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Denominational Records

St. Louis Denominations

Introduction to St. Louis Churches

St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French Catholics.  The first resident priest, the Rev. Bernard de Limpach, was a German, who came from the Rhineland in 1776.  The Catholic Diocese of St. Louis was formed in 1827. 


The first person with a German surname baptized was Joseph Eberlein in 1791. The Diocese of St. Louis was formed in 1827, but no specifically German congregations, Catholic or otherwise had yet been established.  That quickly changed as the pace of immigration increased after 1830. The Rev. Joseph Lutz, born in Baden, began ministering to German-speaking Catholics. Holy Ghost German Evangelical Church, the first German Protestant Church in St. Louis, was founded in 1834. By 1835, Mass was held regularly for German Catholics at St. Louis University Chapel. By 1836, German missionaries arrived to organize Protestant congregations in St. Louis County. A large group of Saxon Lutherans arrived in 1839 and organized Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. By 1840, St. Louis’s populations was 16,469—more than triple what it had been in 1830. No German Catholic congregations had yet been established. Among German Protestants, Evangelical congregations were organized in St. Louis, Mehlville, and Des Peres, and one Lutheran congregation in St. Louis.

St. Louis Genealogical Society Congregations Project

Our Partner, the St. Louis Genealogical Society, has embarked on a long-range project to collect, preserve, digitize, and index historical records from St. Louis City and County congregations of all denominations. St. Louis was the welcoming home for people of many religions. Genealogists often find the names of their ancestors’ congregations in baptismal or marriage documents but are unable to locate the actual records. The St. Louis Genealogical Society has developed a web project documenting each St. Louis Congregation, providing history and data with the date of formation and their addresses.  The Genealogical Society works with institutions to locate and digitize their records.  Visit the Congregations Project on the St. Louis Genealogical Society Website []