Zambia Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Zambia is a "Christian country" by constitution. Christianity is the official religion in Zambia according to the 1996 constitution, and the vast majority of Zambians i.e 96% are Christians of various denominations, but many other religious traditions are present. Christianity is believed to have arrived in Zambia in the form of European Protestant missionaries and African explorers during the mid of 19th century. Zambia is officially a Christian nation according to the 1996 constitution, but a wide variety of religious traditions exist. Christian denominations include: Presbyterianism, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal, New Apostolic Church, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Branhamism, and a variety of Evangelical denominations. These grew, adjusted and prospered from the original missionary settlements (Portuguese and Catholicism in the east from Mozambique) and Anglicanism (English and Scottish influences) from the south.[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 Zambia.
b. Click on Places within Zambia 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.

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Anglican missionary to the area arrived in 1861, although the first Anglican mission was not established until 1911. Anglicanism has a smaller influence in Zambia compared to other African nations. [3][4]

Branhamite Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Branhamism was developed by William M. Branham in the mid-1900s. Branham was a minister, faith healer, and follower of Pentecostalism who initiated a healing revival in the 1940s. His campaigns led him throughout the United States and the world. In 1952, he held a revival meeting in South Africa. After his death, the followers of Branham continued to establish and expand missions on every continent. By 2000, there were growing missions throughout Africa.[5]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Catholic church records are available on the FamilySearch Catalog for Lusaka, Zambia. The records (baptism, marriage, death, and First Communion registers and confirmations) are available from 1953 to 2016.

Lusaka

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]

Roman Catholicism reached Zambia in 1879 by Jesuit missionaries. Jesuit missions were then established in Zambia throughout the next few decades. In the 1900s, two archdioceses, Kasama and Lusaka, were created.[6][7]

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]

Total Church Membership: 4,428. Congregations: 13.

In 1991 President Vern Marble of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission went to Zambia to search for a couple who had been baptized in England, Johnson Makombe and his wife, Noria. With the help of a taxi driver he found them, and missionary work was begun. The Church was formally registered in July 1992, and that same month a branch (a small congregation) was organized in Lusaka, with a membership of about 50. By the end of 1992 there were about 100 members, and by the end of 1997 the membership had grown to more than 500. To accommodate this increase in membership, a second branch was established in Libala. The first Church building was dedicated in Lusaka in 1998. [8]

Dutch Reformed Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Dutch Reformed Church reached South Africa at the end of the 19th century and soon after entered Zambia. The first congregation was established in Lusaka and expanded rapidly.[9]

Evangelical Records[edit | edit source]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

In 1945 the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod agreed to send two missionary pastors on an exploratory journey to investigate possibilities in Africa. In 1953 the first station began in Lusaka the capital city of Zambia at Munali secondary school. In 1954 the first worship services were held at Lumano village where the Central Africa Medical Mission was established. Four years later, in 1957, the Lutheran Church of Central Africa (LCCA) had 18 preaching stations, one organized congregation and an average weekly attendance of over 1,000 people. In 1960 plans for the building of the Bible Institute were began in Lusaka. When the church began, it was registered as “Rhodesian Lutheran Church” but later on the name changed to “Lutheran Church of Central Africa.” This was in 1962.[10]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The African Methodist Episcopal Church came to Central Africa in the late 1800s and was officially established by the General Conference of 1888. Those who played a significant role in the growth and development of the church include the Rev. W. J. L. Membe who was instrumental in planning the church all over Zambia (formerly northern Rhodesia).[11]

New Apostolic Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Presbyterianism entered Zambia in the late-1800s through the work of the Church of Scotland. The first presbytery in Zambia was formed in 1899. Other missions and congregations were then established in Zambia. The Synod of Zambia, one of five synods of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, was created in 1984.[12][13]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Zambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zambia, accessed 19 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zambia, accessed 19 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Church of the Province of Central Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_Province_of_Central_Africa, accessed 7 February 2019.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Christianity in Zambia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Zambia, accessed 7 February 2019.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "William M. Branham," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Branham, accessed 7 February 2019.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Zambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Zambia, accessed 14 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Zambia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church__in_Zambia, accessed 14 March 2020.
  8. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Zambia, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Zambia, accessed 19 March 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Reformed Church in Zambia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Church_in_Zambia, accessed 7 Feb 2019.
  10. "Lutheran Church of Central Africa—Zambia Synod", https://celc.info/membership/member-churches/lutheran-church-of-central-africa-zambia/, accessed 19 March 2020.
  11. "Central Africa, African Methodist Episcopal", at World Methodist Council, https://worldmethodistcouncil.org/member-churches/name/central-africa-african-methodist-episcopal/, accessed 19 March 2020.
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "Church of Central Africa Presbyterian," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Central_Africa_Presbyterian, accessed 7 February 2019.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Church of Central Africa Presbyterian – Synod of Zambia," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Central_Africa_Presbyterian_%E2%80%93_Synod_of_Zambia, accessed 7 February 2019.