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Malawi Church Records

Revision as of 16:49, 24 March 2020 by Hanna5974 (talk | contribs) (Historical Background)
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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Malawi, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Resources and WebsitesEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit

Malawi is a majority Christian country, with a significant Muslim minority. Government surveys indicate that 87% of the country is Christian. The largest Christian groups in Malawi are the Roman Catholic Church, of which 19% of Malawians are adherents, and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) to which 18% belong. The CCAP is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi with 1.3 million members. There are smaller Presbyterian denominations like the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Malawi and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Malawi. There are also smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Lutherans.[1]

Information Recorded in the RecordsEdit

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):


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


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.


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 RecordsEdit

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch CatalogEdit

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 Malawi.
b. Click on Places within Malawi 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 RecordsEdit

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.

Catholic Church RecordsEdit

Writing to a Local ParishEdit

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

Historical BackgroundEdit

The Catholic Church in Malawi is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome and the Malawi bishops. The first Catholic missionaries were White Fathers (Pères Blancs in French) who arrived in Malawi in 1889. By 1904, the White Fathers had three permanent mission stations at Kachebere, Likuni, and Mua, and the Montforts had two missions, at Nguludi and Nzama. Most of the White Fathers were French. It was not until 1937–38 that the first Malawi priests were ordained: Cornelio Chitsulo, Alfred Finye. Today there are over 2 million Catholics in Malawi - around a third of Christians and a fifth of the total population. There are 2 archdioceses and 6 dioceses. [2]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints RecordsEdit

Online RecordsEdit

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 BackgroundEdit

In 1992, the first missionary couple was allowed to enter Malawi. The Church was legally recognized in Malawi on April 25, 1995. Elder Dennis E. Simmons of the Seventy, president of the Africa Southeast Area, — with Frank Bagley, president of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, organized the Sitima Village Branch on May 20, 1999. Within the year, branch membership had increased to about 200. A second branch was organized in Malawi on July 20, 2000 in Blantyre. [3]

Anglican (Episcopal) Church RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit

Baptist Church RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit

Lutheran Church RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit

Pentecostal (Evangelical) Church RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

  • [ Google Maps search results for Pentecostal churches in Malawi]

Church of Central Africa Presbyterian RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit

The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) is a Presbyterian denomination. It consists of five synods: one in Zambia (Zambia Synod), one in Zimbabwe (Harare Synod) and three in Malawi – Livingstonia Synod in the north of the country, Nkhoma Synod in the centre, and Blantyre Synod in the south. The CCAP is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi. Following the arrival of David Livingstone, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. In 1875, the Free Church of Scotland established itself in northern Malawi with headquarters in Livingstonia, while in 1876, the Church of Scotland set up a mission in Blantyre. In 1889, the Cape Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa began work in central Malawi. Initially its base was Mvera, but it later relocated to Nkhoma. These three missions were the start of the three CCAP synods in Malawi. In 1926, the formerly Dutch Reformed Nkhoma Synod joined the CCAP. The Harare Synod joined in 1965,[5] while the Lundazi Synod (now called the Zambia Synod) joined in 1984.

Seventh-day Adventist Church RecordsEdit

Writing for RecordsEdit

Historical BackgroundEdit


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Malawi", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 24 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Malawi", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 24 March 2020.
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Malawi,, accessed 24 March 2020.