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The Gambia Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Article 25 of the constitution protects the rights of citizens to practice any religion that they choose. Islam is practiced by 95% of the country's population. The Christian community represents about 4% of the population. Residing in the western and the southern parts of the Gambia, most of the Christian community identifies themselves as Roman Catholic. However, smaller Christian groups are present, such as Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and small evangelical denominations [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 Gambia.
b. Click on Places within Gambia 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 Christian community, situated mostly in the west and south of the country, is predominantly Roman Catholic. The history of the Catholic Church in the Gambia is closely linked to Senegal. In 1445 Portuguese arrived on the coast of West Africa with the first attempts of Evangelism. From the ecclesiastical point of view, only in 1931 was born the mission of the Gambia, entrusted to the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, detached from the Apostolic vicariate of Senegambia.[3][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]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist 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, "The Gambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gambia, accessed 20 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in The Gambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_The_Gambia, accessed 20 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in The Gambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_The_Gambia, accessed 20 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in The Gambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_The_Gambia, accessed 20 March 2020.