Papua New Guinea Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Papua New Guinea, 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]

Most Christians in Papua New Guinea are Protestants, constituting roughly 70% of the total population. They are mostly represented by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, diverse Pentecostal denominations, the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the Evangelical Alliance Papua New Guinea, and the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea. Apart from Protestants, there is a notable Roman Catholic minority with approximately 25% of the population.

After World War II the Papua Ekalesia (formerly the London Missionary Society and Kwato Extension Association) joined the Methodists to form the United Church; the Baptists and several minor Protestant missions formed the Evangelical Alliance; and the Salvation Army, the Pentecostals, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Baha’i Faith, and various small fundamentalist sects moved into PNG.[1][2]

Time period: 1871-present. Records may exist for the following denominations:

  • Papua Ekalesia (London Missionary Society) 1871-
  • Methodist 1875-
  • Catholic 1881-
  • Lutheran 1886-
  • Anglican 1891-
  • Seventh Day Adventist 1908-
  • Many small Christian groups ca. 1900-[3]

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 Papua New Guinea.
b. Click on Places within Papua New Guinea 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]

Out of a population of 5,140,476, 4,934,098 describe themselves as Christians (2000 census figures). Of that number, 166,046 (3.2%) are Anglicans. There is a high degree of ecumenical co-operation, particularly in the areas of health and education. More than half of the rural health work, and nearly all of the training of nurses and community health workers, are carried out by the churches.

The Anglican Province of Papua New Guinea is made up of five dioceses - Aipo Rongo, Dogura, New Guinea Islands, Popondota and Port Moresby. At the beginning of 2002 these contained 118 parishes, as well as a number of mission districts. There were 173 priests engaged in active ministries, mostly in the parishes but a few in specialized areas (theological education, army and police chaplaincies, etc.). [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 Papua New Guinea is part of the worldwide Catholic Church , under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome . Papua New Guinea has approximately two million Catholic adherents, approximately 27% of the country's total population. The country is divided into nineteen dioceses including four archdioceses .[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]

Church members visited Papua New Guinea long before the first missionaries arrived in 1980. The Port Moresby Branch (a small congregation) was organized 10 October 1979. Attending were mostly expatriates of Australia. By 1983, five branches had been organized. A Church building was completed in 1984. Despite opposition, membership continued to increase. As the Church grew, more and more contacts were made in remote villages where many were interested in learning about the gospel. The Papua New Guinea Port Moresby Mission was created February 13, 1992. Total Church Membership: 28,249. Congregations: 80. [6]


Evangelical Alliance Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) was formed by the coming together of several churches in 1964. The Alliance runs an education agency which coordinates the work of a number of the smaller missions. It has been concerned with primary schooling and many of its schools are staffed by graduates of the Alliance teachers’ college in the Southern Highlands. In 1990 the 315,416 members of the EA were 9.1 percent of Christians and 8.7 percent of the total population.[7]

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]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea grew out of the work of the Neuendettelsau Mission Society (1886) and the Rhenish Mission Society (1887), both from Germany. During World War II all missionaries left the area, and many mission stations, churches, schools and hospitals were damaged. In spite of this, the indigenous church leaders and local Christians stood firm in the work of the church. After the war the Lutheran churches in Australia and North America were asked to help reconstruct the church in Papua New Guinea, working together as the Lutheran Mission New Guinea. In 1956 expatriate missionaries and indigenous church leaders gathered and formed the present indigenous church. At the time of its founding the church was called Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Guinea (ELCONG), and its founding bishop was an expatriate missionary from the American Lutheran Church. The first indigenous bishop was elected in 1973. In 1975, on the eve of the country's independence, the name of the church was changed to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG). In 1977 the church was officially declared autonomous and another local Lutheran church organized by the Australian Lutheran Mission joined with the ELCPNG. It has long had close relations with the Gutnius Lutheran Church, largely in Enga Province, whose origins were American Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and shares clergy college in Lae.[8]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Salvation Army Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

United Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

After World War II the Papua Ekalesia (formerly the London Missionary Society and Kwato Extension Association) joined the Methodists to form the United Church.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Papua New Guinea", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea, accessed 6 April 2020.
  2. "Christianity in Papua New Guinea", at "Tok Pisin English Dictionary", https://www.tokpisin.info/christianity-papua-new-guinea/, accessed 6 April 2020.
  3. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Papua New Guinea,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2000.
  4. "The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea", at "Anglican Communion", https://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/member-churches/member-church.aspx?church=papua-new-guinea, accessed 6 April 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Papua_New_Guinea, accessed 6 April 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Papua New Guinea, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Papua-New-Guinea, accessed 6 April 2020.
  7. "Evangelical Alliance in Papua New Guinea", at "Tok Pisin English Dictionary", https://www.tokpisin.info/evangelical-alliance-papua-new-guinea/, accessed 6 April 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_of_Papua_New_Guinea accessed 6 April 2020.
  9. "Christianity in Papua New Guinea", at "Tok Pisin English Dictionary", https://www.tokpisin.info/christianity-papua-new-guinea/, accessed 6 April 2020.

References[edit | edit source]