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Rwanda Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity is the largest religion in Rwanda. The most recent national census from 2012 indicates that: 43.7% of Rwanda's population is Roman Catholic, 37.7% is Protestant, 11.8% is Seventh-day Adventist, and 0.7% is Jehovah's Witness. [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 Rwanda.
b. Click on Places within Rwanda 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]

There are just over five million Catholics in Rwanda—about half of the total population. The country is divided into nine dioceses including one archdiocese. The Rwandan government reported on November 1, 2006, that 56.5% of the Rwanda's population is Catholic.[3]

Jehovah's Witnesses Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Protestant Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Protestant Council of Rwanda (Conseil Protestant du Rwanda) is a Christian ecumenical organization founded in Rwanda in 1963. It is a member of the World Council of Churches, the All Africa Conference of Churches and the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.[4]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Rwanda", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwanda, accessed 25 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Rwanda", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Rwanda, accessed 25 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Rwanda", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Rwanda, accessed 25 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Protestant Council of Rwanda", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Council_of_Rwanda, accessed 25 March 2020.