Grenada Church History

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Church History

Effective research in church records requires some understanding of your ancestor's religion and the events that led to the creation of church records.

You can only find these entries by visiting the Family Records Centre in Grenada (at their Registry Offices).

Relevant Historical Events

The following major events affected Grenadian church history and records:

1650 A coastal battery and palisade named Fort d’Esnambuc is built by the French following their attack on the local Kalinago people at Leapers’ Hill (in what will be called Saint Patrick’s). The first French Catholic Dominican priest arrived in Grenada. [1]

1657-1663 During an intervals the Dominican were replaced by Capuchins.[2][3]

1669-1726 French census for Grenade (see the Guadeloupe General Censuses 1665-1802)[4].

1674 French established a colony on the island of Grenada.

1700 First census 257 French (white), 525 slaves and 53 coloured.

1718 First Catholic church, Notre Dame du Bon Secours, is constructed.

1727-1749 French stats of foreigners (Grenadians) (see Guadeloupe Etats des étrangers 1727-1749 pour Grenade).[4]

1763 The island of Grenada is ceded to the British from the French by the Treaty of Paris. A series of secular priests, French, Irish and Spanish worked on the island.

1779 The Irish Brigade military contingent under Count Arthur Dillon and his brother Edward arrived and few Irish Roman Catholics remained on the island.

1784 The first baptisms and burials are registered in St. George’s Anglican Church (see 1784-1804 Baptisms - St. George Records FHL Film 1523656 Item 2). [4].

1794 'Slavery is made illegal in all French Sugar colonies (making France the first country to abolish slavery), but Grenada is no longer a French colony'.

1795 The Catholic Church was appropriated by the Protestants for the use as an Anglican Church, but this building was destroyed during the Fedon Rebellion in that year.

1798 The first baptisms, marriages and burials are registered at St. Patrick’s Anglican Church, St. Andrew’s Anglican Church and St. David’s Anglican Church (see 1798-1930 Baptisms - St. Andrew Records FHL Film 1523692).[4]

1806 The first marriages are registered in St. George’s Anglican Church (see 1806-1930 Marriages - St. Georges Records FHL Film 1523656).[4]

1813-1834 Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies are created, 67 volumes and 2 indexes (see results for Grenada).

1816 Methodists divided into two groups: Primitive Methodists and Wesleyan Methodists.

1816 The first slave baptisms are registered at St. Patrick’s Anglican Church and St. David’s Anglican Church (see 1816-1834 Slave Baptisms - St. Patrick’s Records FHL Film 1523692 Item 2-3).[4]

1817 The first slave baptisms and marriages are registered at St. George’s Anglican Church (see 1816-1834 Slave Baptisms & Marriages - St. George’s Records FHL Film 1523656 Item 5).[4]

1818 The first built Catholic Cathedral Church.

1820 Methodist Church in Saint George’s built.

1826 Renovation of Anglican Church, rebuilt in Georgian style.

1827 The first Irish priest, Fr. Denis O’Callaghan, arrived in Grenada. He was followed by Fr. Anthony O’Hannan, who caused a rift in the Catholic Church in Saint George’s and sets up his own church for six years at the building in Lucas Street, still known today as La Chapelle.

1830 The foundation stone of the Anglican Church in Saint Patrick’s was laid. Three other churches are started the same year - the Anglican churches in Saint Andrew and Saint David, and St. Andrew's Presbyterian in Saint George’s (also known as Scots’ Kirk).

1833 The first slave burials are registered at St. George’s Anglican Church (see 1816-1834 Slave Burials - St. George’s Records FHL Film 1523656 Item 5).[4]

1841 Since the abolition of slavery, the marriage laws of the Colony where found inappropriate and altered so it would be lawful for any minister of the Christian religion to publish banns of marriage between persons desirous of being joined together in matrimony. Marriages before emancipation had to be ascertained and confirmed, but were accepted as valid.

1842 The first baptisms, marriages and burials are registered at the first Carriacou’s Anglican Church (now called Christ the King) in Hillsborough (see 1842-1930 Baptisms, marriages & burials - Carriacou’s Records FHL Film 1523767, 1523538, 1523539, 1523581, 1523490 ).[4].

1861 The first baptisms are registered at St. John’s Anglican Church, (see 1816-1834 Baptisms - St. John’s Records FHL Film 1523752, 1523490, 1523537) and first baptisms, marriages and burials for St. Mark’s Anglican Church (see 1816-1834 Baptisms - St. John’s Records FHL Film 1523752 Item 23-27).[4].

1865 Two hundred and thirty years after the Irish had done so, a law was passed formally requiring that all Churches of Grenada to keep registers of births, marriages, and deaths (this is the start of civil records).

1871 The first deaths are registered at St. John’s Anglican Church (see 1866-1934 Deaths - St. John’s Records FHL Film 1523539 Item 14-15, 1523581 Item 1-6).[4].

1875 The first baptisms are registered at Holy Innocents Anglican Church (see 1816-1834 Baptisms (Holy Innocents) - St. Andrews’s Records FHL Film 1523692 Item 8, 10).[4]

1886 The first marriages are registered at St. John’s Anglican Church, previously they would have been registered in St. George’s (see 1816-1834 Baptisms (Holy Innocents) - St. Andrews’s Records FHL Film 1523752 Items 21-22).

1891 The Census for this year recorded that the Church of England for Grenada was a branch of the Windward Islands Diocese under the supervision of the Bishop of Barbados with members numbering 19,273.[5]

1903 The first marriage banns are registered at St. George’s, St. John’s, St. Patrick’s & Carriacou Anglican Churches (see 1903-1930 Marriage Banns Records FHL Film 1523656 Item 16, 1523752 Item 20 & 23, & 1523767 Item 14).

1910 The first marriage are registered at St. Matthew’s (Black Bay) Anglican Church (see 1910-1911 Marriages (St. Matthews Black Bay) - St. Mark’s Records FHL Film 1523767 Item 2).

2002 The Grenada Family Records Centre (Registrar General) states “Mission - To ensure that Births, Deaths, Marriages, Deaths are recorded accurately and certificates are adequately prepared; and Vision - To preserve by computerizing, the records of Births, Deaths, Marriages, Deaths and to produce these certificates electronically”.


By studying Grenada's religious history and the histories of particular denominations, you will learn of conditions that influenced your ancestor's life and the keeping of church records.

Sources for Grenadian Church History

To find sources on Grenadian church history, look in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under the following headings:

Grenada - CHURCH HISTORY

Grenada, [TOWN], [PARISH] - CHURCH HISTORY

References

  1. Devas, Raymund P., Conception Island, of the troubled story of the Catholic Church in Grenada, 1932.
  2. Père Jean-Baptiste du Tertre (1610–1687)
  3. Eaden, J. The Memoirs of Père Labat 1693–1705, 1931.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 These records have not yet been indexed and put online, therefore please contact FamilySearch Indexing and request the work to be undertaken.
  5. Drayton, Edward., The Grenada Handbook, Directory and Almanac, 1897.
  • Parker, John Alexander. A church in the sun: the story of the rise of Methodism in the island of Grenada, West Indies, London: Cargate Press, 1959.
  • Original Grenada Timeline researched by Rick Greaves (1992).