Bahamas Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
(Redirected from Bahamas Church Records)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bahamas Wiki Topics
Flag of the Bahamas.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Bahamas Background
Local Research Resources

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

The islands' population is predominantly Christian. Protestant denominations collectively account for more than 70% of the population, with Baptists representing 35% of the population, Anglicans 15%, Pentecostals 8%, Church of God 5%, Seventh-day Adventists 5% and Methodists 4%. There is also a significant Roman Catholic community accounting for about 14%. There are also smaller communities of Jews, Muslims, Baha'is, Hindus, Rastafarians and practitioners of traditional African religions such as Obeah.[1]

The constitution of the Bahamas provides for the freedom of religion and prohibits discrimination based on belief. The country has no state religion, although the preamble to its constitution mentions "Christian values". [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 the Bahamas.
b. Click on Places within Bahamas 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 the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

National Archives[edit | edit source]

Department of Archives
P.O. Box SS-6341
Nassau, N.P.
Bahamas

Telephone: 242-393-2175, or 242-393-2855
Fax: 242- 393-2855
E-mail: archives@batelnet.bs/webmaster@bahamasnationalarchives.bs
Internet: The National Archives of the Bahamas

For details of what records are there for each denomination, consult Guide to the records of the Bahamas and Supplement to the guide to the records of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Author: Saunders, D. Gail; Carson, E. A.

Anglican Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

The Anglican Diocese and Local Parishes[edit | edit source]

Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas & The Turks and Caicos Islands
Anglican Diocesan Office
Addington House
Sands Rd.
P. O. Box N-656
Bahamas
Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

Phone: 242-322-3015
Fax: 242-322-7943

Local Parish Addresses:[edit | edit source]

  • Diocesan Church Listing: In the top menu bar, hover over then link "Diocesan Church Listing" for a drop-down menu of island locations. Click on the island where your ancestors lived and addresses for all the parishes on that island will be listed.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

  • The Anglican Church in The Bahamas can be traced to the earliest English settlements, but it was in 1729, with the arrival of the first Royal Governor, Woodes Rogers, that the Church was established by law. According to Rogers' Royal Instructions, the Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson (1723 - 1748) became technically Bishop of the Bahamas.
  • On September 6, 1734, the entire Bahamas was erected into one parish that of Christ Church. In 1768, St. John's Parish was created as a second Parish, which was made up of Harbour Island and Eleuthera....
  • The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was in those early days generous in providing missionaries and priests especially from 1733 - 1807 and from 1836 until modern times.
  • In 1824 the Diocese of Jamaica was created, and The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were incorporated in this Diocese.
  • On 4th November 1861, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were erected into a separate diocese. [3]

See, also: 150 Years as a Diocese: HISTORY OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH IN THE BAHAMAS AND THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

Baptist Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to Local Churches[edit | edit source]

For records still in possession of a local church, you may need to write to a minister. See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy. Baptist congregations can belong to a wide variety of associated groups, so there is not a central address directory. Try these links:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

It should be pointed out that the Baptist witness and work in The Bahamas did not start with British Missionaries. Earliest accounts reveal that black slaves by the names of Frank Spence in 1780, Prince Williams in 1790 and Sharper Morris were amongst the earliest pioneers. When the Baptist Missionary Society of London sent out their first missionaries around 1833, there were Baptist churches in existence in New Providence and several islands. [4]

Catholic 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 became organized in The Bahamas in the mid-19th century, and in the second part of the century American influence became even more important, so that in 1885 the islands — considered as part of the US Diocese of Charleston since 1866 — were formally included in the Archdiocese of New York. This "American connection" lasted until 1931.

According to the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia:
"Though there existed a tradition of ruins of "religious" buildings being still visible in 1803 on Cat Island (probably dating from the temporary Spanish occupation of 1781-83), there is no evidence of any Catholic priest ever having visited the Bahamas until 1845. On 13 February 1887, the first Catholic Church was dedicated under the patronage of St. Francis Xavier, by Archbishop M.A. Corrigan of New York. In October, 1889, Rev. D. P. O'Flynn came to Nassau with four Sisters of Charity who opened a free school for non-white children, and a select school. In 1893 a new mission was opened at Salvador Point, Andros Island, and in 1897, the Sacred Heart mission was opened in the eastern portion of the city of Nassau."

As of 2004, the diocese contains 30 parishes and 48,000 Catholics. Catholics make up 19% of population. Source: [5]

Church of God Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local church, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Church of God was founded in 1886.

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]

Members have been in Bahamas since 1979. Two families who were members of the Church moved to Nassau in the summer of 1979. Missionaries arrived in March 1985. Some 48 friends and members of the Church attended a conference of the first branch (a small congregation) in 1981. A new meetinghouse was dedicated in 1988, and within a few weeks the branches began to outgrow the building.[6]

Methodist Church[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local church, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Methodism reached the Caribbean (Antigua) in 1760, almost a quarter of a century later, devout Methodists (many of them former slaves) migrated from America to the Bahamas as "Loyalists". By the late 1790's, Anthony Wallace, the administrator of the early Methodists in the Bahamas, requested Dr. Thomas Coke to appoint a Minister to the Bahamas. Referring to the records of the Methodist Missionary Society in England, Colbert Williams in his book: The Methodist Contribution to "the Bahamas" states: "In 1799 the British Methodist Conference meeting in Manchester decided to station William Turton, a white Barbadian, in the Bahamas. He landed at Nassau on 22nd October, 1800." [7]

Pentecostal Churches[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local church, consult:

Seventh-day Adventists Churches[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Church[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local church, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

South and North Bahamas Conferences[edit | edit source]

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination is the fourth largest religious denomination of the Bahamas. The Adventist work started in 1893 when a missionary came to our shores and was officially organized in 1911. However, some form of organization started as early as 1908.

The field was first called The Bahamas Mission of Seventh-day Adventists (then Conference) because the field included all the islands of the Bahamas.

However, in 2003, after much growth, the field was divided in two, to include the North Bahamas Conference (Abaco, Grand Bahamas, Bimini and Berry Islands) and the South Bahamas Conference, to include New Providence and the remaining islands in the central and south Bahamas.[8]

Turks and Caicos Conference[edit | edit source]

The first group of Sabbath Keepers was discovered worshiping on the Island of Grand Turk in 1906 by a colporteur from Jamaica named Phillip Porter. Forty years later another colporteur, Clyde Nebblett, and his wife came to Grand Turk and furthered the work on the Island. They organized the first Sabbath School in their home in 1945. Pastor Gordon Prenier later came to the island of Grand Turk and purchased a warehouse on Front Street, which he converted into the first Church. During his time, Pastor Robert H. Pierson visited the island and conducted the first tent crusade. Pastor Pierson later became president of the General Conference Seventh-day Adventist.

The work in the Turks and Caicos Islands was supervised by the East Jamaica Conference until in 1965 when the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission was organized with Pastor V.O. Brown as its first president. The mission then consisted of one church in Grand Turk, one in Kew, North Caicos and one in Blue Hills, Providenciales; a total membership of 47.[9]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "The Bahamas", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bahamas, accessed 20 February 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in the Bahamas", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_The_Bahamas, accessed 20 February 2020.
  3. The Right Reverend Gilbert A. Thompson, "Diocesan History", Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, https://www.bahtcianglican.org/history, accessed 20 Febryary 2020.
  4. Bahamas Baptist Union of Churches: The History, https://www.bahamasbaptistunion.org/the-history/, accessed 20 February 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in the Bahamas", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_the_Bahamas, accessed 20 February 2020.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Bahamas", https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/bahamas, accessed 20 February 2020.
  7. The Bahamas Conference of the Methodist Church, "History", http://www.bahamasmethodist.org/index.php?p=history. accessed 20 February 2020.
  8. South Bahamas Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 'The History of the Adventist Church in The Bahamas', https://www.southbahamasconference.org/history.php, accessed 20 February 2020.
  9. Turks and Caicos Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, "History", http://turksandcaicosconference.org/about/, accessed 20 February 2020.