Researching in Charleston
St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church was founded in 1840 in Charleston, South Carolina. The community included one of the largest German-speaking populations in the 19th-century United States. St. Matthew's was a vital resource for German immigrants who wanted to worship using the old German Lutheran liturgy and language of their homeland.
If you think you may have had ancestors who attended the church, it may be worth contacting St. Matthew's directly to see what they can find. St. Matthew's records may contain information unavailable from other local resources. For instance, birthplaces of congregants are often recorded in a much more detailed manner than one would see in the state or federal U.S. census records.
If you're planning a trip to Charleston and have ancestors who were members of the congregation you may wish to peruse the complete microfilm record at the Carolina Room at the Charleston County Public Library, which maintains one of the best collections of South Carolina research materials. St. Matthew's Church may also permit visitors by appointment to its own archives, where photocopied pages may be studied. Contact St. Matthew's directly for more information.
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