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Where do I find Church Records?

Just like in any other country, church records play an immense part in tracing your ancestors in South Africa.

The earliest records kept in South Africa are those of the Dutch Reformed Church that start in 1660, the Lutheran Church records from 1784, Anglican from 1806, Methodist from 1822 and Catholic from 1820.

Church records are spread all around the country. (Don’t expect to find them in their original parish or place of worship.)

A large proportion of the Anglican Church records are housed at Wits University. Churches from as far a field as the Cape and the Island of St. Helena can also be found there. Visit their web site.

Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Catholic, Congregational and Jewish records can be found at the Cory Library in Grahamstown. Visit the web site here.

The majority of Catholic records are housed either at the original source or the main diocese in the area the church falls under.

Larger churches like St. Georges Cathedral have their records in the Cape Town Archives, but many of them have been transcribed and are available here at Ancestry24. The original records are housed in book format in the Cape Town Archives.

Church records for British persons who were soldiers or in any way affiliated with the army in South Africa can use sources such as St. Georges Cathedral (pre 1900), St. John’s Anglican Church in Wynberg and some of the churches in Simonstown. A large perentage of these records are available now on ancestry24.com