Zimbabwe Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

For a listing of many churches in Zimbabwe, see Zimbabwe Council of Churches, at World Council of Churches
According to the 2017 Inter Censal Demography Survey by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency 69.2 percent of Zimbabweans belong to Protestant Christianity, 8.0 percent are Roman Catholic, in total 84.1 percent follow one of the denominations of Christianity. [1]

Most Zimbabweans Christians are Protestants. The Protestant Christian churches with large membership are Anglican (represented by the Church of the Province of Central Africa), Seventh-day Adventist and Methodist.

There are about one million Roman Catholics in the country (about 7% of the total population). The country contains two archdioceses (Harare and Bulawayo), which each contain three dioceses Chinhoyi, Gokwe, and Mutare; and Gweru, Hwange, and Masvingo; respectively).

A variety of local churches and groups have emerged from the mainstream Christian churches over the years: Zimbabwe Assemblies of God and the Seven Apostles.[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 Zimbabwe.
b. Click on Places within Zimbabwe 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.



African Apostolic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

African Apostolic Church
8 Jefferson Road, Hatfield
Harare, Zimbabwe 0001

Phone: +263 77 328 4867

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1932, Johane Marange (born: Muchabaya Momberume) baptized many in a local river, and his efforts in the decades that followed led to the African Apostolic Church, the second largest ministry in Zimbabwe.[3]

Anglican Church Records[edit | edit source]

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Most of these parish registers are housed in the National Archives in the United Kingdom. FamilySearch has a large amount of Anglican church records available online.

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

For more recent records (in the last 75-100 years), you may need to write to the individual church:


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Christian mission arrived in Zimbabwe in 1859 because of the efforts of London Missionary Society. Their work began among the Zulu people. David Livingstone appealed to the British government to assign land and protection to Christian missions, which led to a land grant to the Universities Mission in 1888 and the center of missionary activity to the Zulu and Shona peoples. Most Zimbabweans are Protestant Christians, and the majority of Protestants are Anglican.[4]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) is one of Africa’s most significant pentecostal movements. It numbers 300,00-400,000 members in Zimbabwe and has branches in at least a dozen other African countries. It was founded by artisans and casual workers living in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare [Salisbury], during the late 1950s. The movement itself emerged from the South African derived pentecostal church,the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM). [5]

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]

There were 1,145,000 Catholics in the country (about 9% of the total population) in 2005. There are eight dioceses, including two archdioceses. [6][7]

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: 32,937. Congregations: 80.

Missionary work began in what was then Southern Rhodesia in the early 1930s, but soon slowed. It was continued only by short visits by missionaries from South Africa. In 1950, eight missionaries were sent to Salisbury and Bulawayo, and the first convert was baptized in February 1951.

On April 17, 1951 missionaries distributed 3,000 handbills and a fairly large crowd attended an introductory meeting. The first services were held in a preschool building, and prospective members sat on tiny chairs. Later they met in the cloak room of a primary school.

In 1980 the government changed and the nation of Zimbabwe was formed. A new mission was established in Zimbabwe. At that time, membership was a little more than 1,000. Missionary work increased as local missionaries began serving full-time missions.

[8]

Dutch Reformed Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Reformed Church in Zimbabwe was founded by Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa missionaries in 1891. Andrew A. Louw begun to preach among Shona people. The worship language of churches was Afrikaans and English. Later the denomination expanded among Nyanja people. In 1995, a new center was opened in Dete. It had 46 congregations and 150 house fellowships and about 90,000 members in 2004.[9]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Methodist mission arrived in 1896, with members from the United Kingdom and the United States. The British worked with the white settlers, while the Americans worked with the native Africans.[10]


Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Pentecostalism arrived in the 1920s, and grew rapidly, with the Zion Christian Church now the largest Protestant following in Zimbabwe.[11]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Seventh-Day Adventists and Central African Christian Mission established their missions in 1890s. [12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwe, accessed 16 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe," in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 6 November 2019.
  5. "Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa, at What-When-How:In Depth Tutorials and Information, http://what-when-how.com/religious-movements/zimbabwe-assemblies-of-god-africa-religious-movement/, accessed 16 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 14 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church__in_Zimbabwe, accessed 14 March 2020.
  8. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Zimbabwe, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Zimbabwe, accessed 16 March 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Reformed Church in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Church_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zimbabwe", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zimbabwe, accessed 15 March 2020.