In a country whose history and tradition has largely developed on a Christian basis, church archives form an essential source basis for regional and supra-regional church and state history research. Protestant and Catholic archives offer a broad source base at the central administrative level of the church as well as at the level of the parishes, which is often used at the local level before the local and state traditions and reaches up to the present day. The parish registers are the oldest form of statistical tradition available nationwide. The church archival landscape on the territory of the Free State of Thuringia is divided as follows:
- The Catholic Bishopric Erfurt (founded 1994)
The central tradition and that of the deaneries since 1030 is kept in the Bishopric Archive Erfurt. The archive of the Episcopal Commissariat in Heiligenstadt contains the tradition of the Eichsfeld, partly dating back to the Middle Ages. In addition, there are archives of about 180 parish and branch communities which are not full-time staffed. The legal basis for the use of the archives is the order on the protection and use of the archives of the Catholic Church of September 19, 1988.
- The Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Thuringia (founded 1920)
includes the territories of the former territorial states of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxony-Gotha, Saxony-Altenburg, Saxony-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen and Reuß. The archival material from the authorities is located in the Landeskirchenarchiv Eisenach. This also provides information about the locations and addresses of the approximately 750 parish and 18 superintendents' archives which are not full-time staffed. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thuringia joined forces with the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony on July 1, 2004 to form the Federation of Protestant Churches in Central Germany. Further information about archiving in the EKM can be found under
- The Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony
covers the former Prussian parts of the Free State of Thuringia (church districts Erfurt, Südharz, Mühlhausen, Henneberger Land, Sömmerda). The archival material from the authorities, also about the Thuringian regions, can be found in the archive of the Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony in Magdeburg. This also provides information about the approx. 325 parish and superintendent archives as well as the church district archives Niedergebra, Mühlhausen, Straußfurt and Erfurt, all of which are not full-time staffed. The legal basis for the use of archives is the Church Act on the Protection and Use of Church Archival Material in the Protestant Church of the Union of 6 May 2000.
- The Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (Church District Schmalkalden)
The archival material of the consistories is stored in the Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg and in the Landeskirchlichen Archiv Kassel. The 17 parish archives and the archives of the former central authorities are located on site. For further information please contact the LKA Kassel. Archive law and rules of use can be found under www.ekkw.de/archiv/.
- Bistum Fulda
The Catholics of the Thuringian Rhön (deanery Geisa) belong to the diocese Fulda. Archival records can be found there in 11 parishes. Further information is available from the Archives of the Bishopric in the Episcopal Vicariate General in Fulda.
- 6th Diocese Dresden-Meißen
The Catholics of the former territorial states Reuß, younger and older line and Sachsen-Altenburg are united in the deanery Gera. These include 11 parishes with the respective archives, about which the responsible diocese archive in Bautzen can provide information.
In addition, there are numerous special church archives, e.g. at diaconal institutions, other religious communities, foundations and associations, which cannot be listed here in detail due to lack of space.