Taiwan Church Records

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

Freedom of religion is inscribed in the constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan). Christianity in Taiwan constituted 3.9% of the population according to the census of 2005. Christians on the island included approximately 600,000 Protestants, 300,000 Catholics and a small number of Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan was started in the 19th century by James Laidlaw Maxwell of the Presbyterian Church of England and George Leslie Mackay of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Today about 30 percent of the native Taiwanese belong to the Taiwanese Presbyterian denomination. A number of denominations (including the Baptist, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Adventists) arrived on the island nation in the wake of the expulsion of foreign missionaries from China, and the 1949 retreat of Nationalist troops to Taiwan.[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 China, Taiwan.
b. Click on Places within China, Taiwan 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]

Mandarin is the primary language used in business and education, and is spoken by the vast majority of the population. Traditional Chinese is used as the writing system. Some 70 per cent of the population belong to the Hoklo ethnic group and speak Hokkien natively in addition to Mandarin. You will probably need to write local parish priests to find records. Use Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters. Then contact a a Mandarin translation service.

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 Taiwan is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. Between 1.5% and 2% of the population of Taiwan are Catholic. Before the end of World War II the Catholic Church had a very minor presence in Taiwan, based mainly in the south of the island and centred on Spanish Dominican priests who went there from the Philippines in the 1860s. The end of World War II and the following years saw a mass migration of religious communities from mainland China as Communist persecution began to take effect following the Chinese Communist Revolution in 1949. As a result, the Catholic Church has many Mandarin-speaking mainland immigrants.[3]

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]

In June 1956, four missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first to ever visit the country, arrived in Taiwan after having studied Mandarin for nine months. At that time, the only members of the Church in Taiwan were a small group of American military servicemen. Two large chapels, located in Taipei and Kaohsiung, were completed in 1960. By 1975, there were 30 congregations in Taiwan, with a total of almost 7,000 members. Total Church Membership: 61,034. Congregations: 117.[4]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Taiwan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Taiwan, accessed 2 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Presbyterian Church in Taiwan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_in_Taiwan, accessed 1 April 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Taiwan", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Taiwan, accessed 1 April 2020.
  4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Taiwan, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Taiwan, accessed 2 April 2020.