You may be interested in pursuing biographical or genealogical research at the Archives. Here is some basic information to help you get started.
THE BASIC RECORDS
The Moravian Archives in Bethlehem has large amounts of information about many individuals who were Moravians in the past. The basic information is found in church registers, which normally include baptisms of infants, baptisms of adults who were never baptized as infants and who joined the church as adults, marriages, and funerals.
If an individual died as a Moravian, there may be a separate memoir (Lebenslauf) describing the life of the individual. The memoir may be less than a page in length, but is more likely to be four to six pages. The majority of these records, as well as other types of records that may be of interest, are written in German script.
You need to know the specific congregation(s). Most of the records in the Archives are arranged by the standard archival principle of provenance; i.e., each congregation's records are kept together.
For biographical study it therefore becomes crucial to determine the congregation(s) involved. If one knows the congregation, one can go directly to the register of that congregation, look for an index at the front or back of the volume (some registers are not indexed), and locate the pertinent entries.
There is no master list of names included in all the registers. You need to know the congregation. If the congregation is not known, a review of typescript indexes at the Archives will often locate an individual, but not always.
THE MEMOIR INDEX
The memoirs have been indexed in computer database of over 10,000 records. The index includes members who died as Moravians in Europe and America and sometimes elsewhere, such as missionaries in various countries.
If you have reason to believe that an individual in whom you are interested died as a Moravian and you would like to know whether there is a memoir on file here, you may call the Archives and inquire.
INDIAN MISSION RECORDS
The diaries of the Indian mission from 1740 to 1820 are particularly well indexed in the socalled Fliegel Index. A number of universities and other places have acquired the Fliegel Index and the accompanying microfilms of the Moravian Indian mission.
According to our information, which is probably incomplete, various institutions have copies.
The Fliegel Index lists many Indian names and the names of missionaries and others involved with the mission. Click here for a list of headings.
The Archives staff can make reproductions for researchers according to a fee schedule. We cannot make any photocopies from bound volumes or of loose items from before 1900. For more on ordering reproductions, click here. If you need a certified copy of an entry in the church register, we can also help you with that.