Hong Kong Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chinese Wiki Topics
Chinese character.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Chinese Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources
Moderator
The FamilySearch moderator for Chinese Genealogy is Twlisa and Chincm

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Hong Kong, 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 was one of the most influential religions in Hong Kong. It gained influence partially due to its existence Hong Kong under British Crown rule from 1841 to 1997, and the work of many Western mission agencies from many countries. The Anglican church held a nominal privileged status through the influence of the British colonial government. After the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997 governmental support of the Church of England was reduced. In China, the ruling Communist Party of China distrusts missions and humanitarian entities with international religious ties. This includes religious organizations with missionary connected objectives. China officially supports State atheism and views all religion and Christianity as subversive.

The Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong was established as an apostolic prefecture in 1841 and as an Apostolic Vicariate in 1874. It became a diocese in 1946. About 379,000 Hong Kong people are Catholics as of 2016, many of them immigrants from the Philippines. Masses are conducted in Cantonese, with around three-fifths of the parishes providing services in English and in Tagalog (for the Filipino community) in some cases.

The presence of the Protestant community dates back to 1841. According to the data of HKSAR government, About 480,000 Protestants live in Hong Kong as of 2016. Major denominations are Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of Christ in China, Methodists, Pentecostals and the Salvation Army.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had 22,500 recorded members in Hong Kong in 2013. The LDS Church first sent missionaries to Hong Kong in 1853 but did not establish headquarters until 1949.

The Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia is the only church of Eastern Christianity in Hong Kong. It was set up in November 1996 by the decision of the Holy Great Synod of Constantinople. It is now under the spiritual jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.[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 Hong Kong.
b. Click on the "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
c. 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.


Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (abbreviated SKH), also known as the Anglican Church in Hong Kong, is the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and Macao. It is the 38th Province of the Anglican Communion. It is also one of the major denominations in Hong Kong. The church has approximately 29,000 members.[3]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Backgroud[edit | edit source]

The Baptist Convention of Hong Kong is a Baptist Christian denomination in Hong Kong. It is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Mong Kok.

Baptist work in Hong Kong traces its roots from the first missionaries sent by the Triennial Convention to work with the Chinese. Due to the hostility to foreigners in China at that time, missionaries were forced to work in areas with significant Chinese population in territories outside of Chinese control. In 1835, Dr. and Mrs. William Dean begun work with the Chaozhou speaking Chinese in Bangkok, Thailand whereas the Revd. Jehu Lewis Shuck and his wife, Henrietta Shuck, started work among the Cantonese speaking Chinese in Portuguese ruled Macau. With the cession of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom in 1842, the Shucks relocated to the colony in March of the same year and were joined later in the year by the Deans. The first chapel was established in 1842 in Queen's Road known as the Queen's Road Baptist Church.

With the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, many refugees entered Hong Kong, including Christians from the Baptist churches in China. This helped in the expansion of the work of the BCHK. This included Chaozhou speaking Baptists affiliated with the mission established by William Dean who set up the Hong Kong Swatow Baptist Church in 1948. In 1954, Chaozhou speaking missionaries were sent by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society at the request of local workers to help in the work and the Chaozhou speaking churches, collectively known as the Swatow Baptist Churches (later Shantou Baptist Churches) joined the BCHK.[4]

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 Hong Kong, established in 1841, is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. All Catholics in Hong Kong are under the Diocese of Hong Kong. There are approximately 389,000 Catholics in Hong Kong - around 5% of the total population - most being Latin Rite Catholics. The majority of the Hong Kong Catholics are Chinese. However, there are various national groups of Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Indian, French and German active Catholics. Sunday religious services are offered in 99 places.[5]

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]

The first missionaries to Hong Kong visited for four months in 1853, but internal problems in China made missionary efforts difficult. The Church began to grow when missionary headquarters were established in Hong Kong in 1949. By 1951, approximately 30 people attended weekly Church meetings. By 1960, approximately 1,700 members were divided into eight congregations. Over the next five years, membership grew to 3,000. In 1975, membership was 10,000. In the next 10 years, membership nearly doubled. Total Church Membership: 24,933. Congregations: 39.[6]

Christian and Missionary Alliance Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Church of Christ in China Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China (HKCCCC) is a Protestant Christian church organization in Hong Kong. Its history can be traced back to the formation of the Church of Christ in China, which is a uniting church consisting mainly of churches with Congregational and Presbyterian traditions, including the London Missionary Society, British Baptist Missionary Society and others. Initially established as the Sixth District Association of the Guangdong Synod of the Church of Christ in China, the Hong Kong Council was reorganized from its predecessor in 1953.[7]

Eastern Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Eastern Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia is an Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is centered in Hong Kong and has jurisdiction over Eastern Orthodox Christians in Southeast Asia. It was set up in November 1996 by the decision of the Holy Great Synod of Constantinople. For some years, a small band of dedicated and devout Eastern Orthodox Christians kept the Eastern Orthodoxy flame alive in Hong Kong; while services with a priest were rare, they continued to live the ancient expression of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. A small delegation, representing the St. Luke Orthodox Community, approached Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, requesting that the community be given a full-time clergyman, who could serve the needs of the faithful and offer Orthodox Christianity to the local people. With the efforts of the then Bishop Athenagoras (later Metropolitan of Mexico, Central America and Caribbean, with seat in Panama), a systematic plan was developed. Upon the research and advice of the Bishop, the Holy and Sacred Synod of Constantinople founded the new Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and South East Asia in November 1996, with jurisdiction over: Hong Kong, Macao, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and also Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, East Timor, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan.[8]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod is a confessional Lutheran church body in Hong Kong. The LCHKS has nearly 40 congregations. The LCHKS grew from the China mission of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), which was established in the early 1900s. In 1915, missionaries were sent to China by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). The missionaries preached the Gospel along the Yangtze River (Changjiang) in Hupeh and Szechwan.

After 1949, during the Chinese Civil War when the Communist Party of China expelled Christian missionaries after gaining control of Mainland China, the LCMS missionaries planned to return to the United States. However, they decided to stay and start evangelical work in Hong Kong when they saw so many Chinese Civil War refugees in Hong Kong. Later, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Hong Kong Mission was established.

The Hong Kong Mission developed into an independent local church and registered as The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod (LCHKS). Currently, the LCHKS has about 9,000 baptized members.[9]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The story of the Methodist Church has developed at almost the same pace as the story of Hong Kong. The first chapter of the story began 150 years ago. In January 1851, a lay preacher of the British Methodist Church, George Piercy, came to Hong Kong at his own expense in order to realize his vision to spread the Gospel to the Chinese. Shortly afterwards, Piercy arrived in Canton and set up a church there amidst immense difficulties.

Although Hong Kong Island became a British colony way back in 1842, its close ties with the South China District were still maintained. In 1882, eleven Methodists coming from Canton and Fatshan petitioned in Hong Kong to the Conference of the Canton Circuit urging for assistance to set up a church in Hong Kong. This prompted the work of the Methodist Church in Hong Kong. Subsequently, the Hong Kong Circuit became one of the seven Circuits of the South China District. In the beginning, the Methodist Church moved around Wellington Street, High Street, Wanchai, etc. A church was built at Aberdeen Street in 1906. A branch Church was set up nearby. It moved to Caine Road in 1916. The Hong Kong Church was eventually completed in 1936, signifying a milestone in the development of the Church. The Methodist Church (English Speaking) was built at Magazine Gap on Hong Kong Island in 1893. It was the first local church of the Methodist Church in Hong Kong.

1949 saw the founding of The People's Republic of China. The political changes led to the independence of the Hong Kong Methodist Church or Tsun To Kung Wooi (of British background) from the South China Circuit. In the 1950s, many Christian denominations which had been established in China also left the Mainland for Hong Kong. Hong Kong thus became the centre of resources for evangelistic work. Hong Kong was essentially a refugees' society in the 50s and 60s. [10]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Salvation Army Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and charity working in 131 countries and has been serving Hong Kong for over 85 years since 1930. With the commitment to transforming lives, caring for people and making disciples, we are currently operating almost 80 social services units, 34 schools and nurseries, 16 corps (churches), 1 outpost and 17 Family Stores in Hong Kong and Macau. There are offices in Yunnan and Sichuan for poverty alleviation development in China.[11]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Hong Kong", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong-Kong, accessed 1 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Hong Kong", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Hong_Kong, accessed 1 April 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Sheng_Kung_Hui, accessed 1 April 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Baptist Convention of Hong Kong", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Convention_of_Hong_Kong, accessed 1 April 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Hong Kong", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Hong_Kong , accessed 1 April 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Hong Kong, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Hong-Kong, accessed 31 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Council_of_the_Church_of_Christ_in_China, accessed 1 April 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Eastern Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Metropolitanate_of_Hong_Kong_and_Southeast_Asia, accessed 1 April 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Lutheran Church-Hong Kong Synod", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutheran_Church-Hong_Kong_Synod#History, accessed 1 April 2020.
  10. "A Historical Sketch of The Methodist Church, Hong Kong", https://gwulo.com/sites/gwulo.com/files/misc/MIC-120-Anniversary-Booklet.pdf .
  11. "The Salvation Army", https://www.salvationarmy.org.hk/en/about_us, accessed 1 April 2020.