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South Sudan Church Records

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Beginning Research
Record Types
South Sudan Background
Local Research Resources

For information about records for non-Christian religions in South Sudan, 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]

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the Catholic Church is the largest single Christian body in Sudan since 1995, with 2.7 million Catholics mainly concentrated in South Sudan. The US Episcopal Church claims the existence of large numbers of Anglican adherents from the Episcopal Church of the Sudan with 2 million members in 2005. The Presbyterian Church in Sudan is the third largest denomination in Southern Sudan. It has about one million members in 500 congregations in 2012.[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 Sudan.
b. Click on Places within Sudan 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:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Catholic Church in South Sudan is composed of one ecclesiastical province with one archdiocese and six suffragan dioceses. There have been a total of 31 bishops in South Sudan to date. The bishops of South Sudan and Sudan are currently members of one single bishops' conference, designated as Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference. It is the largest church in South Sudan. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the Catholic Church was the largest single Christian body in Sudan since 1995, with 2.7 million Catholics mainly concentrated in South Sudan. Today, 37.2% of the population is Catholic, with about 6.2 million Catholics out of a total population of 16.7 million.[3]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan, formerly known as Episcopal Church of Sudan, is a province of the Anglican Communion located in South Sudan. The province consists of eight Internal Provinces (each led by an archbishop) and 61 dioceses (each headed by a bishop). The first major Anglican mission in Sudan was founded in Omdurman in 1899, under the auspices of the Church Mission Society. The mission led to widespread conversion to Christianity throughout southern Sudan. Missionary activity came first under the Diocese in Jerusalem, and then, in 1920, as part of the new Diocese of Egypt and the Sudan, with Llewellyn Henry Gwynne as its first bishop. As the pace of growth continued, a separate Diocese of the Sudan was formed with its own bishop in 1945. In 1957, oversight for the Diocese of the Sudan was transferred from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Archbishop in Jerusalem. In 1974, when the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East underwent structural reform, Sudan became an independent province of four dioceses.[4]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) started in 1903. The "mother church" was the Presbyterian Church of the USA. Together with local support, the missionaries they sent founded the new church. Since 1974, there have been partner relationships between mission 21 and the PCOSS which have never been interrupted despite the civil war.

In July 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was the youngest state on Earth to gain its independence. The PCOSS is facing enormous challenges in the new state. Firstly, it must build its own infrastructure; secondly, it is expected to make a contribution to building up the young state, mainly by training midwives in the town of Leer. As before, peace work is an important activity in the church since very different ethnic groups must coexist in the PCOSS. [5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "South Sudan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudan, accessed 14 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in South Sudan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_South_Sudan, accessed 14 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in South Sudan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_South_Sudan, accessed 25 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_of_the_Episcopal_Church_of_South_Sudan, accessed 25 March 2020.
  5. "PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF SOUTH SUDAN (PCOSS)", at Evangelical Mission in Solidarity, https://ems-online.org/en/countries/africa/south-sudan/, accessed 25 March 2020.