Suriname Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]



Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The history of Christianity in Suriname can be divided into two parts. The first part is the history up to the abolition of slavery. The second part consists of Christianity after the era of slavery....

In the first pace, we have the division according to the arrival of churches: the older churches and the new churches. The older churches (Anglican, Reformed, Moravian, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic)settled in the Surinamese society during the era of slavery. This period roughly covered 1651-1863.

The second phase started after the abolition of slavery and the arrival of the new churches. The first Baptist church was founded around 1887. The Baptists were followed by the Seventh-day Adventists (1894), and the Methodist Churches (African Episcopal Methodist Church 1912); Salvation Army, 1924; Wesleyan Church, 1945; and Evangelical Methodist Church, 1949.

Anew group of churches in this group consisted of different American Baptist Churches (Worldteam 1954), Pentecostal and Full Gospel Churches (Assemblies of God 1959), and many others starting from 1961 (e.g. Southern Baptists, 1971; Christian and Missionary Alliance, 1979).[1]

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 Suriname.
b. Click on Places within Suriname 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 the 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 Anglican Diocese of Guyana is one of eight within the Province of the West Indies.[1] Its cathedral is St. George's Cathedral, Georgetown. The diocese came into being on 24 August 1842, when William Austin was consecrated as the first bishop. The diocese also covers Suriname and Cayenne/French Guiana.[2]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


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 Suriname is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, and is under the spiritual leadership of the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis.

There are 117,261 Catholics in Suriname, 21.6% of the population, far lower than most of South America.[1] The Church in Suriname consists of only one diocese, the Diocese of Paramaribo. There are 22 priests in the Diocese, with a ratio of about 5,030 Catholics per priest. There are 31 Catholic parishes in the diocese. The seat of the Diocese of Paramaribo is The Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Paramaribo.

The first missionaries to come to Suriname were the Franciscans in 1683, but the harshness of the climate did not favor the arrival of other priests, so that up to 1786 the country was totally abandoned by the Catholic missions. Since 1786 some secular priests opened a missionary center, but soon had to flee to the opposition of the ministers of other Christian denominations. When in 1816 the territory passed into the hands of the Dutch, was guaranteed freedom of worship. This was the real starting point of Catholic evangelization of what today is called Suriname. In 1817 was erected the Apostolic Prefecture of Dutch Guyana, which became apostolic vicariate in 1842 and the mission was entrusted in a special way to the Redemptorists. On 7 May 1958 the apostolic vicariate was elevated to the rank of diocese, then Diocese of Paramaribo. [3][4]

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: 1,630. Congregations: 5.

Former Netherlands Amsterdam Mission President John Limburg and his wife, Beverly, were called to begin missionary work in Suriname. The Limburgs arrived in Paramaribo in October 1988. Membership had increased in Paramaribo so that in November 1989 a branch (a small congregation) was formally organized. By 1990, attendance at the branch averaged about 100 people.

In 2001, there were 495 members in Suriname. The Paramaribo chapel was dedicated in July 2001 and, due to membership growth, the Paramaribo Branch was divided in September 2002 to form the Wanica Branch. [5]


Christian and Missionary Alliance[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Christelijke en Zending Alliance Kerk van Suriname
Grote Combeweg 69
Paramaribo, Suriname

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Alliance missionaries came to Suriname in 1975. Since then, the Alliance national church has grown to three organized churches with more than 700 inclusive members. The Chinese Alliance Church there has sent cross-cultural workers to plant churches in other parts of Latin America. 2 organized churches, 3 unorganized groups, 3 ordained ministers, 286 baptized members, and 466 inclusive members. [6]


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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

For a detailed history, see Suriname: 1990 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname (Evangelisch Lutherse Kerk in Suriname) is a Lutheran denomination in Suriname. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, which it joined in 1979. It is also a member of the Caribbean Conference of Churches. [7]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


The Guyana Suriname Conference of the AME Church
290 Lance Gibbs And New Garden Streets, Queenstown
Georgetown, Guyana

Telephone: +592 226 9031


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

There are two types of Methodist Churches: African Methodist Episcopal and Wesleyan.
There are eleven Wesleyan churches in Suriname. Six of our churches are in the capital city of Paramaribo and the other five are in the areas of Moengo and Saramacca. Approximately four hundred people attend our churches.

The Wesleyan Church is a small church in a young country. Over half of the population of Suriname are under twenty-five years old. This is reflected in the congregations. Our churches are primarily made up of young believers who are growing in Christ.

Akale KondreMost of our people are Maroons who grew up in the villages around Moengo and Pelgrim Kondre. They are Aukaners-- descendants of slaves who escaped from their Dutch slave masters and fled into the jungle. The children grow up in the river villages. Many of them then move on to Paramaribo to acquire a higher education. Close connections exist between the churches in Moengo and those in town. So most of the Wesleyan children who move to Paramaribo readily find a new church home in the city.

Patamacca Our youngest church, perhaps, is the Patamacca Wesleyan Church. [8]

Moravian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The mission in Suriname started from Hernnhut (Germany) in 1735 and was continued after 1928 from Zeist in the Netherlands. Mission among the American Indians began in 1748 and continued later among the (African) slaves and the bush negroes (fugitive slaves). After 1835 several congregations were established in various parts of the country. Mission among the East Indians (Hindustanis) began in 1873 and among the Javanese in 1909. As several members of the Moravian Church in Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands, especially after the second world war, the church in Suriname is also working in the Netherlands Antilles. In 1963 the church became an autonomous province of the Moravian Church, with its own synod meeting every three years. The provincial elders conference, the governing body of the community, is assisted by two other boards, one for church affairs and the other for mission affairs.[9]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In Suriname there are more than a hundred Pentecostal congregations, which may or may not be affiliated with a particular national or international denomination. The Gospel Center Suriname is the largest group, with missionaries trained in Suriname and now leading fifty-five congregations, far beyond the borders of our country.
The following churches are Full Gospel or Pentecostal churches.

  • Bribi Ministries
  • Church of the Living God International (CLGI)
  • Gospel Center Suriname (ECS)
  • Faith and Love Ministries
  • Municipalities of God (Assembly of God)
  • God's Trump Ministries
  • Streams of Power

Reformed Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

The Reformed Church of Suriname
Wanicastraat 82 boven
P.O. Box 2542
Paramaribo
Suriname

Telephone: +597 47 23 44

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Dutch Reformed Church of Surinam was founded in 1667 - 1668 by Rev Basselieres. It was a church of Dutch colonists. Now members are white settlers and ransomed slaves. Most church activities were in Paramaribo. Until 1850 the church was the State Church. The church opened itself to the African slaves. The church has 15,000-12,000 members and 3 congregations and 5 house fellowships. [10]

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]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Franklin Steven Jabibi, "Christianity in Suriname: An Overview of its History, Theologians and Sources", file:///Users/kathrynhanna/Desktop/Christianity%20in%20Suriname_%20An%20Overview%20of%20its%20History,%20Theologians%20and%20Sources%20-%20Franklin%20Steven%20Jabini%20-%20Google%20Books.htm, accessed 14 March 2020
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Diocese of Guyana", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese of Guyana, accessed 14 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Suriname", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Suriname, accessed 14 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Suriname", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Suriname, accessed 14 March 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Suriname, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Suriname, accessed 14 March 2020.
  6. "Suriname", in "The Alliance", https://www.cmalliance.org/field/suriname, 13 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_in_Suriname, accessed 14 March 2020.
  8. The Wesleyan Church, https://www.oocities.org/phidavis/weschrch.html, accessed 14 March 2020.
  9. "Moravian Church in Suriname", "World Council of Churches", https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/moravian-church-in-suriname, accessed 14 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Dutch Reformed Church of Surinam", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Reformed_Church_of_Surinam, accessed 14 March 2020.