Basel Missionary Pastors

During the mid-1800s the Basel Mission in Switzerland sent many men to the United States as pastors for German Protestant congregations. This database contains the names of 292 pastors who served in various locations in the U.S. Many of them were members of the Evangelical Synod of North America, a predecessor denomination of the United Church of Christ. The list was compiled from several sources created by the Archives at Eden Theological Seminary and by the Basel Mission Archives.

The following sources can be found in the Archives at Eden Theological Seminary. For further information about a person found on this list, you can contact them on their website ( You can also contact the Basel Mission Archives
( to see what they have available for the person. The B.V. number will identify the person of interest.

Abschriften von Akten Der Basler Brueder in Amerika (A.A.B.B.)
[Transcripts of files of The Basel Brothers in America]

With special reference to the materials available in the Eden Seminary Archives
Arranged and prepared by A. Leuschner, Secretary of the Basel Mission, Basel, Switzerland. Arranged in file and indexed by David Georg Gelzer. His Ph.D. dissertation was titled, “Mission to America: Being a History of the Work of the Basel Foreign Missions Society to America” (Yale University, 1952).
(Additional “Abschriften” not contained in this file may be found on Transcripts relative to Basel men in P.F.B.V.)
Date: unknown
Total names = 77
This document contains a list of missionary names followed by individual pages for each person which abstract the information found about them in the Basel Mission Archives. This can identify whether there is a Lebenslauf (life story) for the person or whether there are any extant letters that he wrote.
[Note: Alfred Leuschner was Secretary of the Basel Mission from 1914 – 1953.]

Liste der Basler Missionare, die als Pfarrer nach Nord-Amerika kamen
[Translation below]

I. Teil: Erklärung der Abkürzungen und. Allgem. Bemerkungen
II. Teil: Alphabetisches Register (Seite 1-4)
III. Teil: Liste der Namen (mit näheren Angaben) (Seite 1-48)
  • No. 1-288 in church service (No. 38 = 289, No. 148b = 288)
  • Further, not in church service:
  • No. 289-290 two former missionary merchants
  • No. 291 one industrial missionary (doctor in America)
  • No. No. 292 a parish priest in America
Erste Ausreise: 1833 (Friedr. Schmid)
Jüngste Ausreise: 1930 (W. Osswald)
Bemerkungen: Nach 1890 waren nur noch vereinzelte Ausreisen nach Amerika; bei Beginn des ersten Weltkrieges wurden einige Brüder Heimreise nach Amerika verschlagen, da das [?] deutsche Schiff sich dorthin flüchtete.
Nach dem ersten Weltkrieg kamen wieder einige unserer Seminaristen durch Vermittlung unserer Deitung nach Amerika, da wir keine Aussendungsmöglichkeiten hatten.
Gesamtzahl der in andere ausländische kirchliche oder missionarische Arbeit eingetretene Brüder: 616
Davon: nach Süd-Amerika 59 incl. 2 Kaufleute und 1 Landwirt,
Nach Australien 49
Einege waren in verschiedenen Ländern; diese sind bei jedem der betr. Länder aufgeführt (z.B. Joh. Koch: zuerst Australien, dann Süd und nachher Nord Amerika, siehe B.V. 1824

List of Basel missionaries who came to North America as pastors.

Part I: Explanation of abbreviations and general remarks
Part II: Alphabetical index (pages 1-4)
Part III: List of names (with further details) (pages 1-48)
  • No. 1-288 in church service (No. 38 = 289, No. 148b = 288)
  • Further, not in church service:
  • No. 289-290 two former missionary merchants
  • No. 291 one industrial missionary (doctor in America)
  • No. No. 292 a parish priest in America
First departure: 1833 (Friedr. Schmid)
Last departure: 1930 (W. Osswald)
Remarks: After 1890 there were only isolated departures to America; at the beginning of the First World War some brothers were sent home to America because the [?] German ship took refuge there.
After the First World War, some of our seminarians again came to America through the mediation of our leadership, since we had no means of sending them.
Total number of brothers who entered other foreign church or missionary work: 616.
Of which: to South America 59 incl. 2 merchants and 1 farmer,
To Australia 49
Some were in different countries; these are listed with each of the countries concerned (e.g. Joh. Koch: first Australia, then South and afterwards North America, see B.V. 1824).
Date:  January 1951
Total names = 292
This document (in German) contains a synopsis of the Basel Missionaries who served in North America. Following an introduction and an alphabetical list of names you will find vital information about the pastor, usually including the following details:
  • B.V. Number
  • Dates of training at the Basel Mission
  • Previous occupation
  • Dates and places of birth and death
  • Dates and places of service

There is also a set of handwritten and typed cards with details about each of these pastors. The cards were microfilmed by the LDS Family History Library and are available in digitized form on the FamilySearch website. These cards contain basic information about each of the pastors.
"Index cards of congregations and pastors in the United States, ca. 1807-1953", FHL Microfilm 1487561, Item 2: "Basel (Switzerland), ca. 1811-1931 pastors/missionaries who came to the U.S."