Guam Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The most common religion is the Catholic Church. According to the Pew Research Center, the religious denominations constitute the following, in 2010: Roman Catholicism: 75%, Protestantism: 17.7%. [1]

Over 85 percent of Guam's population is Roman Catholic. The island is home to over two dozen Catholic churches, including one in each of Guam's 19 villages.

Guam also has at least seven Baptist churches, including in the villages of Agana Heights, Upper Tumon, Tamuning, Dededo, Barrigada, Chalan Pago, and Mongmong.

There are multiple Episcopal and Bahai'i houses of worship on the island, as well as Presbyterian, Filipino Christian, Nazarene, Lutheran, and nondenominational churches. Guam's religious population also includes Jehovah's Witnesses. [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 Guam.
b. Click on Places within Guam 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. See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.



Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Each individual Baptist church has its own history.


Catholic Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing to a Local Parish[edit | edit source]

Earlier records can be held at the diocese, with more recent records still kept in the local parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult:

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Catholicism on the island was a product of centuries of Spanish colonial control as the island was part of the Spanish East Indies until 1898, when the United States acquired it after the Spanish–American War. The first Catholic church was established on Guam on June 15, 1668 by Spanish-Filipino colonizers Diego Luis de San Vitores and Pedro Calungsod.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agaña is the ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church which comprises the United States dependency of Guam.[3][4]



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

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Online information is available to current members, 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]

Members have been in Guam since the 1940s. The first Church members on Guam probably came as members of the armed forces during World War II. Guam branches (a small congregation) of from 50 to 300 servicemen began functioning in 1944, acting under the Far East Mission. In 1945, four groups were organized on the island.

In 1951, fund-raising events by the members raised enough money to purchase land and two Quonset huts, which they used for a chapel and classrooms. The facilities were dedicated in 1953 and Guam became a dependent branch of the Oahu Hawaii Stake (diocese).

Missionaries arrived in August 1957. As members increased, land for another meetinghouse was purchased. A new meetinghouse in Barrigada was dedicated 10 March 1970, and the Guam Branch became a ward (a large congregation).

The Micronesia Guam Mission was created April 1, 1980. In June, the Guam District was created with four branches.

[5]



Church of the Nazarene[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Guam First Church of the Nazarene
Cueto
Dededo, Guam

Phone: (671) 632-9882

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Church of the Nazarene in Guam began with a fellowship of lay American military personnel in 1966. Local broadcast of the radio program “Showers of Blessing” led to the formation of a Nazarene fellowship. Over the years, this fellowship grew in number and ministry.

The fellowship purchased the property and broke ground for a sanctuary in 1969. The church became fully organized in December 1971. In 1972, the congregation added a parsonage, and later in 2002, a new sanctuary. [6]



Episcopal Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Bacground[edit | edit source]

The Episcopal Church first came to Guam in the 1950s, when employees of the federal government working on the island petitioned the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii for a local presence. In 1956, the church acquired land in Upper Tumon, and in 1957, the first Episcopal Church on Guam, St. John the Divine, was established. Shortly thereafter, the St. John’s Episcopal School followed. Both church and school originally existed in Quonset huts, but were replaced with concrete structures after the devastating impact of Typhoon Karen in 1962.

Also in the 1960s, St. Andrew By the Philippine Sea in Agat was built. The facility initially served as a day-care center, but eventually formed into a parish. The third Episcopal Church, St. Michael and All Angels in Dededo, is the most recent addition. Founded in the early 1990s, the church first held worship services in the carport of a private residence. Today, St. Michael’s is housed in its own building.[7]



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

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The first Jehovah’s Witnesses on Guam arrived from the Philippines in the 1940s. These first Witnesses were contract workers assigned to assist with post-World War II reconstruction. While on Guam, they organized the first Micronesian congregation in 1951. By 1954, the first missionaries assigned to Guam had arrived. They were Sam and Virginia Wiger, and their congregation had grown to warrant a larger meeting place. The Wigers consequently set up the first Kingdom Hall in a vacated military mess hall. In 1969, Guam and Micronesia became part of the Hawai`i branch. Later, the Guam Branch Committee would be established.[8]



Lutheran Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Lutheran Church of Guam
787 W. Marine Corps Drive
Hagatna, Guam 96910

Telephone:(671) 477-8595
E-mail: lutheranchurchofguam@gmail.com

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The Lutheran Church of Guam was established in 1969 and is supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The church first came to Guam in 1963 as the Lutheran Serviceman’s Center with a congregation consisting mainly of military personnel. While the congregation continues to reach out to the military population and their families today, the church is a primarily local congregation.[9]



Presbyterian Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The origins of the Faith Presbyterian Christian Reformed Church on Guam date back to the 1950s, when military personnel from the Protestant Reformed Church worshiped together at the Navy Chapel. Filipino contract workers assisting with Guam’s postwar reconstruction would eventually join this group. A serviceman and elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church by the name of John Reynolds led the first Bible study classes in a Quonset hut at the camp. As interest in the church grew, Navy Chaplain Lynn Wade granted Reynolds permission to hold regular Sunday worship services. The church continued its expansion, attracting both military and civilian followers. A group of civilian families who belonged to the Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, would provide the next step in the church’s development. These families successfully contacted their home church in Michigan about adopting the Guam church as a missionary project, as the church was then operating independently from the military.[10]



Seventh-day Adventist Church Records[edit | edit source]

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

During World War II, two American servicemen by the names of Henry Metzker and Bob Beckett played key roles in the origins of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Guam. Beckett, a nurse in the 204th Army General Hospital in Hawai`i, was one of seven Adventists bound for Guam during the war. Before leaving Hawai`i, Beckett’s pastor approached him about establishing a church on Guam, a place where they had not had much success in the past. Upon landing on Guam in 1945, Beckett’s military outfit pitched tents to function as a hospital for war casualties. On the first Saturday of their arrival, a small group of Adventists came together to worship, and thus held the first Seventh-day Adventist service on Guam. The following week, attendance grew as more men from the 373rd Station hospital joined them. Before long, one sailor, Henry Metzker, asked if he could bring Chamorros to the worship service. Beckett embraced the idea and immediately visualized the establishment of a permanent church with Chamorros included in the congregation.

Metzker first encountered islanders interested in the Seventh-day Adventist church after scouring the villages in search of a church. Although he did not find a Seventh-day Adventist church, he did come across a local family who expressed interest in the church that kept Sabbath on Saturday. That family included Maria A. Ulloa. Because she knew nothing about the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ulloa agreed to listen to Metzker give a Bible lesson. In time, Metzker made several more visits to the family to provide further teachings about the church. Shortly thereafter, the Ulloa home served as a place of worship for Seventh-day Adventists.

The believers were left on their own for two years until the arrival of Filipino Pastor Jose O. Bautista, who arrived on September 5, 1947 from Palau where he was doing work. By December 25, 1947, another baptism of six believers from the Miguel Taitano family took place. On May 21, 1948, Pastor Robert E. Dunton arrived from California. The Far Eastern Division later sent V.T. Armstrong and C.P. Sorensen to help establish the Guam mission.

The church on Guam was organized on May 29, 1948, just after Pastor Dunton’s second Sabbath on Guam. Members continued to meet in the makeshift chapel attached to the Ulloa home in Dededo. This would ultimately be the location of the first Dededo church. In 1950, the second and third churches began in Talofofo and Inarajan, respectively. Four years later, the Inarajan church would fold into the Talofofo church, and on June 11, 1960, the Agana Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church opened. The Agana Heights chapel was dedicated to Mrs. Ana T. Gay, an early convert who donated the property for erecting a church for the Guam-Micronesia Mission.

A fourth church was organized in Agat on Nov. 19, 1963. The Yigo church was organized in 1987, beginning with several families who had come from the Dededo and Agana Heights church. A Micronesian church was also organized in 1987 under the guidance of Pastor Willy Nobuo, who arrived on Guam from Palau in 1986. A Korean church began in the summer of 1987, with Hugh Kim as lay leader of the group.[11]



References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Guam", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guam, accessed 23 February 2020.
  2. "Guam Churches", https://www.visitguam.com/chamorro-culture/churches/, accessed 23 February 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Guam", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Guam, accessed 23 February 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agaña", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Archdiocese_of_Aga%C3%B1a, accessed 23 February 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Guam, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/guam, accessed 20 February 2020.
  6. Amy Trasen, "Guam celebrates 50th anniversary", in "Church of the Nazarene", https://nazarene.org/article/guam-celebrates-50th-anniversary. accessed 24 February 2020.
  7. "Episcopal Church", in "Guampedia", https://www.guampedia.com/episcopal-church/, accessed 24 February 2020.
  8. "Jehovah's Witnesses", in "Guampedia", https://www.guampedia.com/jehovahs-witnesses/, accessed 24 February 2020.
  9. "Lutheran Church in Guam", in "Guampedia", https://www.guampedia.com/lutheran-church-of-guam/, accessed 24 February 2020.
  10. "Faith Presbyterian Christian Reformed Church", in "Guampedia", https://www.guampedia.com/faith-presbyterian-christian-reformed-church/, accessed 24 February 2020.
  11. "Seventh-day Adventists: History on Guam", in "Guampedia", https://www.guampedia.com/seventh-day-adventists/, accessed 24 February 2020.