Samoa Church Records

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Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Religion in Samoa encompasses a range of groups, but 98% of the population of Samoa is Christian. The following is a distribution of Christian groups as of 2011 (the most recent census available): Congregational Christian (32 percent), Roman Catholic (19 percent), LDS (15 percent), Methodist (14 percent), Assemblies of God (8 percent) and Seventh-day Adventist (4 percent). Groups together constituting less than 5 percent of the population include Jehovah's Witnesses, Congregational Church of Jesus, Nazarene, nondenominational Protestant, Baptist, Worship Centre, Peace Chapel, Samoa Evangelism, Elim Church, and Anglican. [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 Samoa.
b. Click on Places within Samoa 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]

Assembly of God Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Baptist 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 Samoa is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, which, inspired by the life, death and teachings of Jesus Christ, and under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and Roman curia in the Vatican City (within Rome) is the largest Christian church in the world. Catholic missionaries arrived in Samoa in 1845 and today Catholics account for around 20% of the overall population. A 2002 census revealed that out of 176,848 Samoans, 24,754 of them were Catholics.The population of Samoa is about 99% Christian. According to the CIA World Fact Book, in the 2001 census, Catholics accounted for 19.6% of the population, being the second largest Christian denomination after Congregationalist at 34.8%.[2]

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 May 1843, thirteen years after the Church was organized in the United States, four men were sent to be missionaries in the islands of the Pacific. In 1863, two missionaries from Hawaii were sent to Samoa to establish the Church there. The mission was formally organized on 17 June 1888. By 1891 the mission in Samoa, with headquarters near Apia, was developing steadily. From 1896, members began to join in greater numbers. Missionaries helped educate youths in small chapel schools.

Missionaries were recalled in 1940 prior to World War II because of troubled conditions, and this became a good opportunity for the local members to assume more leadership. After the war, the work quickened considerably. By 1950, membership had grown to more than 7,000 and by 1961, to more than 16,000. By 1974, the country had six stakes (dioceses) and became the first country of the world to be entirely covered by stakes. Six new stakes were created in Samoa from 1994-96. [3]

Congregational Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Congregational Christian Church in Samoa (CCCS) was established by the London Missionary Society in 1830. The arrival of the LMS missionary John Williams played an especially important role in the birth of the denomination, accompanied by missionaries from Tahiti, the Cook Islands and Tonga. Substantial institutions and village churches were established. The church grew rapidly. The church adopted its own constitution in 1928. It was called LMS - Ekalesia Samoa until 1962, when it took the current name. In 1980, the American Samoa District left the CCCS, and established the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa. The church has over 75,000 members and 327 congregations and 300 house fellowships in Samoa alone.[4]<ref>

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Nazarene Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Other Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Samoa", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Samoa, accessed 1 April 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Samoa", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Samoa, accessed 1 April 2020.
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Samoa, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/Samoa, accessed 9 April 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Congregational Christian Church in Samoa", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congregational_Christian_Church_in_Samoa, accessed 10 April 2020.