Guinea-Bissau Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity arrived in Guinea-Bissau with Portuguese traders and missionaries in the 15th century, but only in its coastal regions.[4] Active missionary efforts started only in the 20th century, and in 1977 it became a diocese of the Holy See. Protestant missions arrived in Guinea-Bissau in 1939, and Evangelical Churches have been active through the second half of the 20th century. According to the 2009 and 1991 censuses of Guinea-Bissau, the practice of Christianity has grown from 15% in 1991 to 22.1% of the total population in 2009; however, Christianity remains concentrated in the coastal regions of the country. Despite the majority of Christian community in Guinea-Bissau belongs to Roman Catholicism recent years there is a significant increase in Protestants and Evangelicals, especially between animist population, cause of their missionary work.[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 Guinea-Bissau.
b. Click on Places within Guinea-Bissau 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 Portiguese Letter-writing Guide.

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

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 Guinea-Bissau is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are about 202,400 Catholics in Guinea-Bissau, or just over 10% of the total population. There are two dioceses: Bafatá and Bissau.[2]

Evangelical Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Testemunhas de Jeova
Rua Djassi, Bissau

Phone: +55 97 98408-2792

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Guinea-Bissau", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 24 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Guinea-Bissau", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 24 March 2020.