Kenya Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The predominant religion of Kenya is Christianity; roughly 80% of the total population are Christians. The Christian denominations found in Kenya include: Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Reformed, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, and Pentecostal [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 Kenya.
b. Click on Places within Kenya 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 Anglican Church of Kenya is a province of the Anglican Communion, and it is composed by 37 dioceses. The church was founded as the diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania) in 1884. However, Protestant missionary activity had been present in the area since 1844, when Johann Ludwig Krapf, a Lutheran missionary, landed in Mombasa. Mass conversions of Africans began as early as 1910.[2]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Baptist Convention of Kenya is a Baptist Christian denomination in Kenya. It is affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance. The headquarters is in Nairobi. The Convention has its origins in a mission of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1956 in Nairobi. In 1971, the Baptist Convention of Kenya was formally founded. In 2015, it has 3,252 churches with 600,000 members.[3] Website

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 earliest traces of the Catholic Church in Kenya begin with the missionaries that penetrated the state in 1498, led by Vasco da Gama. Due to regional conflict, poor transportation, and a largely nomadic presence, it became more established in northern Kenya during the twentieth century. [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]

American USAID employees and families serving in Kenya in the 1970s held Church services in their own homes. The first African converts in Kenya were baptized in 1979. In 1981 two branches (small congregations) were created in Nairobi and Kiboko. The Church received official recognition in 1991, and that same year missionary headquarters were established in Nairobi. By 1994 four districts, with several branches each, had been created and large congregations attended many of the meetings. The first meetinghouse was completed in July 1994 for the Longata Branch in Nairobi. The Nairobi Kenya Stake was organized on 9 September 2001, the first stake in Kenya. Total Church Membership: 14,143. Congregations: 48.[5]

Dutch Reformed Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Reformed Church of East Africa was founded in 1944 when the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa started mission work in Eldoret Kenya. This work was overtaken by the missionaries came from the Netherlands Reformed Church. The church accepted the Three Forms of Unity. When the Dutch missionaries left, they left behind a Kenyan Reformed church. At the time it has more than 600 congregations and 110,000 members. The denomination has a theological seminary in Eldoret, The Reformed Institute For Theological Training (RITT). RITT offers courses in Theology. The church become autonomous in 1963. There are more than 110,000 adherents.[6]

Eastern Orthodox Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Holy Archdiocese of Kenya is a diocese in eastern Africa under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Prior to its formation in 2001, the archdiocese was part of the Archdiocese of Irinoupolis.

Today, the Orthodox community of Kenya is the most numerous on the African continent, and consists of about a million parishioners out of an overall population of 35 million in the country. The Kenyan Archdiocese of the Alexandrian Patriarchate has about 200 churches, dozens of church parochial schools and a seminary in Riruta. Orthodoxy entered Kenya in the 1940s.[7] The first archdiocese was established in 1959.[8][9]

Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK) was born out of the missionary work of the Swedish Lutheran Mission in 1948 under the name Swedish Lutheran Mission (SLM). In 1963, the name of the church was changed and registered as the Lutheran Church of Kenya (LCK). In 1973, the name was changed again to ELCK with three districts, namely North District, Kisii District, and Nyanza District.[10]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

According to the Deed of Foundation, Methodist Church in Kenya grew out of the United Methodist Free Churches, whose Missionary Committee in 1860 agreed to send a mission to East Africa and whose missionaries first reached Mombasa in 1862. In 1907 the United Methodist Free Churches became part of the United Methodist Church, which in 1932 became part of the Methodist Church. In 1967 Methodist Church in Kenya became autonomous from the British Methodist Church.[11]

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]

  • 1910s-1920s: In 1912, the first pentecostal missionary arrives from Finland. In 1918, North Americans establish a mission that later affiliates with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. The churches resulting from this mission become independent in 1965 and are renamed the Pentecostal Assemblies of God. By 2002, East Africa is home to some 5,000 of these churches.
  • 1930s: The East African Revival, which began in Rwanda, reaches Kenya by 1937, drawing many Protestants toward evangelical and charismatic Christianity.
  • 1940s-1950s: In 1942, a pentecostal evangelist founds the African Israel Church Nineveh after breaking with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Two significant pentecostal denominations emerge, the Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Africa, started by U.S. missionaries in 1944, and the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya, started by Finnish missionaries in 1949.
  • 1960s-1970s: After independence in 1963, indigenous churches grow rapidly and many foreign missionaries arrive. In 1967, American pentecostal Dale Brown founds the Kenya Assemblies of God, which joins with the Assemblies of God U.S in 1972. A survey in the early *1990s finds that the Assemblies of God is Nairobi’s fastest growing denomination, with an annual growth rate of 38%. In 1970, Joe Kayo establishes the pentecostal Deliverance Church of Kenya, an indigenous ministry that attracts urban youth. The Deliverance Church becomes an important member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Kenya, an umbrella body formed in 1976 of mostly pentecostal and charismatic churches.
  • 1980s-present: Between 1972 and 1986, the number of pentecostal churches in Nairobi doubles. [12]

Quaker Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Quakerism entered Kenya in 1902. From there, it spread throughout Kenya.[13][14] For more information, see Religion in Kenya and Quakers in Africa.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Kenya," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Kenya, accessed 21 September 2018.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Anglican Church of Kenya," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Church_of_Kenya#History, accessed 18 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Baptist Convention of Kenya," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Convention_of_Kenya, accessed 18 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Kenya", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Kenya, accessed 18March 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Kenya, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Kenya, accessed 18 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Reformed Church of East Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformed_Church_of_East_Africa, accessed 18 March 2020.
  7. "Orthodox Christian Initiative for Africa", accessed 23 January 2019, http://grforafrica.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-orthodox-church-in-kenya-orthodox.html.
  8. Orthodox Wiki contributors, "Archdiocese of Irinoupolis," in Orthodox Wiki, https://orthodoxwiki.org/Archdiocese_of_Irinoupolis, accessed 23 January 2019.
  9. Orthodox Wiki contributors, "Archdiocese of Kenya," in Orthodox Wiki, https://orthodoxwiki.org/Archdiocese_of_Kenya, accessed 18 March 2020.
  10. Orthodox Wiki contributors, "Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya," in Orthodox Wiki, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Lutheran_Church_in_Kenya#History, accessed 18 March 2020.
  11. "About the Methodist Church", at Methodist Church Kenya, https://methodistchurchkenya.org/contact-us/, 18 March 2020.
  12. "Historical Overview of Pentecostalism in Kenya:Origins and Growth", Pew Research Center, https://www.pewforum.org/2010/08/05/historical-overview-of-pentecostalism-in-kenya/, accessed 18 March 2020.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Kenya," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Kenya, accessed 7 February 2019.
  14. Wikipedia contributors, "Quakers in Africa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers_in_Africa, accessed 7 February 2019.

References[edit | edit source]