To successfully search the Lomnitz church records, it is necessary to understand the village church history. The official Catholic parish was centred at Lomnitz and Stonsdorf at different times and most Lomnitz Protestants worshipped in the Catholic church between 1525 and 1742. In the early period after the Thirty Years War (16261654), when the Protestant faith was outlawed, some residents chose to travel to remote surviving Protestant churches, particularly at Probsthain, and a number of clandestine baptisms and marriages may be lost from the Lomnitz records. After 1707 it became possible to legitimately baptise Protestant children in the newly built Lutheran Gnadenkirche in Hirschberg. Fortunately all these records continued to appear for a while longer in the Lomnitz Catholic church books, even after 1742 when Lomnitz Protestants built their own local church. The Catholic records therefore provide a complete village archive for both faiths up to early 1758, at which point Protestants apparently managed to free themselves of paying Catholic church dues and were no longer recorded.
Surviving church records for both Protestant and Catholic churches in Lomnitz start in 1614. It is likely that the parallel sets for the period 1614-1652 are identical. Thereafter Catholic church baptism and marriage books run continuously to 1766, with Protestant records up to January 1758. Catholic church death books run continuously with Protestant entries through to 1793. Protestant church books were started with the building of the new church in 1742 but the early books are lost. Surviving Protestant books run (with gaps) from 1794 to about 1850. The missing baptism and marriage records for the period 1758 - 1793 are a major hurdle for tracing families back to the earlier books.
The earliest records are poorly written and give too little information for drawing family lines. Baptisms and childrens deaths show only the father, marriages show only the brides father and microfilm versions have many dates hidden in unfilmed margins. Single Christian names were in use and the same ones were used repeatedly so at any one time there could be up to three Christoph or Maria Reimanns of similar ages in town.
Records improve after 1670 and the handwriting becomes more legible. Baptisms benefit from gradual introduction of fathers occupation, mothers Christian name, later mothers maiden name, and multiple Christian names for children. Marriages eventually show both parents and the ages of the bride and groom, very useful for back-tracking to births. Deaths eventually show exact ages and full names for both parents of children, although information on adult deaths remains poor.
Spelling errors, missing names and incorrect wives names are common throughout these records, revealing a degree of illiteracy and male chauvinism in the leaders of the churches at the time.
[Mormon microfilms are also available for the Catholic church of Stonsdorf 1654 -1671. The "official" Catholic congregation of Lomnitz was centred at the Stonsdorf church after 1614, during the time their Lomnitz church was Lutheran. They remained there after the end of the Thirty Years War in 1654, while the Lomnitz Catholic church was run by Jesuits from Hirschberg. Church history suggests the Lomnitz Catholics officially returned to their own church only in 1736, when it regained full Catholic status under a new priest.]