To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here.

Ethiopia Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ethiopia Wiki Topics
Flag of Ethiopia.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Ethiopia Background
Local Research Resources

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Ethiopia, 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]

Christianity in Ethiopia dates to the ancient Kingdom of Aksum, when the King Ezana first adopted the faith. Various Christian denominations are now followed. Of these, the largest and oldest is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, an Oriental Orthodox church centered in Ethiopia. The Orthodox Tewahedo Church was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church until 1959, when it was granted its own patriarch. The largest pre-colonial Christian church of Africa, the Ethiopian Church has a membership of between 40 and 46 million, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, and is thus the largest of all Oriental Orthodox churches.

Next in size are the various Protestant congregations, who include 13.7 million Ethiopians. The largest Protestant group is the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, with about 5 million members. Roman Catholicism has been present in Ethiopia since the nineteenth century, and numbers 536,827 believers. In total, Christians make up about 60% of the total population of the country. [1][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 Ethiopia.
b. Click on Places within Ethiopia 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.

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome.The Oriental Ethiopian Catholic Church, the primary organization of Catholicism in the country, is especially close to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, whose doctrine and liturgical tradition it shares. While separated by their understanding of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the Ethiopian Catholic and Orthodox Churches have basically the same sacraments and liturgy. As of 2010, there were 610,714 members of the Ethiopian Catholic Church. There are also a small number of Latin-Rite Catholics in the country, primarily Italian Ethiopians.

The Portuguese voyages of discovery at the end of the fifteenth century opened the way for direct contacts between the Church in Rome and the Church in Ethiopia. Due largely to the behaviour of the Portuguese Jesuit Afonso Mendes, whom Pope Urban VIII appointed as Patriarch of Ethiopia in 1622, Emperor Fasilides expelled the Patriarch and the European missionaries, who included Jerónimo Lobo, from the country in 1636; these contacts, which had seemed destined for success under the previous Emperor led, instead, to the complete closure of Ethiopia to further contact with Rome.

From 1839 Msgr. Justin de Jacobis, and subsequently Cardinal Guglielmo Massaia, resumed Catholic missionary activities. The Catholic communities currently found in Ethiopia are mostly the fruit of the vigorous work of the above-mentioned missionaries, de Jacobis, and Cardinal Massaja.[3][4]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online church information is available to current members, 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]

The first members in Ethiopia were expatriates attached to embassies who held Church meetings in homes in Addis Ababa. In March 1985 Church Apostle Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Glenn L. Pace of the Seventy visited Addis Ababa with Church relief supplies. The Church donated some $2.8 million for famine relief and irrigation development in Ethiopia and neighboring countries, such as Sudan. The Kenya Nairobi Mission, which includes Ethiopia, was created in 1991, and the first official Church meeting was held in Addis Ababa in August 1992. In 1993 the Church was legally registered and the first missionary couple arrived. In February 1993 the first missionaries arrived, Elder Eugene and Sister Ruth Hilton. The Church was legally registered on 16 September 1993. The Addis Ababa Branch (a small congregation) was created in January 1994 and was presided over by Girma Denisa. He was the first Ethiopian to serve the Church as a full-time missionary.Total Church Membership: 1,933. Congregations: 4. [5]

Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

At the turn of the 19th Century, Ethiopian Christians began proclaiming the Gospel with the help of Lutheran and Presbyterian Missions in Ethiopia. From these joint efforts the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) was instituted as a national Church on January 21, 1959. At the end of 2014, the EECMY had 8,095 established congregations and 3,702 preaching places in 25 Synods, one Area Work and one Parishes (Galana Abaya). There are 3,235 pastors, 5,125 evangelists and some 491,541 voluntary persons actively involved in the mission work of the Church. The EECMY has 7,396,341 baptized and 3,937,470 communicant members. This growth has made the EECMY the largest Lutheran Church in Africa.[6]

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian churches. One of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the first half of the 4th century until 1959, when it was granted its own patriarch by Cyril VI, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It is one of the oldest Christian churches and, as a non-Chalcedonian church, it is not in full communion with the Ethiopian Catholic Church. Ethiopia is the second country historically, following only Armenia, to have officially proclaimed Christianity as its state religion (in AD 333). [7]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, " Christianity in Ethiopia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Ethiopia, accessed 23 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ethiopia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ethiopia, accessed 23 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ethiopia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ethiopia, accessed 14 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Ethiopia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Ethiopia, accessed 14 March 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Ethiopia, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Ethiopia, accessed 6 March 2020.
  6. "A Brief History", at EECMY.org, http://eecmy.org/eecmy/en/history, accessed 23 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Orthodox_Tewahedo_Church, accessed 23 March 2020.