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Gabon Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Major religions practiced in Gabon include Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Approximately 88 percent of the population (42% Catholic) practice one of the denominations of Christianity. Christianity arrived in Gabon through the Portuguese traders in early 16th century.[3] The Italian Capuchin friars set up Christian missions in the 17th century. The Portuguese missionaries and Italian friars cooperation ended in the 18th century, and the Portuguese officials expelled the Capuchin friars in 1777. New missions such as the Sacred Heart and Holy Ghost, as well as Protestant missions from Europe arrived in the mid 19th century. Catholicism had established itself in Gabon with the Portuguese colonial efforts in 18th century, and grown to be the leading denomination by 1900. With the start of French colonial rule, Christian missions from Paris arrived between 1890s and 1960. More evangelical Churches have grown since the mid 20th century. On February 3, 2016, the Gabonese Republic granted official recognition to the local Orthodox Church, including plans to erect the first Orthodox church in the capital city Libreville.[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 Gabon.
b. Click on Places within Gabon 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 French Letter Writing Guide 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 Gabon is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. It is endowed with the right to elect its own clergy, except archbishops. There are over 600,000 Catholics in Gabon - almost half the population divided in five major congregations. There are five dioceses including one archdiocese, plus an apostolic vicariate.[3]

Alliance Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

During the throes of the Great Depression, the first Alliance missionaries missionaries entered the country in 1934. The Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of Gabon: 115 organized churches, 145 unorganized groups, 91 ordained ministers, 11,226 baptized members, and 25,550 inclusive members.[4]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 2004, Archimandrite Theologos (Chrysanthakopoulos) was assigned the responsibility for the mission in Congo Brazzaville which at that time was part of the Archdiocese of Central Africa. The mission was established as the Diocese of Brazzaville and Gabon by a Patriarchal and Synodal Decree on October 7, 2010 by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.

In Gabon during 2007, then under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Cameroon, a missionary group organized the first community of indigenous Orthodox Christians in the city of Libreville and has initiated the building of the Church of St. Dimitrios.[5]

Evangelical (Presbyterian) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Church of Gabon (French: Égliese Evangélique du Gabon) belongs to the Reformed family of churches. It was created by American missionaries, the American Board of Foreign Missions worked in Gabon between 1842 to 1870. The Board of Foreign Mission of the Presbyterian Church (USA) worked from 1870 to 1913. The Paris Mission Society took over the mission till 1961, when the Evangelical Church of Gabon become independent. The church underwent several splits, and the denomination had hard times in the 1970s. In 1997 the Synod was formed. In April 2005 several dissenting groups reunified. From this time the united denomination extended its activities to south Gabon. The church has 108 congregations and 20,000 members. For more details, see Evangelical Church of Gabon at Reformed Online. [6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Gabon", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabon, accessed 23 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Gabon", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Gabon, accessed 23 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Gabon", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Gabon, accessed 23 March 2020.
  4. "Gabon", The Alliance, https://www.cmalliance.org/field/gabon, accessed 24 March 2020.
  5. "Diocese of Brazzaville and Gabon", at OrthodoxWiki, https://orthodoxwiki.org/Diocese_of_Brazzaville_and_Gabon, accessed 24 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Church of Gabon", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Church_of_Gabon, accessed 23 March 2020.