Online Church ledgers
The digitisation of church ledgers began in 2009 by student assistants at the National Archives. The purpose of digitisation is to make Greenlandic church ledgers available via the National Archives website. Church ledgers were compiled by priests and catechists, usually for each parish. Each parish was initially under a colony, then from 1950-2009 under a local authority. In the 1900s Narsaq and Kangaatsiaq became parishes, whilst the parish of Appat/Ritenbenk was abolished.
Church ledgers are records about parishioners kept by missionaries and the church in Greenland. They cover east and west Greenland since the time of the first missionaries. The oldest records in our collection available to the public are from 1733 (although only Moravian church ledgers go back this far) to around 1930. The records contain information on all members of the parish and their participation in church ceremonies like christenings, confirmation, communion, weddings and funerals. In some instances people travelling to and from the colony are also registered in the church ledgers. Sadly our collection is incomplete. Some church ledgers were lost long ago, and due to the Danish ship Hans Hedtoft capsizing the church ledgers of towns from Sisimiut south only go back to around 1825 (with the exception of Moravian church ledgers).
Over the years church ledgers have gone from being the administrative tool of priests and catechists to become a historical source for researchers and not least family history researchers today. These books contain not only information on families, but also on subjects like naming customs – Christian-European and Greenlandic – lifespan and cause of death, as well as different personal records kept by the churches of Greenland.
List of Church Ledgers