South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996 .

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Record Description

This collection of the Methodist Church records includes images of baptisms, marriages, and burials from several towns in South Africa. The text of the records is handwritten in English or in Afrikaans.

Methodism arrived in South Africa with British soldiers in 1806, but the mission was launched by Barnabas Shaw, who reached the Cape in 1816, and William Shaw (unrelated), who accompanied the British settlers of 1820. Barnabas Shaw established a mission among the Khoi at Leliefontein in Namaqualand, and colleagues ventured across the Orange River into present-day Namibia and what are now the northern provinces of South Africa. William Shaw established Methodism throughout the British settlement in Albany and rapidly planted a chain of mission stations between the Cape Colony and Natal. In the late nineteenth century, missionary work was extended into the gold-mining area in Gauteng and north through modern Limpopo into Zimbabwe. Six missionary districts of the Wesleyan Methodist church became an affiliated conference in 1883. An independent conference was constituted in 1927 and enlarged in 1931 to include the Transvaal Missionary District of the British Conference and the small Primitive Methodist Mission. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

This collection of parish records from the Methodist Church in South Africa covers the years 1822 to 1996. 

These parish records were created to record the events of baptisms, marriages, and burials for the members of the Methodist Church in South Africa.

These parish records are a reliable source for doing genealogical research in South Africa.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Methodist Churches. South Africa Methodist parish registers. Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most baptism records include:

  • Place of baptism
  • Date of baptism
  • Child's name
  • Parents’ names
  • Parents’ residence
  • Child's age or date of birth

The key genealogical facts found in most marriage records include:

  • Place of marriage
  • Date of marriage
  • Name of groom
  • Maiden name of bride
  • Betrothed ages
  • Their marital statuses
  • Their occupations or professions
  • Their residence at time of marriage
  • If married after banns or license
  • Person giving the consent for the marriage
  • Place marriage solemnized
  • Names of witnesses

The key genealogical facts found in most burial records include:

  • Deceased name
  • Place of deceased last residence
  • Age of deceased at time of death
  • Date of interment
  • Burial place

How to Use the Records

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the Country ⇒ Select the Province ⇒ Select the Municipality or Town ⇒ Select the Record Type and Years which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Before starting research in these records you need to know the name of  your ancestor, the location of the event (baptism, marriage or death), and an approximate date of that event. Church records include important vital information, which can also help identify other ancestors. The civil registration records can be researched also after 1895.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

National Archives of South Africa

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"South Africa, Methodist Parish Registers, 1822-1996" digital images, FamilySearch ( accessed 30 December 2011), South Africa > Orange Free State > Welkom > Deaths 1969-1970 > Image 1 of 16, John Buti Sithole, 1969;citing Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Church Registers,Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.