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 .

Collection Time Period

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

How to Use the Records

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.

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.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in most baptism records include:
South Africa Methodist Church Parish Registers (09-0480) Baptism DGS 4467536 4.jpg
  • 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
    South Africa Methodist Church Parish Registers (09-0480) Marriage DGS 4467731 1.jpg
  • 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:
South Africa Methodist Church Parish Registers (09-0480) Burial DGS 4467664 5.jpg
  • Deceased name
  • Place of deceased last residence
  • Age of deceased at time of death
  • Date of interment
  • Burial place

Record History

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.

Why the Record Was Created

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

Record Reliability

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

Related Websites

National Archives of South Africa

Related Wiki Articles

South Africa

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

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

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet ( September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet ( April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023

Sources of Information for This Collection:

This is a collection of digital copies of original records housed at the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.