Fiji Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the 2007 census, 64.4% of the population at the time was Christian, while 27.9% was Hindu, 6.3% Muslim, 0.8% non-religious, 0.3% Sikh, and the remaining 0.3% belonged to other religions. Among Christians, 54% were counted as Methodist, followed by 14.2% Catholic, 8.9% Assemblies of God, 6.0% Seventh-day Adventist, 1.2% Anglican with the remaining 16.1% belonging to other denominations.

The largest Christian denomination is the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma. With 34.6% of the population (including almost two-thirds of ethnic Fijians), the proportion of the population adhering to Methodism is higher in Fiji than in any other nation. Roman Catholics in Fiji are headed by the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Suva.

Furthermore, the Assemblies of God and the Seventh-day Adventists are significantly represented. Fiji is the base for the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia (part of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia).These and other denominations have small numbers of Indo-Fijian members; Christians of all kinds comprised 6.1% of the Indo-Fijian population in the 1996 census. Hindus in Fiji mostly belong to the Sanatan sect (74.3% of all Hindus) or else are unspecified (22%). Muslims in Fiji are mostly Sunni (96.4%).

[1]

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 Fiji.
b. Click on Places within Fiji 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.

A partial listing of current churches in Fiji and Fijian churches outside of Fiji can be found at Across.co.nz, Fiji Churches.

Anglican Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Anglican Diocese of Polynesia
PO Box 35
Suva, Fiji Islands

Telephone: Office 00 679 330 4716
Fax: 00679 330 2687

Assembly of God Church Records [edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Calvary Temple
85 Robertson Road
Suva, Fiji

  • Telephone: (+679) 3312644
  • Email: agfiji@connect.com.fj
  • Website


Kinoya Assembly of God
Bauvudi Place
Velau Drive
Kinoya, Nasinu
Fiji

  • Phone : + 679 334 0048
  • Email : info@kinoyaassembly.org
  • Mail: GPO Box 13599, Suva, FIJI
  • Website

Includes members at Kinoya, Kalabo, Waila 3A, Baulevu, Muaniweni, and Maqere

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

World Missions for the AOG started around 1919. Fijis first missionaries were probably Albery and Lou Page, who arrived in Fiji, in late May 1913. This was followed by the Heeterbys around 1926. Mr. Maynard Ketcham chaired the meeting in 1959 to organize the Assemblies of God in Fiji.[2]

Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Parish registers are kept within the local parishes. 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]

Catholic missionaries first arrived in Fiji un 1844 at Levula. Two new missions were established in 1851 at M'Ba and Rewa on the big island of Viti Levu, and a third on Vanua Levu. The early missions failed as missionaries had to be withdrawn due to ill health, and in 1855, efforts were abandoned except for the mission at Lrvula. At this point, a legendary missionary Père Bréhéret built a boat and began sailing from island to island to preach the gospel. Very slowly, the mission began to make progress. In 1860, the first Catholic school was built. In 1863, Fiji was made a Prefecture, with 6,000 converts. Missions were now centered at Levula, Solevu, and Rewa.[3]

On 5 May 1887, the vicariate was established and entrusted to the Marist fathers. The statistics for the vicariate showed in the early 20th century, for about 250 islands: 30 priests (Marist Fathers), tending 18 central stations and 273 villages; 11 Little Brothers of Mary (Marist Brothers), in charge of a boarding and day school at Suva, a seminary and college at Cawaci and an English school for natives at Rewa; 24 European and 31 native Sisters of the Third Order of Mary (with 14 houses; novitiate at Solevu), conducting the majority of schools for girls; 8 sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny (2 houses), conducting the parochial school at Suva; 10 Sisters of the Holy Name of Mary (Marist Sisters), in charge of the school and orphanage at Levuka, a school at Ba, and assist the Marist brothers in the seminary and college at Cawaci; 12 native brothers (novitiate at Loretto) in 4 communities. The English college at Cawaci for the training of catechists and the children of the chiefs had 42 catechists, 80 boys and 12 girls. In the central stations the Marist brothers and sisters taught reading, writing etc., as well as religion, to 500 boys and 450 girls, while in the villages 315 catechists give elementary instruction to about 2000 children. The churches and chapels numbered 65, and the total -minoritarian- Catholic population about 12,000 (300 Europeans). A station for lepers was conducted on Makogai Island by one Marist father and two sisters of the Third Order of Mary. In 1966 it was promoted as Metropolitan Archdiocese of Suva, which has three suffragans on other island states: Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Tarawa (Kiribati) and Nauru (both last-named states are independent).[4]

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]

In the 1950s, Latter-day Saint Tongan and Samoan families, including Cecil B. Smith and Mele Vea Ashley and their families, held Church meetings in Suva, Fiji. When the first missionaries, Elders Boyd L. Harris and Sheldon L. Abbott, arrived, they began working with this group and organized the Suva Branch (a small congregation) on 5 September 1954.

Work proceeded slowly. Missionaries were limited by the multiple languages spoken in Fiji and by restrictions of only two missionary visas at a time. In January 1955, President David O. McKay had an airplane layover in Suva, and he met the missionaries and attended services at the Smith home. Twenty-eight people attended that day. President McKay urged missionaries to proceed and to purchase property for a building. The Church building that was later constructed was a nearly normal-sized stake (diocese) center, anticipating great future growth.

Fiji was placed in the Tongan mission on 15 January 1958, and 93 people attended the conference that day. Later in 1958, 300 attended dedicatory services for the new building. About that time, the quota of missionaries was increased by six. Gideon Dolo was the first Fijian to serve a mission, leaving in February 1959.

Growth continued in the 1960s. In 1966, 150 attended district conferences in Suva. Three years later, the attendance at conference reached 500, and the district was divided. The Fiji Mission was created 23 July 1971. In 1972, mission president Eb L. Davis expanded the mission into several new areas. By 1972, the building was filled with Fijians, Indians, Rotumans, Tongans, Samoans, New Zealanders, Australians, Europeans, and Americans.

Educational efforts were also strengthened in Fiji. In 1969, a Church school was held in the building, and by 1973 it had more than 100 students. In 1975, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Fiji Technical College was opened. By 1984, 372 students were enrolled.

The Suva Fiji Stake was organized 12 June 1983, with Inosi Naga as president. The Suva Fiji Temple was dedicated on 18 June 2000. [5]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Fiji National Archives[edit | edit source]

National Archives of Fiji
25 Carnovan Street
Box 2125
Government Buildings
Suva, Fiji

Tel: 3304144
Fax: 3307006


Research experience of Carole Riley: "The Wesleyan Methodist Church is the oldest established church in Fiji, with the first missionaries arriving in 1835, and has the largest membership today. I reasoned that if the only religious presence is Wesleyan and you want your baby baptised then you will have him baptised by a Wesleyan. A phone call to the Church told me that the archives have all been transferred to the National Archives of Fiji. A catalogue of holdings for the Methodist Church in the National Archives told me that permission from the Church is required to look at most of the records. So that will be a job for next time. There is, however, a bound photocopy of the first Wesleyan registers of baptisms and marriages in the Reading Room of the National Archives of Fiji." [6]

Official Website of the Methodist Church in Fiji[edit | edit source]

Contact the church to ask for permission to search the records at the National Archives.

Methodist Church In Fiji and Rotuma
Epworth House
Corner of Stewart and Nina Streets
Suva, Fiji

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity was introduced into Fiji in 1830 by three Tahitian teachers from the London Missionary Society. The Australian-based Wesleyan Missionary Society began work in Lakeba in the Lau Islands on 12 October 1835 under David Cargill and William Cross, along with some Tongans. The conversion of many prominent chiefs, including Seru Epenisa Cakobau, in 1854, led to the conversion of much of the population.

Large-scale Indian immigration to Fiji began in 1879, and the Indian Mission began in 1892.

In 1964 the Methodist Church in Fiji became an independent entity.

Along with the chiefly system and the Fijian government, the Methodist Church forms a key part of Fiji's social power structure. [7]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]


Fiji Mission of Seventh-day Adventist Church
37 Queens Road
Lami, Fiji

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Adventist contact in Fiji was the arrival of the ship the "Pitcairn" in 1891. The Pitcairn missionaries began to conduct meetings for the Fijians. Two of the missionaries, John and Hannah Tay remained in Suva while the others journeyed to neighboring islands to canvass books to the Fijians.

In 1895 Pastor John Cole and his wife, Fanny, transferred to Suva, as did Pastor John Fulton and his family. The Fulton family settled with the Coles in Tamavua, north of Suva. Cole went to America to commission funds for a printing press and the funding for another missionary couple. Calvin and Myrtle Parker were chosen, and sailed to Fiji. In 1898 the Parker's moved to the village of Suva Vou. Their first converts were the chief of the village and his wife, who were baptized.

In 1910, Alipati and his wife, Eseta (one of Pauliasi's daughters), helped start a second church on Vanua Levu. By 1912 all the larger islands of Fiji and many smaller ones had heard of the Adventist message.

By 1915 there were over two hundred Seventh-Day Adventists in Fiji. These people's conversions were the result of the hardworking missionaries who paved the way for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fiji.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

</references>

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Fiji", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiji, accessed 20 February 2020.
  2. AOG Fiji, "Assemblies of God in Fiji", https://www.agfiji.org/history, accessed 22 February 2020.
  3. Charlotte M. Kelly, "The Catholic Church in Fiji, 1844-1944", in "Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review Vol. 34, No. 135 (Sep., 1945), pp. 361-368 (8 pages)", at JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/30099594?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents, accessed 22 February 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Apostolic Vicariate of Fiji", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_Vicariate_of_Fiji, accessed 20 February 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Fiji, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/fiji, accessed 20 February 2020.
  6. , Carole Riley, "Genealogy research in Fiji", in "Heritage Genealogy", 11 March 2014, https://heritagegenealogy.com.au/genealogy-research-in-fiji/, accessed 22 February 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodist_Church_of_Fiji_and_Rotuma, accessed 22 February 2020.
  8. "Adventist History in Fiji", Fiji Mission: Seventh-day Advent Church, https://www.adventist.org.fj/adventist-history-in-fiji, accessed 22 February 2020.