Wish to view church birth/baptismal records from Langensteinbach in Karlsbad, Germany
Using Ancestry.com in a library, I found an individual, who is not my ancestor, Anton Mai, born May 30, 1841 in the village Langensteinbach which is part of the town/municipality of Karlsbad, Germany. It is difficult for me to return to the library in the near future. The Ancestry website would not show the image. I have reason to believe my ancestor came from the same village and was born about 7 years earlier. I do not know if the the baptismal records I seek are held by a church in Langensteinbach or a greater diocese encompassing the region. My goal is to view the appropriate directory to search for my ancestor who would have been born in 1834/1835. Which database would I search if I visited my local Familysearch center/library? Otherwise, I would gladly write a letter in German to the appropriate church or other location in Germany that would have those records, but I have no idea of the name or address to send such a letter of inquiry.
Do you feel your original question has now been answered satisfactorily?
In our lifetime it will be unlikey that all the records we want will be available to us. And of course many have been destroyed. Trying to preserve them is a costly, major undertaking.
We wish you well with your research.0
If you go to the FamilySearch catalog you can type under place: Germany, Baden, Langensteinbach and it lists 4 sets of Kirchenbuch, one for 1752-1962. It has Auerbach Taufen for 1810-1852, but no mention of Langensteinbach Taufen for those dates. They only Langensteinbach records are Tote 1848-1870. However, most of those records are on microfilm. The microfilm are only available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. There are some records available at any Family History Library including Taufen 1752-1784 from "Langensteinbach, Oberauebach, Spielber: Liste des Pfarrer." I encourage you to search through the catalog for those records.
If you have not searched the FamilySearch catalog, there is an excellent article in the Help Center menu: "How do I search the Catalog for records?" The link is below:
Good luck with your search!0
Two websites frequently mentioned are
Archion, a pay website which is a project "der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD)", (of the Evangelical Church in Germany). These are Protestant records. Archion includes an English language option.
Matricula Online Free portal for online images of church registers (mostly books of birth, marriage and death) from various European countries (currently Austria, Germany, Poland, Serbia and Slovenia). Although interdenominational, the emphasis appears be on Roman Catholic records.2
Meyer's Gazetteer has a Langensteinbach in the Karlsruhe district in Baden (https://www.meyersgaz.org/place/20019026). It had a Lutheran church locally, and the nearest Catholic churches were in Reichenbach and Busenbach.
Karlsbad is a municipality (administrative entity) that near as I can tell did not exist before about 1970; it unites five villages, including Langensteinbach.
It looks like something's gone amok with the Langensteinbach Lutheran records on FamilySearch: the catalog (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/162752) indicates that some part of the records have been indexed, but clicking the search icon yields zero results (https://www.familysearch.org/search/record/results?q.filmNumber=102060959&count=20&offset=0&m.defaultFacets=on&m.queryRequireDefault=on&m.facetNestCollectionInCategory=on). This probably has something to do with Archion's paywall.
Some of Reichenbach's Catholic registers are on FS as browsable images (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/4512). There are also some that are indexed (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/302006), but those have the locked camera icon.1
Dear Julia Szent-Gyorgyi. Please allow me to ask a few questions, and please consider I am an amateur at this. Thank you very much for your detailed response. When I click on one of your links, eventually I get to Langensteinbach- Evangelische church records years 1820-1855 authored by Durlach film no. 1237820. But I can only view this if I travel to Salt Lake City, which I can't do. If my ancestor Adolf Mathias Muhlhausen was born in Langensteinbach between 1834-1836, and if he was Lutheran, then it is highly likely he appears in that particular film number. What I am unclear on, if he is located on that particular roll of film, does that automatically mean all the info in that film number has been digitized (I believe you say "indexed"), such that it is searchable by simply entering his name in the main general search engine on Familysearch.com? If the answer is no, that is, all of that information has not been digitized such that it is searchable by name, then that leads me to my next question. That church book was photographed page by page presumably by Mr Durlach or a helper. That book is sitting somewhere in Germany. Why can't I just write to the keeper of that book, where ever it is, and ask them to thumb through the pages, or if the pages are on a computer file, to search through 1834-1836? I just don't know where or who to write to. Thank you for your help and your patience. Kindest regards, Mike Mulhausen0
Digitized means that the (paper) register (or a microfilm image of it) has been scanned or photographed to create a digital (computerized) image. Digitized images cannot be searched by name, because computers cannot read handwriting.
Indexed means that key facts (names, dates, places) have been entered (by human beings, to the best of their sometimes-meager abilities) into a computer database that can be searched.
Meyer's gazetteer lists Durlach as the location of the relevant Amtsgericht (lower district court) for Langensteinbach, so I'm pretty sure "A. Durlach" is not a person, but the archive where the church registers were microfilmed.
The Lutheran church in Germany has made access to their old church registers into a money-making opportunity, via the Archion website. This means that while FamilySearch has microfilms of the registers, and has both digitized and indexed those films, they are constrained by their contracts with Archion not to make those images available online, and apparently, even the indexes are restricted. (They may be searchable if you're at a Family History Center, or if you're signed in to FamilySearch using an LDS account; I don't know, and the FS website has never been forthcoming about contractual details like this.)
The reasons you can't just write to whoever has the registers for a "thumb-through" are at least twofold: one, Archion likely has contractual restrictions on all forms of dissemination, in the interest of getting their financial cut, and two, there's no guarantee that whatever pastor or clerk you can contact will be able to make heads or tails of the handwriting (assuming he or she is willing to even try, and has the time available to do so).
FamilySearch does have some sort of lookup or research service, but I believe it is fairly limited, i.e. it's the usual Catch-22 of needing the exact particulars of the record to get the exact particulars of the record. Hopefully someone more familiar with the service will post something here.1
Thank you so much for your very informative message. I have learned more from you about this subject in 24 hours than over years! I now know that although the Familysearch website has loads and loads of data, digitized does not mean indexed or searchable. I have been told by so-called experts for years that there is some kind of grand plan where all the various organizations will play nice, and that not only will ALL the records that exist in German churchbooks be eventually digitized, they will ALL eventually be indexed. Sounds like wishful thinking. Which leads me to believe, that without knowing an ancestor's home village, for the foreseeable future, searches will be only slightly better than hopeless. Getting back to the churchbook I currently seek, Langensteinbach Geburten 1820-1855, I see that it resides in Archion's website. But I have also learned that it is not indexed. I see that they offer a one month pass for 19 Euros and that sounds fair to me. Thanks again.1