Dominican Republic Church Records

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dominican Republic Wiki Topics
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Dominican Republic Background
Local Research Resources

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

Online Resources[edit | edit source]


Historical Background[edit | edit source]

As of 2014, 57% of the population (5.7 million) identified themselves as Roman Catholics and 23% (2.3 million) as Protestants (in Latin American countries, Protestants are often called Evangelicos because they emphasize personal and public evangelising and many are Evangelical Protestant or of a Pentecostal group). From 1896 to 1907, missionaries from the Episcopal, Free Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist and Moravians churches began work in the Dominican Republic. Three percent of the 10.63 million Dominican Republic population are Seventh-day Adventists. Recent immigration as well as proselytizing efforts have brought in other religious groups, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1.1%. The Dominican Republic has historically granted extensive religious freedom. [1]

Protestant denominations active in the Dominican Republic now include:

  • Assembly of God
  • Church of God
  • Baptist
  • Pentecostal
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • Church of the Brethren[2]


Protestants first came as migrants from North America in the 1820s. West Indian laborers added to their numbers in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. By the 1920s, the various Protestant groups had organized nationally and had established links with North American Evangelical groups. Protestant groups expanded, mainly in the rural areas, during the 1960s and the 1970s. With minor exceptions, relations between Protestants and the Roman Catholic majority were cordial.[3]

Protestantism did not enter the Dominican Republic until 1822 through missionaries from the Methodist Church of England in Puerto Plata. The African Methodist Episcopal Church arrived in 1824 with several thousand former slaves from the US lured by the promise of freedom and good, arable land to work. The Dominican Episcopal Church entered in 1896 and the Moravians in 1907, followed by the Free Methodists and the Adventists in 1908.

The reason for Protestantism‟s late arrival in the Dominican Republic is the simple fact that the Dominican Republic was under either Spanish or French rule until Juan Pablo Duarte led a movement for independence in 1844. The United Methodist, the Presbyterian USA, the British Methodist, and the Moravian churches formed the Dominican Evangelical Church in 1922. Pentecostalism — an American movement that started in California at the turn of the 20th century — was briefly present in 1918 but was truly established in 1930 in the Dominican Republic with the Assemblies of God. Since the 1970s, Pentecostalism has caused an explosion of denominations. The largest denomination (after the Catholic Church) in the country is Assemblies of God, which arrived in 1940. [4]

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 Dominican Republic.
b. Click on Places within Dominican Republic 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 Spanish Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Benjamin Isaac Wilson, a teacher of the Christian faith, brought Anglicanism to the Dominican Republic in 1897, when he immigrated from the Virgin Islands. Wilson was ordained a priest the following year by James Theodore Holly, bishop of the Independent Haitian Episcopal Church. The American Episcopal Church began missionary work in the Dominican Republic when the country was occupied by the United States Marine Corps. William Wyllie, who arrived in 1918, and Archibald Beer, who arrived in 1920, were the first missionaries.[5]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Pentecostalism — an American movement that started in California at the turn of the 20th century — was briefly present in 1918, but was truly established in 1930 in the Dominican Republic with the Assemblies of God. Since the 1970s, Pentecostalism has caused an explosion of denominations. The largest denomination (after the Catholic Church) in the country is Assemblies of God, which arrived in 1940. [6]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Protestant churches, arrived first in 1824 to the Dominican Republic. These churches include Presbyterians, Conservative Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, and Moravians, among others.[7]

Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online 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]

Within the Dominican Republic the hierarchy consists of:

  • Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros
    • Diocese of La Vega
    • Diocese of Mao-Monte Cristi
    • Diocese of Puerto Plata
    • Diocese of San Francisco de Macorís
  • Archdiocese of Santo Domingo
    • Diocese of Baní
    • Diocese of Barahona
    • Diocese of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia in Higüey
    • Diocese of San Juan de la Maguana
    • Diocese of San Pedro de Macorís
  • Military Ordinariate of the Dominican Republic


More than 90 percent of Dominicans were professed Roman Catholics. In the late 1980s, the church organization included 1 archdiocese, 8 dioceses, and 250 parishes. There were over 500 clergy, more than 70 percent of whom belonged to religious orders. Roman Catholicism is the official religion of the Dominican Republic, established by a Concordat with the Vatican. [8]

Church of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]



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]

The first Dominican members were converted while living in the United States. They returned to the Dominican Republic in 1978, and missionaries arrived the same year. In one year, more than 350 converts joined the Church. Total Church Membership: 138,539. Congregations: 195 [9]

Evangelical Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic
Apdo. Postal 727, Calle Rosa Duarte 41A
Santo Domingo
Republica Dominicana

Work Phone: 809 682 4945
Work Fax: 809 689 4088
Work Email: ied@codetel.net.do

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic was founded in 1922 as an ecumenical project by three denominations from the United States: the Methodist Episcopal Church, the United Brethren (both now the United Methodist Church), and the Presbyterian Church (USA). Previously in 1919 these three denominations created the Alliance for Christian Service in Santo Domingo. Later with 29 members the Evangelical Church was founded, and the work spread rapidly. In 1960 the church united with the Wesleyan Methodists, and in 1960 with the Moravians. By the time of the World War II it had more than 1,000 members. Today it is the second largest Protestant church in the country.[10]


Free Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

A Free Methodist layman, Samuel E. Mills, began the work in the Dominican Republic in 1889. He was the first missionary of any denomination to minister to the Spanish speaking population of the island. Seven years later he saw his first convert. The “evangelicals” were treated with contempt and some hostility for many years. Very early the need to educate converts was seen. Schools were established to assist in the training of pastors and to influence the community for Christ.[11]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]



Moravian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

See Evangelical Church Records above.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Moravians arrived in 1907.[12] In 1960, the Moravian church united with the Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republican.[13]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Pentecostalism — an American movement that started in California at the turn of the 20th century — was briefly present in 1918 but was truly established in 1930 in the Dominican Republic with the Assemblies of God. Since the 1970s, Pentecostalism has caused an explosion of denominations. The largest denomination (after the Catholic Church) in the country is Assemblies of God, which arrived in 1940. [14]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Seventh-day Adventists arrived in the Dominican Republican in 1908.[15] There are more than 334,000 Seventh-day Adventists worshiping in 1,338 churches and congregations in the Dominican Republic.[16]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Dominican Republic", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_Republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in the Dominican Republic", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Dominican_Republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  3. Richard A. Haggerty, ed. Dominican Republic: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989. http://countrystudies.us/dominican-republic/33.htm, accessed 3 March 2020.
  4. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episcopal_Diocese_of_the_Dominican_Republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  6. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  7. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  8. Richard A. Haggerty, ed. Dominican Republic: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1989. http://countrystudies.us/dominican-republic/33.htm, accessed 3 March 2020.
  9. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Dominican Republic, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/dominican-republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  10. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Church_of_the_Dominican_Republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  11. "Origins", in "FMC in the Dominican Republic", Free World Methodist Missions, https://fmwm.org/dominican-republic/, accessed 3 March 2020.
  12. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Church of the Dominican Republic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Church_of_the_Dominican_Republic, accessed 3 March 2020.
  14. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  15. Daniel F. Escher, “Religious Transformations: The Protestant Movement in the Dominican Republic,” intersections 10, no. 1 (2009): 519-570. https://depts.washington.edu/chid/intersections_Winter_2009/Daniel_F._Escher_Protestant_Movement_in_the_Dominican_Republic.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020.
  16. "Adventist Church celebrates 100 years of growth in the Dominican Republic", https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2018-02-17/adventist-church-celebrates-100-years-of-growth-in-the-dominican-republic/, accessed 3 March 2020.