Cuba Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Cuba, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Cuba's prevailing religion is Christianity, primarily Roman Catholicism. The Roman Catholic Church estimates that 60 percent of the population is Catholic.

Membership in Protestant churches is estimated to be 5 percent and includes Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and Lutherans. In recent decades, Cuba has seen a rapid growth of Evangelical Protestants. Other Christian denominations include the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, Jehovah's Witnesses and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). [1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

Different denominations, different time periods, and practices of different record keepers will effect how much information can be found in the records. This outline will show the types of details which might be found (best case scenario):

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

In Catholic and Anglican records, children were usually baptized a few days after birth, and therefore, the baptism record proves date of birth. Other religions, such as Baptists, baptized at other points in the member's life. Baptism registers might give:

  • baptism date
  • the infant's name
  • parents' names
  • father's occupation
  • status of legitimacy
  • occasionally, names of grandparents
  • names of witnesses or godparents, who may be relatives
  • birth date and place
  • the family's place of residence
  • death information, as an added note or signified by a cross

Marriages[edit | edit source]

Marriage registers can give:

  • the marriage date
  • the names of the bride and groom
  • indicate whether the bride and groom were single or widowed
  • their ages
  • birth dates and places for the bride and groom
  • their residences
  • their occupations
  • birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • parents' names (after 1800)
  • the names of previous spouses and their death dates
  • names of witnesses, who might be relatives.

Burials[edit | edit source]

Burial registers may give:

  • the name of the deceased
  • the date and place of death or burial
  • the deceased's age
  • place of residence
  • cause of death
  • the names of survivors, especially a widow or widower
  • deceased's birth date and place
  • parents' names, or at least the father's name



How to Find Records[edit | edit source]

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

Watch for digitized copies of church records to be added to the collection of the FamilySearch Library. Some records might have viewing restrictions, and can only be viewed at a Family History Center near you, and/or by members of supporting organizations. To find records:

a. Click on the records of Cuba.
b. Click on Places within Cuba and a list of towns will appear.
c. Click on your town if it appears, or the location which you believe was the parish which served your town or village.
d. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Some combination of these icons will appear at the far right of the listing for the record. FHL icons.png. The magnifying glass indicates that the record is indexed. Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See Spanish Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in Cuba is part of the worldwide Catholic Church. There are over six million Catholics - around 60.5% of the total population. The country is divided into eleven dioceses including three archdioceses. The Catholic Church in Cuba has taken on a more politically active role than in many other countries. Catholics in Cuba have greater religious freedom than those in other Communist countries such as China and Vietnam.[3]

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Episcopal Church in Cuba (Spanish: Iglesia Episcopal en Cuba) is the diocese consisting of the entire country of Cuba in The Episcopal Church. As of 2016, it had about 10,000 members in forty-six parishes. The Episcopal Church of Cuba traces its formal origins to 1901, when the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church established the Missionary District of Cuba under the jurisdiction of the Presiding Bishop. The 1959 Cuban Revolution made communication and travel between the churches difficult, and in 1966 the Episcopal Church of Cuba was made an autonomous Diocese within the Anglican Communion.[4]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Baptist Convention of Western Cuba (Spanish: Convención Bautista de Cuba Occidental) is a Baptist Christian denomination in Cuba. It is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Havana. The Baptist Convention of Western Cuba has its origins in an American mission of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1898. It is officially founded in 1905. In 2011, it had 347 churches and 23,089 members.[5]

Eastern Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located in historic old town of Havana, Cuba, under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. The temple was built on the shores of Havana Harbour in Old Havana, on the corner of San Pedro Ave. and Santa Clara. The first service of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba began in 2001. At first they were held in the Russian trade delegation, then - at the embassy, and later - in the Catholic Church.[6]

There are between 30 and 50 people of Greek descent in Cuba. They are located mostly in Havana, where there is a Greek embassy. In 2004, Cuba built its first church in 43 years, the St. Nikolaos Greek Orthodox Church in Old Havana. It serves Havana's estimated 8,000 Orthodox Christians, 50 of whom are Greek. Cuba's first Greek Orthodox church, Saints Constantine and Helen, was built in 1950 but was never used for church services. As of 2004, it remained the home of a children's theater company.[7]

Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

As of 2016, there were about 96,000 active Jehovah's Witnesses in Cuba (about 0.85% of the population). From 1938 to 1947, the number of Jehovah's Witnesses in Cuba increased from about 100 to 4,000. After World War II, membership in Cuba increased to 20,000, and by 1989 there were approximately 30,000 members. The movement was banned in Cuba in 1974. During the Mariel boatlift in 1980, about 3,000 Witnesses left Cuba. In 1994, the Cuban government released representatives of the Watch Tower Society, and members were permitted to meet in groups of up to 150 at Kingdom Halls and other places for worship. A branch office of Jehovah's Witnesses, with a print shop, was opened in Havana in the same year. In 1998, Witnesses were permitted to meet at larger conventions in major cities in Cuba.[8]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Methodist Church in Cuba has its origins in the missionary work of the Methodist Church in the USA, which sent Cuban emigrant pastors in 1883 to start evangelization in Cuba. The work was interrupted because of the independence war which liberated Cuba from the Spanish colonial power. In 1898 some American missionaries arrived in Cuba to take up the mission again, and a new phase of Cuban Methodism began. The first Cuban annual conference was held in 1923. The church achieved its autonomy in 1968, thanks to the efforts of the Cuban Methodist leaders at that time, and the assistance of the Methodist Church in the USA. Since 1969 the church has been self-supporting. It has well-organized work with women, youth, young adults, men, and activities in the area of evangelization.

Currently the Methodist Church in Cuba experiences growth and progress in its membership and mission. During the past few years some 200 new congregations have been formed and the church is now present in all the provinces of the country. In addition to the registered membership some 30,000 other people are attending worship services. [9]

Pentecostal/Evangelical Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Cuba was founded in 1890 by Evaristo Collazo. He participated in the war of Independence. The First Presbyterian Church in Havana was established in 1890 with a Cuban Presbyterian minister. But it had to close because the civil war. The communities became a presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA). In 1900 American Protestant missionaries arrived, among them many Presbyterians. They reinitiated the Presbyterian Church. During the following 60 years the church operated excellent schools. In 1959 it lost their educational institutions. In 1967 the church become autonomous. Since 1990 the church has experienced rapid growth. It has 3 presbyteries and 1 Synod. The church has 15,000 members and 60 congregations and several house fellowships.[10]

Quaker Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

After several independent requests inviting Friends to begin a ministry in Cuba, the American Friends Board of Missions sent Zenas Martin to Havana in 1900, supported by Wilmington (Ohio), Iowa, Western, Indiana, and North Carolina yearly meetings. Francisco Cala, a protestant Cuban minister who embraced Quaker ideals, had already grown a meeting in Havana. Martin and a small group of American and Mexican missionaries began their ministry in Gibara, a more remote area still impoverished by the Spanish-American War. Friends’ meetings and schools branched out from Gibara to Holguín, Banes, and Puerto Padre, with itinerant work and missions in rural villages. Cuba Yearly Meeting became a separate entity in 1927.[11]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

As of 2016 the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Cuba has more than 34,041 members worshiping in 328 churches and congregations, and is reported as one of the largest Protestant churches in Cuba.[24] The relationship with the government has been positive.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba, accessed 25 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Cuba, accessed 25 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Cuba, accessed 25 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Episcopal Church of Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_Church_of_Cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Baptist Convention of Western Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Convention_of_Western_Cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Our Lady of Kazan Orthodox Cathedral", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Kazan_Orthodox_Cathedral, accessed 26 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Cuba–Greece relations", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba–Greece_relations, accessed 26 March 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.
  9. "Methodist Church in Cuba", "World Council of Churches", https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/methodist-church-in-cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Reformed Presbyterian Church in Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Presbyterian_Church_in_Cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.
  11. "Quakers in Latin America: Friends Historical Collection Resources", https://library.guilford.edu/c.php?g=111809&p=723653, accessed 26 March 2020.
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Cuba", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Cuba, accessed 26 March 2020.