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MAGS Databases

MAGS maintains a database that contains a wide variety of information obtained from various sources. Much of the data was extracted from records at the National Archives II facility in College Park, Maryland, particularly records from U.S. consulates in Germany. These records generally pertain either to United States citizens abroad in Germany, or to German citizens that immigrated to the United States.
The other significant source is military pension records from the late 19th century. These sources contain names of pensioners, many of whom were living overseas. The index includes the address of the pensioner and the unit in which he served. There is also a small list of naturalizations from Philadelphia in the early 1800s.
We indexed names from the records of several churches and other institutions. These include records of German churches in Baltimore, New York City, and Cleveland. There is also an index of deaths from a Baltimore German newspaper, a list of German pastors from the Basel Mission, and names of children from the Columbia Institution in Washington, D.C. Finally, there is an index of names found in every issue of our Der Kurier publication since 1982.
To learn more about each of the databases, click on the links below.
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Brief description
Basel missionaries 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.
Bremen emigration This database is a compilation of emigration certificates issued by the United States Consul in Bremen, Germany between December 1833 and August 1836. The majority of these people lived within a small area of Mittelfranken, Bavaria. The source is NARA Record Group 84, Records of US Foreign Service Posts: Records of the US Consulate at Bremen.
Christ Church Records Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (now Locust Point Community Church) is located in south Baltimore near the immigration pier. In its early years services were conducted in German. The church records are housed at the Maryland State Archives (MSA). They include records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths for the years 1886 through 1926. The records have been indexed on this website. Originals can be obtained from the MSA.
Cleveland Trinity Lutheran Church Records Trinity Lutheran Church was a German church that began in 1853 as a mission effort of Zion Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio. It was located in the west side of the city, in an area known as Ohio City. The first book of church records began in 1853 and included baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. The sections ended at various dates as the book was filled. Baptisms ended in 1875, but marriage entries continued through 1911. As the sections were filled, they continued into subsequent books. This data includes all records in the first book.
Columbia Institution
In February 1857, the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind began operations to provide primary education and moral training to deaf, mute, and blind children. Located in the District of Columbia, the school soon attracted students from all over the United States. In 1865, the institution established the National Deaf Mute College, now known as Gallaudet University. Children from the District of Columbia comprised a large portion of the student body.
Congress required Federal agencies to write an annual report providing an overview of their accomplishments. Because the Columbia Institution was situated administratively within the Department of the Interior (DOI), the school’s president wrote the report and submitted it to the Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary included that report in his annual report to Congress. Each report includes information on the state of school finances, and lists the courses of instruction, as well as the names of and changes in school personnel. The records provide information about the student’s routine life at the school, the academic choices he or she had, and the names of the instructors.
Consular despatches This database indexes despatches that U.S. consulates sent to the Department of State in Washington, D.C.  The Department categorized these despatches as Official Correspondence.  Consular despatches are generally formal documents.  They read like reports, and can contain details on what life was like in the consular district as well as information on individuals. The despatches are from NARA Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State. Updated December 2023 with many more consulates included.
Consular estates This database is a compilation of case files from several United States consulates in Germany. These foreign service posts maintained individual files for deceased United States citizens whose estate settlements required interaction with German citizens or officials. The period covered is roughly from 1890 to 1910. The files are all from NARA Record Group 84, Records of US Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State.
Consular fees The Department of State asked each consulate to report on the fees it charged individuals and companies for services on a quarterly basis. This database transcribes information from the Quarterly Statements of Fees at several consulates. We expect to add data from additional consulates in the future. The period covered by these files is 1854 - 1859. The reports are from NARA Record Group 59, General Records of the Department of State.
Consular instructions This database indexes instructions and despatches the Department of State in Washington, D.C. sent to consulates outside of the United States.  The Department categorized these instructions and despatches as Official Correspondence. For the most part, these instructions and despatches records relate to the administrative functions of the consulate. There can, however, be documentation of people. The despatches are from NARA Record Group 84, Records of Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State.
Consular marriages and marriage contracts This database is a compilation of marriage contracts (and some marriages) issued by the United States Consul in several German cities in the mid 1800s.  These were prepared for people who were about to immigrate to the United States. The source is NARA Record Group 84, Records of US Foreign Service Posts: Records of the US Consulate at various locations.
Der Deutsche Correspondent Der Deutsche Correspondent was a German-language newspaper published in Baltimore beginning in 1841 by its founder and first editor, Frederick Raine, a German immigrant. On January 2, 1883 it published a list called “Chronik von Todesfällen Deutscher in Baltimore, resp. Maryland, im Jahre 1882.” A yearly list was published until the paper ceased publication after April 28, 1918. This database is a transcription of the lists that could be found covering the years 1882 to 1905 and 1917.
Der Kurier Index This is a list of names that were extracted from every issue of Der Kurier from its first issue in September 1982. The names have been indexed by volunteers over the years and an index for the previous year appears in every March issue. The database will tell you in which issues the name of interest appears. Recent issues are available on the Members tab. Older issues are found on the Public Documents tab.
Overseas military pensions The pension database is an index of records of the Secretary of the Interior from the period 1881-1907 regarding military veterans residing outside of the United States. The records contain correspondences regarding the veteran's application for pension. This data was extracted from Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, NARA Record Group 48.
Philadelphia naturalizations This database is an index of federal naturalization records from the Federal Courts in Eastern Pennsylvania from 1798 to 1833. Most of the individuals listed in these records were from England, Ireland, or France; but at least 109 were from Germanic Europe and are contained in this database. This data was extracted from Record Group 21 microfilm series M1522 held at the National Archives at Washington, DC.
Wiesbaden consular services The American Consular Agency at Wiesbaden performed a variety of services for American citizens and companies. The Department of State established guidelines for consulates to follow and prescribed specific volumes that the consular staff was to use to record their actions and the fees they collected. This database is a transcription of the financial records of the American Consular Agency at Wiesbaden, Germany from February 1901 to February 1917. The fee books are found in NARA Group 84, Records of Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State.
Published pension appeals
Published Decisions of the Bureau of Pension Appeals, 1886 - 1930; Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Appealed Pension and Bounty-Land Claims. People could appeal the Pension Bureau’s decisions to drop them from the pension rolls, ask for an increase in their pension, request the Bureau reconsider its denial of a pension claim, or file a claim against a spouse for all or part of a pension.  The resulting process could be complex.  To make its work more transparent and easier to understand, the Pension Bureau published its decisions in thousands of cases between 1886 and 1930; the resulting government publication consists of twenty-two volumes. 
Unpublished pension appeals This database indexes reports from three series of records the federal Commissioner of Pensions created.  The files consist of appeals people or their agents made to the federal government in compensation for military service and the Pension Bureau’s decision on the appeal. Most petitions pertain to pensions but some relate to bounty land.  The reports are trifolded files and can include correspondence, affidavits in support of a claim, and reports of the Bureau’s decision in the matter. Many of these records are unique, not found in the consolidated pension file.
1883 Pension Bureau Report - Overseas Pensioners This database indexes the names of the approximately 1,600 pensioners living outside of the United States whose names appear in Part V of a special 1883 Pension Bureau report to Congress, entitled The List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883: Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Which Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension per Month, and the Date of the Original Allowance. As Called for by Senate Resolution of December 8, 1882.  
1899 Pension Bureau Report - Overseas Pensioners In 1899 the Pension Bureau issued two reports to the Congress listing the names and addresses of all pensioners on the roll residing outside of the United States at the end of January 1899. One report was for those living in Canada, and the other for those living in other overseas countries. The database includes over 5,000 names of people extracted from those reports.
Geissenhainer baptisms The Rev. Frederick W. Geissenhainer Jr. was the assistant pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in New York City from 1827 – 1840. At the end of his ministry with St. Matthew’s, Rev. Geissenhainer transcribed the pastoral events that he presided over from the church books into two new ledgers. In 1841 he was called to be the pastor of the United German Evangelical Lutheran Church (later St. Paul’s) and remained there until his death in 1879. He maintained St. Paul’s records in three additional volumes. The baptism records begin in 1827 and continue until 1879. These records have been completely transcribed.
Geissenhainer confirmations Rev. Geissenhainer recorded the names of confirmands from 1828 until 1860. These records have been completely transcribed.
Geissenhainer marriages Marriages performed by Rev. Geissenhainer began in 1827 and end in 1870. These records have been completely transcribed.