Kingdom of Eswatini Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christianity is the dominant religion in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). The relative prevalence percentage vary by source. According to Pew Research, over 88% of the total 1.2 million population of Eswatini express Christianity to be their faith, over 0.2% express no affiliation. According to the CIA world fact book, the distribution is 40% Zionist, 20% Roman Catholic, Muslim 10.2%, other (including Anglican... Methodist) 3.0%. Anglican, Protestant and indigenous African churches including African Zionist, and Roman Catholics constitute the majority of the Christians in the country.[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 Swaziland.
b. Click on Places within Swaziland 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 Diocese of Eswatini is a diocese in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. It was founded in 1968. It comprises the country of Eswatini. It is divided in three archdeaconries, Eastern Eswatini, Southern Eswatini and Western Eswatini. The Anglican Diocese of Eswatini was created in 1968, shortly after the independence of Swaziland and had Anthony Hunter as their first bishop, from 1968 to 1975.[2]

African Zionist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

African Zionism, (also "amaZioni" from Zulu "people of Zion") is a religious movement with 15–18 million members throughout Southern Africa, making it the largest religious movement in the region. Zionism is the predominant religion of Swaziland (Eswatini) and forty percent of Swazis consider themselves Zionist.[3]

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 Eswatini is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are approximately 60,000 Catholics in Eswatini – around 5% of the total population. The country forms a single diocese – the Diocese of Manzini. The Catholic Church began in Eswatini in 1913 with the arrival of Servite missionaries who began work in Mbabane. [4]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Shiselweni Region was one of the first areas in Swaziland to embrace Christianity when the first missionaries, the Methodist Wesleyan Mission, settled in the area in 1844. The Reverend J. Allison also built a school at Sankolweni, believed to be the first in Swaziland that was later moved to Mahamba where it remains today. In 1845 the first mission was built at Mahamba, approximately 30km east of Piet Retief, on the border between South Africa and Swaziland. In 1847 one of the Swazi tribes had to flee before King Mswati I who wanted to punish them for something they did wrong. They arrived at the mission to hide from the soldiers, but when the King’s soldiers arrived, the missionaries came under the impression that they were also going to be punished. Together, with about a thousand Swazis, the missionaries fled across the border. This is where Mahamba (“those that flee”) got its name from. It was only in 1880 that missionaries returned to Swaziland to continue with the spreading of the gospel in this country.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in ESwatini", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, , accessed 23 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in ESwatini", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 23 March 2020; also Wikipedia: "Diocese of Swaziland",, accessed 9 December 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "African Zionism", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 23 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in ESwatini", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 23 March 2020; also Wikipedia: "Diocese of Swaziland",, accessed 9 December 2020.
  5. A.M. Mtshali, Methodism in Swaziland, at "The Methodist Church of Southern Africa",, 23 March 2020.