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Libya Church Records

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Beginning Research
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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Libya, 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]

About 97% of the population in Libya are Muslims, most of whom belong to the Sunni branch. There are small foreign communities of Christians. Coptic Orthodox Christianity, which is the Christian Church of Egypt, is the largest and most historical Christian denomination in Libya. There are about 60,000 Egyptian Copts in Libya. Copts in Libya are Egyptian. There are three Coptic Churches in Libya, one in Tripoli, one in Benghazi, and one in Misurata. There are an estimated 40,000 Roman Catholics in Libya who are served by two Bishops, one in Tripoli (serving the Italian community) and one in Benghazi (serving the Maltese community). There is also a small Anglican community, made up mostly of African immigrant workers in Tripoli; it is part of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt.[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 Libya.
b. Click on Places within Libya 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:


Vicariate Tripoli
SAN FRANCESCO PARISH
The Parish community of San Francesco Tripoli, is in fact made up of various PERSONAL PARISHES because of the different nationalities and language groups of the faithful, living in that area. PERSONAL PARISHES, according to the Language groups, are assigned to the following Parish Priests:
Vicar Apostolic GEORGE BUGEJA OFM
Responsible for the African and Filippino Communities
In charge of Caritas

FR. MAGDY HELMY OFM
Guardian of the Franciscan Fraternity
Parish Priest of the Arab speaking French Community
Assistant of Italian Community
Mobile: +218925203109
eMail: magdyyyy@hotmail.com

BR. HERMIE VILLASON OFM, Medical Doctor
Assistant to the Pastoral Care of the Christian Communities in Sebha Regions
Mobile: +218922964667

Vicariate Benghazi

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Schara Ibn el Khattab
P.O. Box 248
Benghazi

Tel (+218) 061 9096563,
Fax (+218) 061 9081599,
Mobile (+218)0913824938
Email: apostvicar@yahoo.com

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

For a detailed history, see [History, Catholic Church in Libya Christianity has been present in Libya since Roman times. Saint Francis of Assisi brought his faith to Tripoli in the Middle Ages. The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) in the Old City - Medina of Tripoli was founded in 1645 and, with the permission of the Sultan of Constantinople, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Benghazi in 1858.

Before World War II the number of Catholics increased in Libya due to its status as an Italian colony, but the Catholic Cathedral of Tripoli (built in the 1920s) was converted to a mosque in the 1990s by Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

There are around 50,000 Catholics in Libya, comprising less than one percent of the population. Among the Catholics are Italian Libyans and Maltese Libyans. Thousands of Filipino Catholic nurses moved to Libya during the 1980s and 1990s. The Italians were the majority of the Catholics in Libya until their expulsion in 1969 by Colonel Gaddafi.

There are no dioceses in Libya, but there are four territorial jurisdictions - three Apostolic Administrations and one Apostolic Prefecture.

  • Apostolic Vicariate of Benghazi
  • Apostolic Vicariate of Derna
  • Apostolic Vicariate of Tripoli
  • Apostolic Prefecture of Misrata[3][4]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Anglican Church:
Tel 021 4442037 / 0923096822 (Tripoli)

Coptic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

They are currently three Coptic Orthodox Churches in Libya: one in Tripoli, Libya (Saint Mark's), one in Benghazi, Libya (Saint Antonios — two priests), and one in Misrata, Libya (Saint Mary and Saint George).

Coptic Orthodox Church:
Tel 021.4804542 (Tripoli)
Tel 061 9097046 / 9096588 (Benghazi)
Mob: 0913715096

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Historically speaking, Christianity spread to the Pentapolis in North Africa from Egypt. The Coptic congregations in several countries were under the ancient Eparchy of the Western Pentapolis, which was part of the Coptic Orthodox Church for centuries until the 13th century.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Libya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya, accessed 20 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Libya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Libya, accessed 20 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Libya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Libya, accessed 14 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Libya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Libya, accessed 14 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Copts in Libya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copts_in_Libya, accessed 20 March 2020.