Barbados Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]




Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Most Barbadians of African and European descent are Christians (95%), the largest denomination being Anglican (40%). Other Christian denominations with significant followings in Barbados are the Catholic Church (administered by Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown), Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Spiritual Baptists. The Church of England was the official state religion until its legal disestablishment by the Parliament of Barbados following independence. "Religions of the World" gives the percentage of Catholics as 4 percent in 1980 and 4.2 percent in 2000.[1]

Quakers played a prominent role in early Barbados (1700's) but are not there today.[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 Barbados.
b. Click on Places within Barbados 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.

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]

At first, Catholicism had difficulty establishing itself in Barbados, which early in its colonial history was primarily Protestant, but with the abolition of slavery there in 1838, it began to take root. Currently, Catholics comprise about 4% of churchgoing Barbadians under the Diocese of Bridgetown.

Some of the Catholic churches in Barbados include:

  • St. Patrick's Cathedral, Bridgetown
  • Our Lady Queen of the Universe
  • St. Dominic
  • Our Lady of Sorrow
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Church

[3]

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]

Barbados 1,057 Total Church Membership 0.37% 1-in-271Population vs. Church Members 3 Congregations 0 Wards 3 Branches

Leaders of the Church have made several visits to Barbados since 1950, but it was 1978 before the first baptism of a Church member there took place. Greg Young, a young convert from Scotland, shared his new found faith with friends John and June Naime and Norman and Gema Naime. The Naimes were baptized on 16 April 1978.

In 1979 the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission was formed. It included Barbados and other islands of the Caribbean. Barbados was officially opened for missionary work in September 1979. The Christ Church Branch (a small congregation) was organized 20 October 1979.

When the West Indies Mission was opened in 1983, it was headquartered in Barbados. In 1994, headquarters of the West Indies Mission were transferred from Barbados to Trinidad.

The Barbados Bridgetown Mission was created July 1, 2015, from the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission and the West Indies Mission. Total Membership (2019): 1,057. Congregations: 3. [4]

Church of England (Anglican) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Anglican Diocese of Barbados
Henry's Lane, Collymore Rk, St. Michael
Bridgetown, Barbados BB11156

Phone: (246) 426-2762
Fax: (246) 426-0871
E-mail: diocesansec@anglican.bb

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Anglican church was the first official religion in Barbados. Today it accounts for approximately 30% of church going members, dramatically down from 90% reported in an 1871 survey.

Its membership is of mixed race, although slaves were forbidden membership by the original plantation owners, who were concerned that the church might undermine their authority over the workers. Despite this attitude, with the abolition of slavery in 1838 many ex-slaves were drawn to the Anglican church which fared far better than the other early Christian churches, the Methodist, Moravian and Quakers.

Bishop William Hart Coleridge, the first Anglican Bishop, did much to extend the church's influence by building ten chapels in the rural areas for those who had difficulty reaching the parish churches. His work, which began in 1825 and lasted to 1842, also led to the development of 11 chapel schools and the St. Mary Church in Bridgetown.[5]

Quakers[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

"The island of Barbados was during the 17th century the great port of entry to the colonies in the western world. In the last half of the century it was a veritable hive of Quakerism. Quakers wishing to reach any part of the American colony sailed most frequently for Barbados, then reshipped to their definite locality. Quakers generally spent weeks or months in Barbados propagating their doctrines there and in surrounding islands before proceeding to their final destinations." (Gordon Trueblood)

By 1671, there was a huge community of Quakers in Barbados. Prior to the Quakers’ large-scale migration to Pennsylvania, Barbados had more Quakers than any other English colony. But on this island of sugar plantations, Quakers confronted material temptations and had to temper founder George Fox’s admonitions regarding slavery with the demoralizing realities of daily life in a slave-based economy—one where even most Quakers owned slaves.

They were one of the first Christian churches to encourage the slaves to join them resulting in the legislation of 1676 that made it illegal for blacks in Barbados to attend a Quaker meeting, and by the time a census was taken in 1680, some 500 of the 20,000 white people on Barbados were Quakers. Despite their efforts, the Quakers failed in their experiment to transform the culture of Barbados.

According to historian Larry Gragg: "Ultimately, the Quaker movement on Barbados "ended with a whimper. They challenged the very powerful plantation power structure and lost ... It was an extraordinary challenge, but today there's little evidence that they had much impact. But they did have the local government frightened for two decades."[6]

Church of God Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Congregations can be found at Avistown, St. Lucy; Bank Hall, St. Michael; Bournes Village, St. George; Brereton Village, St. Philip; Chelsea Road, St. Michael; Edeys Village, Christ Church, Greens, St. George; Jackson, St. Michael; Orange Hill, St. James; Salters, St. George; Silver Sands, Christ Church; and Welchman Hall, St. Thomas; giving a full complement of eighteen churches throughout Barbados.[7]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Church of God reformation [in Barbados] is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The work was started by a Barbadian, Bro. Philip Scantlebury, who for some years lived in the United States of America. He returned to Barbados in 1912 in order to visit his mother who was ill. While there, he gathered together a small group in Mile-and-a-Quarter, St. Peter, where his parents lived, and started open-air services under a tamarind tree. Around the years 1917–19, services were begun in the northern parts of the island at Speightstown in St. Peter, Gardens in St. James, Boscobelle in St. Peter and Belleplaine in St. Andrew. Church buildings were erected and are in these districts to the present day. The Church of God continued to spread the gospel.[8]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1905, Joseph Brathwaite began witnessing in Barbados as a colporteur, as full-time workers among Jehovah’s Witnesses were then called. [9]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

"Pentecostal" is a description, not a name of a church. Therefore, there is not one, but several different Pentecostal churches.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

See, The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements ...

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

See Over a Century of Adventism, 1884-199

Spiritual Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

The Cathedral Church of Jerusalem
Ealing Grove, Christ Church Barbados

Beulah Temple
Bishops, St. Lucy
Barbados

Zion Apostolic Temple
Richmond Gap, St. Michael
Barbados

Jeremiah Spiritual Baptist Church
Enterprise Main Road, Christ Church
Barbados

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Spiritual Baptist faith is a syncretic Afro-American religion that combines elements of traditional African religion with Christianity. Despite the African influences, Spiritual Baptists consider themselves to be Christians. The Baptist faith was brought to Trinidad by the Merikins, former American slaves who were recruited by the British to fight, as the Corps of Colonial Marines, against the Americans during the War of 1812. After the end of the war, these ex-slaves were settled in Trinidad. These American settlers brought with them the Baptist faith of the Second Great Awakening combined with, in the case of those from Georgia, the Gullah culture. The faith expanded to Barbados in 1957 as the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual Baptists movement.[3] It now ranks as one of two indigenous religions in the country.[10]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Barbados", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbados, accessed 7 March 2020.
  2. "Quakers on Barbados", in Geni, https://www.geni.com/projects/Quakers-on-Barbados/3340, accessed 7 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Barbados", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Barbados, accessed 7 March 2020.
  4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Barbados, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/barbados, accessed 7 March 2020.
  5. "The Anglican Churches and Religion in Barbados", in "GoBarbados", https://barbados.org/anglican.htm, accessed 7 March 2020.
  6. "Quakers on Barbados", in Geni, https://www.geni.com/projects/Quakers-on-Barbados/3340, accessed 7 March 2020.
  7. "The Church of God in Barbados Celebrates 100 Years", in "Church of God Ministries", https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/the-church-of-god-in-barbados-celebrates-100-years/, accessed 7 march 2020.
  8. "The Church of God in Barbados Celebrates 100 Years", in "Church of God Ministries", https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/the-church-of-god-in-barbados-celebrates-100-years/, accessed 7 march 2020.
  9. 1989 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses: Barbados, West Indies", https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/301989013, accessed 7 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Spiritual Baptist", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_Baptist, accessed 7 March 2020.