are now available to all of us on Matricula - an online database of church records. There is no charge for accessing this database. They have an English version of the website, but the records, of course, are in German.

I immediately looked for the baptismal record of my great-grandfather, August Vonderheide, as I know his date of birth and already have a copy of the record. I've outlined the steps I took to find the record.

Log on to the website: https://icar-us.eu/en/cooperation/online-portals/matricula    Go "To the archive"



If you know the name of the town, you can search for it. In my case, I searched on Holdorf.

If you do not know, click on the box highlighted with number 3.

You can then either search places or open up a map and search an area.



Since I knew my ancestor came from Holdorf, I searched on that place. This generated a list of three parishes connected with Holdorf.


I knew my parish of interest was St. Peter and Paul. Clicking on the link brought up a wonderful summary of information about the church, including the fact that this parish was once part of the church in Damme before the new parish was formed in 1827. This is important to know if your ancestors lived in the area before 1827.


Scrolling down on the parish page, I was able to locate a list of the available registers and two maps of the area. Clicking on the top map allows you to zero in on the present-day parish.


I clicked on the "camera icon" for the baptismal register for 1827-1876.  The menu on the right listed year was subdivided into 10-year segments. From there I had to guess which page would represent the year 1873, going forward or backward until arriving at the correct date. (Note: If you don't know the exact year, you will have to scroll though each page individually. This is much easier done here than scrolling through microfilm at the Family History Center. I found my record on p. 147).


Here is my great-grandfather's baptismal record. Often people in this region were often given multiple names, but were "known by" the last name in this list. My great-grandfather, for instance, was known as August Henry Vonderheide in the U.S. in contrast to Heinrch August von der Heide in Germany. The record also includes his date of birth, date of baptism, names of parents and names of the witnesses.



I want to acknowledge Jeff Herbert who has been working with the archives in Vechta to get many of these records digitized. I anticipate more records in the future. It's a great day for genealogy.

Update from Don Meyer:

I asked Don Meyer (who made me aware that these records were available) to review this post and make suggestions. Here are a couple of his observations.

Click to enlarge.

Thanks, Don.

Submitted by:

Kathy Reed
Director-at-Large

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