Ghana Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Ghana, 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]

The presence of Christian missionaries on the coast of Ghana has been dated to the arrival of the Portuguese in the fifteenth century. It was the Basel/Presbyterian and Wesleyan/Methodist missionaries, however, who, in the nineteenth century, laid the foundation for the Christian church in Ghana. Beginning their conversions in the coastal area and amongools as "nurseries of the church" in which an educated African class was trained.

Various Christian denominations are represented in Ghana, including Evangelical Presbyterian and Catholicism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), in addition to chapels, has a temple in Accra, one of only three LDS temples on the African continent.

The unifying organization of Christians in the country is the Ghana Christian Council, founded in 1929. Representing the Methodist, Anglican, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian, African Methodist Episcopal Zionist, Christian Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, and Baptist churches, and the Society of Friends, the council serves as the link with the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, not a member of Christian Council, has a strong presence in Ghana.[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 Ghana.
b. Click on Places within Ghana 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 Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Church of the Province of West Africa is a province of the Anglican Communion, covering 17 dioceses in eight countries of West Africa, specifically in Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Ghana is the country with most dioceses, now numbering 11. Missionary work began in Ghana in 1752. The Church of the Province of West Africa was established in 1951 by the bishops of five West African dioceses. [3]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Ghana Baptist Convention has its origins in a Baptist mission of Nigerian Baptist Convention in 1927 in Kumasi. It is officially founded in 1963 as the Ghana Baptist Conference. In 1964, it became autonomous from the Nigerian Baptist Convention and take the name of Ghana Baptist Convention. In 2016, it has 1,761 churches and 300,000 members. In 2018, it opened a hospital in the Jomoro District, in Western Region (Ghana).[4]

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 Ghana is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the pope in Rome. There are three million Catholics in Ghana and the country is divided into 20 dioceses including four archdioceses and 1 Vicariate. [5]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, for deceased members and immediate family members who are still living. Sign in to FamilySearch and then select Family Tree in the drop-down menu.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Total Church Membership: 83,651. Congregations: 314. Members have been in Ghana since 1978. By 1981 seven branches were functioning in Ghana. In the 1990s, humanitarian efforts have focused on member self-reliance. A number of projects were undertaken through local initiative by members in districts and stakes (dioceses). Some 90 percent of LDS Church buildings in Ghana include some form of gardening activity. The first missionary training center in Africa, located in Tema, Ghana, was dedicated on 17 May 2002. [6]


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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Mennonite Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The effort to establish a Mennonite church in Ghana began in 1955 when Ghanaian George Thompson learned about Mennonites at a conference in Europe. A year later, he was baptized and commissioned to establish a Mennonite church. The Ghana Mennonite Church has grown to 28 congregations in five regions. Mennonite Mission Network partners with Good News Theological College and Seminary to train leaders of independent churches.​[7]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Methodist Church Ghana is one of the largest and oldest mainline Protestant denominations in Ghana. It traces its roots back to the landing of the Rev. Joseph Dunwell on 1 January 1835 in Cape Coast, in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). In the mid 1800s many European missionaries traveled to new countries to spread religious influences. Gold Coast (now Ghana) was already known for its big reserves of gold and as a major port for the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The Asante people ruled large portions of Gold Coast, and in 1824 British forces invaded and defeated many Asante forces. This shifted the Gold Coast towards British control, subjecting the current citizens to British influence. By 1835, many other European nations had taken an interest in the resources of the land. This brought many missionaries, including Protestants from the Netherlands and Catholics from Portugal and France. As part of this wave of missions, the Missionary Committee of the British Methodist Conference sent Rev. Joseph Rhodes Dunwell to be the first Methodist missionary in Gold Coast. His mission began in 1835 in the prominent fishing city of Cape Coast. After six months of mission work with local Christians, he succeeded in his evangelical missions and Methodist Church Gold Coast (Methodist Church Ghana after independence was gained in 1957) was founded. This influence spread throughout the country, and as a result the British claimed Gold Coast as a colony in 1867. [8]

Pentecostal 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 Presbyterian Church of Ghana is a mainline Protestant church in Ghana. The church was started by the Basel missionaries on 18 December 1828. The missionaries had been trained in Germany and Switzerland and arrived on the Gold Coast to spread Christianity. The work of the mission became stronger when Moravian missionaries from the West Indies arrived in the country in 1843. In 1848, the church set up a seminary, now named the Presbyterian College of Education, Akropong, for the training of church workers to help in the missionary work. The Ga and Twi languages were added as part of the doctrinal text used in the training of the seminarians. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Presbyterian church had its missions concentrated in the southeastern parts of the Gold Coast and the peri-urban Akan hinterland. By the mid-20th century, the church had expanded and founded churches among the Asante people who lived in the middle belt of Ghana as well as the northern territories by the 1940s. The Basel missionaries left the Gold Coast during the First World War in 1917. The work of the Presbyterian church was continued by missionaries from the Church of Scotland, the mother church of the worldwide orthodox or mainstream Presbyterian denomination. The official newspaper of the church is the Christian Messenger, established by the Basel Mission in 1883. [9]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Society of Friends (Quaker) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Ghana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ghana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Church of the Province of West Africa", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Province_of_West_Africa, accessed 18 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Ghana Baptist Convention", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghana_Baptist_Convention, accessed 18 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ghana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Ghana, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.
  7. "Ghana", in "Mennonite Mission Network", https://www.mennonitemission.net/Impact/locations/africa/Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Methodist Church Ghana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Church_Ghana#History, accessed 18 March 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Presbyterian Church of Ghana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_of_Ghana, accessed 18 March 2020.