Vietnam Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity was brought to Vietnam by Catholic missionaries from Portugal, Spain, and France during the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1700 there were nearly one million Catholics, most of them concentrated in the Cochin China region in the south. The 18th century was a time of indiscriminate persecution of Catholic missionaries and converts, and their numbers declined significantly. After France established firm control of Vietnam in the 1880s the Catholic Church found itself strongly supported by the government. By the end of the French period there were approximately two million Catholics in the country, with almost half of them in the North. When the communist regime gained control in the North, most of the Catholics fled South.[1]

Time period: 1582-present.
Records may exist for the following denominations:

  • Catholic 1582-
  • Lutheran and Reformed 1900-
  • Methodist 1915-
  • Presbyterian 1925-

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 Vietnam.
b. Click on Places within Vietnam 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 or Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

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 Vietnam is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of Bishops in Vietnam who are in communion with the Pope in Rome. Vietnam has the fifth largest Catholic population in Asia, after the Philippines, India, China and Indonesia. According to Catholic Hierarchy Catalog, there are 6,332,700 Catholics in Vietnam, representing 7.0% of the total population. There are 27 dioceses (including three archdioceses) with 2,228 parishes and 2,668 priests.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Vietnam,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Vietnam", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Vietnam, accessed 1 April 2020.