Malta Church Records

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

Church registers are the primary source of birth, marriage, and death information in Malta before the beginning of civil registration in 1863. They identify names of parents, prove other relationships, and are very useful for linking generations.

Online Sources and Websites[edit | edit source]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

The predominant religion in Malta is that of the Catholic Church. The Constitution of Malta establishes Catholicism as the state religion, and it is also reflected in various elements of Maltese culture; however, in recent years the church has experienced rapid decline in influence and importance. According to a 2018 survey, the overwhelming majority of the Maltese population adheres to Christianity (95.2%) with Catholicism as the main denomination (93.9%).[1]

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 Malta.
b. Click on Places within Malta 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 local parish priests to find more recent records. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Roman Catholic[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]

Records kept by the Roman Catholic Church include registers of christenings, marriages, and burials dating from 1537 to present. Historically, 95% or more of the population was Catholic. Actual coverage would be less in the 1500s and 1600s.

Church records may also include a Status Animarum which is a survey of the spiritual status of the parish population lists names of parish inhabitants, ages, and residence.

Recent registers are kept at local parish churches. Older registers may be at the Cathedral Museum, Archbishop Square, Mdina on Gozo; at the Archbishop’s Curia, St. Calcedonius Square, Floriana, Malta; or at the National Library by Republic Square in Valletta, Malta.

Records may contain the following:

Baptisms

  • Names of individuals
  • Dates of birth and baptism
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparents

Marriages

  • Names of groom and bride
  • Dates and places of marriage
  • Ages of groom and bride
  • Their residences
  • Sometimes birthplaces

Burials

  • Names of the deceased
  • Dates and places of death and burial
  • Age at time of death
  • Marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Name of spouse

Anglican[edit | edit source]

Records kept by the Anglican Church include registers of christenings, marriages, and burials dating from about 1801 to the present. It is estimated that about 5% of the population were members of the Anglican Church.

Records are housed at the Anglican chaplancy of Sliema, Malta and the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Valletta, Malta. Transcripts of many records are in the possession of the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London, England. Some transcripts (1806-1814) are at the Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London; these may have been moved to the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane, London within the past few years.

Records may contain the following information:

Baptisms

  • Names of individuals
  • Dates of birth and baptism
  • Names of parents
  • Names of godparents

Marriages

  • Names of groom and bride
  • Dates and places of marriage
  • Ages of groom and bride
  • Their residences
  • Sometimes birthplaces

Burials

  • Names of the deceased
  • Dates and places of death and burial
  • Age at death
  • Marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Name of spouse

Marriage Compilations[edit | edit source]

These records were compiled from marriage information taken from the original marriage sections of the church books. They date from about 1540 to approximately 1900.

Records usually contain names of brides and grooms, dates of marriage, and may also include other details. No specific information is known about these compilations. There are four sets of marriage compilations in private collections in Malta.

The Adami Collection[edit | edit source]

The Adami Collection is a transcription of parochial records from the Maltese Islands (Malta and Gozo) that includes marriages, baptisms (from one parish), marriage legacies or contracts, family trees, ecclesiastical benefices, notarial acts, and miscellaneous notes. The collection is available at the Family History Library on 39 rolls of microfilm and as The Adami collection, 1485-1868 online.

Marriages are arranged by parish. In the records, the saint's name is written in Italian as is the town name. In this catalog the saint's name is written in English, followed by the Italian name in parentheses. The names of the towns are written in English followed by alternate spellings from the Italian and Maltese languages. For most of the towns on the island of Gozo, no saints' names were given.

Marriage contracts (schede matrimoniali) form a record that resembles an index. They include the names of the bride and groom and both sets of parents, the contract date, and the parishes where the bride and groom lived.

Marriage legacies (legati di maritaggio) were given to the church by the wealthy to endow poor brides with enough money to help defray the costs of the marriage and setting up a household. These legacies usually were given to family members, who had to prove relationship to those who provided the legacy. Consequently, in the legacy records family trees showing relationship from provider to the bride are shown. They are arranged in alphabetical order by the surname of the person providing the marriage legacy.

Family trees are arranged in no discernible way and date from the 1500s to the 1800s. Most of the recorded dates are for the marriage. Many of these family trees also had something to do with marriage legacies. They were used to confirm consanguinity in order for a bride to claim a marriage legacy. In later records, rather than a family tree, there are tables of names of those claiming legacies.

Notarial records include wills, codicils, legacies, donations, sales, etc. On the first film containing notarial records, they are arranged in alphabetical order by the surname of the family and then by the name of the notary who drew up the papers for each act. In this catalog, the name of each notary is given along with the dates of his service. It may be necessary to check each notary to locate all of a family's records. In the large set of notarial acts, the records are arranged by family name.

Benefices involve the endowment of land and/or property to the church to be used by the church but to actually remain legally in the hands of the "donor". The descendants of the original donors were given first preference over the land and property. Descendancy charts are included.

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Malta", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Malta, accessed 22 April 2020.