Ivory Coast Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Ivory Coast is a religiously diverse country, in which adherents of Islam (mostly Sunni) represented 42.9% of the total population in 2014, while followers of Christianity (mostly Catholic and Evangelical) represented 33.9% of the population. In addition 19.1% of Ivorians claimed to be irreligious, and 3.6% reported following traditional African religions. In 2009, according to U.S. Department of State estimates, Christians and Muslims each made up 35 to 40% of the population, while an estimated 25% of the population practiced traditional (animist) religion [1]

In general, Christianity is practiced by the middle class and in urban centers of the south. It is most prevalent among the Agni and lagoon cultures of the southeast, least so among the Mandé of the northwest. Roman Catholicism is the largest Christian religion, but various Protestant groups - Methodist, Baptist, Harrism - and a number of smaller mission churches such as the Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses also exist.[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 Ivory Coast.
b. Click on Places within Ivory Coast 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. The official language of Ivory Coast is French. See the French Letter Writing Guide for help with composing letters.

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Union of Missionary Baptist Churches in Ivory Coast
09 BP 3533 Abidjan 09
Ivory Coast

Telephone: +225 24 493 387
E-mail: info@unebamci.org

Meridional Evangelical Churches in Ivory Coast
(Eglise Evangélise Méridionales en Cote d’Ivoire)
01 BP 3722
Abidjan 01
Ivory Coast

Phone : +225 21 28 13 79
Email: gpierre@gcs.africaonline.co.ci

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Union of Missionary Baptist Churches in Ivory Coast is a Baptist Christian denomination, affiliated with the Fédération Évangélique de Côte d’Ivoire and the Baptist World Alliance, in Ivory Coast. The headquarters is in Abidjan. The Union of Missionary Baptist Churches in Ivory Coast has its origins in a mission of Nigerian Baptist Convention in 1947 and an American mission of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was officially founded in 1966 as Baptist Meridional Evangelical Churches in Ivory Coast. In 2006, it had 100 churches and 10,000 members. In 2017, it had 258 churches and 30,000 members.[3]

Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Catholicism arrived in Ivory Coast through the arrival of French settlers. There are an estimated 2.8 million baptized Catholics in Ivory Coast, 17.2% of the population (according to the 2014 Census), in 15 Dioceses. There are 800 priests and 1,500 men and women in religious orders. [4]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Information is available to current members only 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]

Isolated families who were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lived in Ivory Coast in the 1970s and earlier. In the early 1980s two families returned to Ivory Coast after having joined the Church in Europe, and in 1987 there were 16 members in the country.

Branches (small congregations) were organized in Abidjan in 1988 and in Bouak in 1989, and with the arrival of missionaries in 1988 the Church continued to grow. It received official recognition in 1991.

In 1993 the Cameroon Yaounde Mission headquarters were moved to Ivory Coast and this became the Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission. The mission concentrated its resources in the Abidjan area to establish a center of the Church here for French-speaking Africa.

The first meetinghouse in Ivory Coast was dedicated in 1997 with two more completed in 1998. [5]
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims more than 43,000 members in 211 wards or branches in Cote d'Ivoire. They also have 27 family history centers in Cote d'Ivoire.[6]

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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Les Témoins de Jéhovah de la Côte d’Ivoire
06 BP 393
Ivory Coast

Telephone:+225 2241-3606
+225 2241-8277
+225 2241-2977 (Fax)

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Methodist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

United Methodist Church
41 Boulevard de la Republique
Abidjan Plateu
Abidjan 01 BP 1282

Work Phone: 225 20 21 17 97
Work Fax: 225 20 22 52 03
Email: gsuinci@globeaccess.net

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The United Methodist Church’s roots in Côte d’Ivoire date back to 1914, when William Wadé Harris arrived in the country from neighboring Liberia. The church started in the area of Grand Bassam, the French colonial capital on the coast of the West African country. Harris went on to neighboring countries, and in 1923, William Platt arrived and built on his predecessor’s work. In 1924, the Methodist Church was officially established in Côte d’Ivoire.[7]

The British Methodist Mission began working in what is now Ivory Coast in 1924, ten years after the pioneering evangelization by Liberian Prophet William Wade Harris in 1914 of several groups that already existed. Coordination developed between the Methodist Mission and missionaries from England, France and Switzerland, which included also Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cameroon. In 1985 the Protestant Methodist Church in Ivory Coast separated from the church in Great Britain and became autonomous. In 2001 it decided to integrate with the United Methodist Church, which took place in 2003 without affecting its autonomy. The name was changed to United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast. [8]

Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ivory Coast
22 BP 179 ABIDJAN 22
Ivory Coast

Telephone:(225) 22 41 04 42/22 41 26 17
Mobile: (225) 02 55 01 95/41 30 00 99
Fax: (225) 22 41 95 85

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Originally, members of the church were Korean diplomats, businessmen, and others residing in Ivory Coast in the early 1980s. In 1986, pastor In-chul Kim founded the first Korean church in Abidjan. The church has 26 congregations and 133 house fellowships in the country. Churches are in Abidjan, Anyama, Abobo, Abengourou, Aboisso, Bingerville, Dabou, Duékoué, Divo, Danané, Issia, N'Douci, Sassandra, San Pedro, Yopougon and Yaobou. [9]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Union of Missionary Baptist Churches in Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Missionary_Baptist_Churches_in_Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Cote d'Ivoire, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/cote-d-ivoire, accessed 20 February 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  7. Tim Tanton, "A brief history of Methodism in Côte d’Ivoire", In "United Methodist News", https://www.umnews.org/en/news/a-brief-history-of-methodism-in-cote-divoire, accessed 24 February 2020.
  8. "United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast", in "World Council of Churches", https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/united-methodist-church-of-ivory-coast, accessed 24 February 2020.
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ivory Coast", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Presbyterian_Church_of_Ivory_Coast, accessed 24 February 2020.