German Digital Church Book Portal is Now Online

Newsletter reader Ernie Thode wrote to say that an announcement of a new online site was made at the German national genealogy conference in Kassel on September 13. The beta test of the German digital church book portal is now available.

Of about 140,000 individual church books in Germany, the records of about 35,000 (25%) have been digitized thus far. Most of the German Protestant regional church bodies are participating, others and Catholic archives and civil registrations may be joining in later. There will be a fee.

I used Google Translate to display much of the introductory text in English. This may be an imperfect translation:

From the parish register portal to Archion: start of the beta test

The beta test of the church book portal is launched on the German Genealogentag in Kassel on 13 September. More information about the Beta test follow.

The Church Literature Portal GmbH will operate their web portal under the name “Archion”. In “Archion” will find the words archive and online again. A reduction of the project on two essential concepts. But the word “arché”, ancient Greek for beginning and origin is included. We find that fits perfectly with the concept of genealogy, more about the question “Where did I come from?”, Ie the origin out.

The vision of the Church Literature Portal GmbH is to open up next to the church records and other sources for genealogical research. The term “church book portal” is clearly designed for church books. If z. B. State Archives or municipal archives participate and want to represent civil registers online, the name is too restrictive. One should also keep open to make other archival materials online. “Archion” as a neologism is simply free in its possibilities, it is limited not only by her name.

The entire web site is in German. You can access the site at and at

Payment information is available (in German) at


One more demonstration of how poor online translators are.


Dick, Your announcement made it sound like the Archion website was up and running now. It is only in the first stage of BETA testing which is by invite only.

This first phase started Sept 13 and adds just 10 beta users each day. They estimate this will go on until about October but there is not specific date — it could go longer. After the first phase, there will be a second phase of beta testing which involves more beta users invited in to use/index during the testing/indexing period.

You get signed up as a potential beta user by signing up for their newsletter blog. There is no guarantee that they will get to you to be a beta tester as it depends on how many people signed-up. The subscription fees, I believe, are what was decided on for when the site is launched to everyone.

Gone Researching


    —> Dick, Your announcement made it sound like the Archion website was up and running now. It is only in the first stage of BETA testing which is by invite only.

    As stated in the second sentence of the above article, ” The beta test of the German digital church book portal is now available.” Beta tests often have limitations of various sorts. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other limitations as well but my limited ability to read German prevents me from finding other limitations.


Phase 1 of the beta test of now in progress includes 140 beta testers. Phase 2, beginning sometime in October, will involve 400 new testers per day. The anticipated date of the final version (the full-pay phase open to all) is the beginning of November, depending upon the outcome of the beta test.

Not all church books from each of the regional church bodies are online. For example, for the Hannover church the only church districts now covered are Burgdorf (13 church parishes), Burgwedel (8), Garbsen (4), and Laatzen-Pattensen (17), with more to come. So far about 38,000 of the roughly 140,000 Protestant church books in covered areas and the roughly 200,000 total German church books (including Catholic and non-participating Protestant regions) are digitized. This will be an ongoing project.

There is also a church book finding aid, which will be freely available.

Ernie Thode


I don’t read German either. My question: Will there be an every name index? I had many German ancestors and don’t know where most of them came from in the 1700s.


    No, there will not be a ready-made every-name index of the German church books, but if you can wait long enough there might be something approaching one. Remember, it took thousands of volunteers many months of a concerted effort to complete an every-name index to the 1940 US census.
    If you know the place and at least an approximate date of an event in Germany (birth, confirmation, marriage, death), you should be able to find the record. If you don’t have the place, you need to wait.
    There is some hope, though. Indexes have been made of individual church books. These are sometimes found at the end of a set of records. Also, there will be a forum for collaborative indexing, in which volunteer users compile indexes to the church books they are using and as soon as the indexes are uploaded they will be added to a master index. I would compare this to the FamilySearch effort, but I don’t see any mention of arbitrators; however, most people will be indexing their local or ancestral places where the names are familiar to the indexers.

    Ernie Thode


To Ernie Thode,
Thank you very much for your, as usual, informative response to my query about the possibility of every name indexes for the German church records. I will try to “wait long enough” for such a thing, but I am not getting any younger!
Pat Shemenski


how can these be accessed in English ?? my ancestors are all from Germany and I’m trying to get info regarding them.


@Gale: You need to learn some basic German and German script ( There won’t be an indexed version of all church records anytime soon. Being in beta, Archion still has serious drawbacks.


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