Lesotho Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The population of Lesotho is estimated to be more than 95 percent Christian. Protestants account for 50 percent of the population, (Evangelicals 17.5 percent, Anglicans 7.5 percent, Pentecostals 21.9 percent and other Christians an additional 8.5 percent). Roman Catholics represent nearly 40 percent of the population, served by the province of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Maseru and his three suffragans (the bishops of Leribe, Mohale's Hoek and Qacha's Nek), who also form the national episcopal conference. Non-Christian religions represent only 1.5% of the population, and those of no religion 3.5%. [1][2]

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 Lesotho.
b. Click on Places within Lesotho 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.

Anglican Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Anglican Diocese of Lesotho was founded as its own independent diocese in 1950. Lesotho had originally been considered part of the Diocese of Free State. The First Bishop was The Right Reverend John Maund. Bishop Maund served as Bishop for over 25 years, including the independence of Lesotho from Great Britain in 1966. Bishop Maund retired in 1976, and was succeeded by The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, who would later move on to become the Archbishop of Cape Town. Bishop Tutu served as Bishop for 2 years before leaving to take the position of Secretary-General of the South African Council of Churches.

The Right Reverend Philip Mokuku presided as Bishop after Bishop Tutu's departure in 1978. Bishop Mokuku held the position for 19 years. His tenure in the office saw the height of the Apartheid regime in neighbouring South Africa. Lesotho played a vital role in the eventual collapse of the Apartheid Government. The country and Diocese were a safe haven for many political refugees from South Africa during this time period. Bishop Mokuku retired in 1997. Following Bishop Mokuku's retirement, The Right Reverend Andrew Duma was Bishop for 2 years, 1997-1999. He was followed by The Right Reverend Joseph Tsubella from 1999 until 2006.

The office of the Bishop was vacant from the time Bishop Tsubella left office until Bishop Adam was elected in 2008. The Right Reverend Adam Taaso was consecrated as Bishop on the 19th of October, 2008. Bishop Adam is the current Bishop of Lesotho.

The Diocese is a member of the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL). CCL is an association of the Christian denominations in Lesotho that helped to stabilize the country and return it to democratic elections in 2008. CCL was instrumental in the peaceful elections that took place in May of 2012. [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 first Catholic mission started in 1863. It was called Motse-oa-'M'a-Jesu, and led by Bishop Allard. He invited Holy Family Sisters from France to work with Sotho women. [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]

Total Church Membership: 1,179. Congregations: 6.

Scattered Church families from the United States lived in Lesotho during the 1980s. In July 1988, at a meeting attended by 15 people, the Maseru Branch (a small congregation) was organized at the home of expatriates. The Church was registered in July 1989 and the first missionaries entered in September. As the branch grew, facilities were rented in a local school. Later a home was purchased to be remodeled into a church building.

A seminary program for young people aged 14-18 functioned in the country as early as 1991. The first full-time young missionary from Lesotho began serving in the Durban mission in 1993.


Evangelical Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA, Sotho: Kereke ea Evangeli Lesotho e Boroa ho Afrika) is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Africa, established in 1833 by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. They received the support of the local king, and under its protection the church developed. The first mission station was in Morija. In 1868 Lesotho became a British protectorate. In 1898 a Synod was opened, while in 1964 the church gained independence.

The Lesotho Evangelical Church has 340,500 members, 112 parishes and hundred house fellowships. [6]

Pentecostal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Assemblies of God Lesotho was established in 1909 in Makoabating at Mount Tabor, in 1910 the first Old Church was constructed and later the Mission House was built in 1917. The Church is found all over the country even in the remote places of Lesotho. Through the assistance from our Missionaries from Switzerland and USA the church has established schools, Health Centres and Bible College to advance the mission of the church to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.

The overall government of the church is the General Council which sits one in every 2 years to elect the leadership of the church (Executive Committee) other structures are the districts Councils which have their own autonomy in running their respective district affairs. Currently we have 5 Districts, namely Maseru District Council, Mafeteng District Council, Northern District council, Southern District council and Mountain District Council

The overall number of churches of Assemblies of God Lesotho is 130 country wide and about 120 ministers. [7]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Lesotho", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesotho, accessed 13 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Lesotho", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Lesotho, accessed 13 March 2020.
  3. "History of The Diocese of Lesotho", https://lesotho.tacosa.org/About%20Us/history-of-diocese.html, accessed 13 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion_in_Lesotho", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Lesotho, accessed 13 March 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Lesotho, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Lesotho, accessed 6 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesotho_Evangelical_Church_in_Southern_Africa, accessed 13 March 2020.
  7. '"Assemblies of God: Beginnings", https://ccl.org.ls/hoc/aog/, accessed 13 March 2020.