Malaysia Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

About 10% of the population of Malaysia are Christians, mostly non-Malay Bumiputera, also including some Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian minorities. The most common denominations are Anglican, Methodist, and Roman Catholic. Most Christians are found in East Malaysia.Christianity has become restricted as Malaysia has become more Islamic. Restrictions have been placed on the construction of new churches, although existing ones are allowed to operate. [1]

Religious Denominations in Malaysia[edit | edit source]

  • Dutch Reformed, starting in 1642
  • Anglican, starting in 1820
  • Armenian, starting in 1827
  • Catholic, starting in 1846
  • Brethren, starting in 1864
  • Methodist, starting in 1885
  • Presbyterian, starting in 1895

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 Malaysia.
b. Click on Places within Malaysia 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.

Wiki Articles on 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]

The first Catholic priests landed in Malacca in 1511 as military chaplains to the Portuguese. The missionaries were Franciscan and Dominican friars. Malacca became a stop-over for the thousands of missionaries who spread the faith to South and Far East Asia. Until today, small Christian communities are found in these places due to its missionary zest. Malacca holds a special place in the history of the Church in this region.[2]

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]

When the Singapore Mission opened in 1974, with Malaysia a part of the mission, missionaries were rotated in and out of the country on 30-day tourist visas to comply with the law of the land. After the government granted the Church recognition status in 1977, missionaries helped acquire the first property owned by the Church in Malaysia in the suburb of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Church membership was small with many members being American and Australian, temporarily working in the country, as well as some Chinese members living in the country. Ground was broken for the first meetinghouse in East Malaysia at Kota Kinabalu on 16 April 2003. Total Church Membership: 10,504. Congregations: 33.[3]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Anglicanism came to the Malay Peninsula following the establishment of the British East India Company's administered settlement on Penang island in 1786. The first entry into the Church Register was made in 1799. In 1855, a Diocese of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak was created for the better administration of outlying areas.

In 1867, the whole of Penang island came under direct British rule, precipitated by the foreclosure of the East India Company. This led to a time of great missionary activity in the new Diocese and a period of Chinese and Indian immigration. The Diocese of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak was reorganized into the Diocese of Singapore in 1909. After 120 years, the Anglican church in South-East Asia was finally positioned to take responsibility for its own mission and growth.

Church life and ministry was drastically affected by World War II and the Japanese Occupation of the peninsula between 1941 and 1945. Without the benefit of its expatriate clergy who had been interred, the work of the church fell on Asian shoulders. These Asian workers operated with surprisingly responsible independence.

Malaya gained her independence from British rule in 1957. Following this, in 1960, the Diocese was renamed the Diocese of Singapore and Malaya to give due recognition to the political importance of Malaya. In 1963, Malaya became the Federation of Malaysia with the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak under one central government. Ten years after the creation of the Diocese of Singapore and Malaya, in 1971, a new and independent Diocese, the Diocese of West Malaysia, was incorporated by an Act of the Malaysian Parliament. In 1996, the Church of the Province of South East Asia consisting of the dioceses of Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and West Malaysia was created by the Archbishop of Canterbury, thus making the Anglican Church in the region self-governing, self-supporting, self-propagating and truly indigenous.[4]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Methodist Church in Malaysia is a body within the Methodist tradition in Malaysia. With approximately 200,000 members in more than 1034 congregations (local and preaching points), it is the largest Protestant denomination in the country. The history of the Methodist Church in Malaysia began following a decision taken at the South India Conference held in Hyderabad in 1884, when William Oldham was appointed as a missionary to Singapore in 1885. The Tamil work started with the coming of a Ceylon Tamil, Mr Underwood. In 1894 the Tamil work was started in Penang by the Pyketts, and in Kuala Lumpur by the Kensetts and was continued by Rev. S Abraham from Ceylon in 1899. Methodism came to Sarawak in the year 1900 when a group of immigrants came from Foochow in mainland China. Missionaries came in 1903 in the persons of J.M Hoover and G.V Summers. Methodism grew rapidly in the town of Sibu and a solid foundation was laid. The work among the indigenous people, the Ibans, began in 1937 with pioneers like Lucius D. Mamora and Paul H. Schmuker who took the Gospel to the longhouses. The work amongst the Sengoi community in Pahang was started in 1930 with the help of missionaries from Sumatra, Indonesia. The Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia became a self-governing body in 1968. After the separation of Singapore from Malaysia, the Methodist Church in Malaysia became autonomous in 1976.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Malaysia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Malaysia, accessed 1 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Malaysia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Malaysia, accessed 1 April 2020.
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Malaysia, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Malaysia, accessed 1 April 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Diocese of West Malaysia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese_of_West_Malaysia, accessed 1 April 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Methodist Church in Malaysia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Church_in_Malaysia, accessed 1 April 2020.