Thailand Church Records

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

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Christians represented 1.17% of the population in 2015.[1] Christianity was introduced by European missionaries as early as the 1550s, when Portuguese mercenaries and their chaplain arrived in Ayutthaya. Historically, it has played a significant role in the modernization of Thailand, notably in social and educational institutions.

As of 2015, just over one percent of the population of Thailand are Christians. Of that group, 400,000 are estimated to be Catholics. Thailand's Department of Religion, currently under the Ministry of Culture, has formally recognized five major Christian churches/denominations: the Roman Catholic Church, the Southern Baptists, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Christ in Thailand, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand. Although not officially recognized, missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been active in Thailand for decades, though their converts are comparatively few.[2]

Information 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. The following information my be found in these records.

Baptism[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 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

Marriage[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Burial[edit | edit source]

  • 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

Religious Denominations[edit | edit source]

Catholic[edit | edit source]

According to Catholic Social Communications of Thailand, as of 2019 there are 388,468 Catholics in Thailand,a figure that represents about 0.58% of the Thai population of 69 million. There are 11 dioceses with 526 parishes and 662 priests.

The first historical record of an attempt to introduce Christianity to Thailand is owed to John Peter Maffei who stated that about 1550 a French Franciscan named Bonferre, hearing of the great kingdom of the Peguans and the Siamese in the East, went on a Portuguese ship from Goa to Cosme (Peguan), where for three years he preached the Gospel, but without any converts. Success in missionary work and political acceptance and church growth struggled with intermittent success and failure for centuries. For example, during the Burmese wars in the late 1700's, the Christians were reduced in number from 12,000 to 1000.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were about 23,000 Catholic believers, 55 churches and chapels. In 2003, there were 278,000 Catholics in Thailand, which constituted 0.44% of the total population at the time. [3]

Records not in current use may have been transferred to the diocese, with more recent records with the parish. To locate the mailing address or e-mail address for a diocese or local parish, consult The Catholic Directory: Thailand

Church of Christ in Thailand[edit | edit source]

The Church of Christ in Thailand (C.C.T.) is a Protestant Christian association. It is the largest Protestant denomination in Thailand. It was founded in 1934 as the Church in Siam, with the intent of forming a single ecumenical denomination to include all Protestant churches in Thailand. Other than a small number of American Baptist and British Churches of Christ congregations, most of the original member churches were originally Presbyterian congregations, many of which were started by missionaries from the American Presbyterian Mission Board. The merger also included Lutherans from the German Marburger Mission. The C.C.T. originally had seven districts, six geographical and one ethnic Chinese. Except for a brief period during World War II, Presbyterian missionary influence remained predominant in the C.C.T. until the late 1970s.[4]

The Church of Christ in Thailand has offices in Bangkok and Chang Mai.

Church of Christ in Thailand (Bangkok Office)
328 Phaya Thai Road
(Choeng Saphan Hua Chang)
Thanon Phetchaburi, Ratchathewi
Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Phone 0-2214-6000
Fax 0-2214-6010

Church of Christ in Thailand (Chiang Mai Office)
29th 75th Anniversary Building
Rattanakosin Road
Wat Ket Subdistrict, Mueang District
Chiang Mai Province 50000, Thailand
Phone 053-244381
Fax 053-244382

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

As early as 1854, President Brigham Young sent a missionary to Thailand, then known as Siam. He stayed only four months due to a language barrier. In the 1950s and before 1961, informal Church services were held intermittently when families lived in Bangkok. The English branch (a small congregation) has functioned continually since 1961 when regular worship services were authorized by the Church.

The Thailand District was organized in 1966. President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated Thailand for the preaching of the gospel on November 2, 1966. Missionaries were then transferred to the area, which ensured membership growth. In 1973, Thailand became its own mission. In 1974, Elder David B. Haight dedicated the first meetinghouse. In 1987, three new meetinghouses were dedicated in Bangnaa, Thonburi, and Chiang Mai Branches. In 1995, the Bangkok Stake (diocese) was created. [5]

Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand[edit | edit source]

Following World War II, many evangelical missionary groups began missionary work in Thailand, including OMF International, the Southern Baptists, WEC, New Tribes Mission, Finnish Free Foreign Mission, Marburger Mission, Presbyterian Church in Korea (K.I.M.), Child Evangelism Fellowship, Christian and Missionary Alliance and Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. These groups chose to not work under the existing national church, the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). These varied evangelical groups worked independently from both the CCT and each other, but in the mid-1950s a number of them decided that inter-denominational and inter-organizational co-operation and fellowship was needed. This desire on the part of both evangelical missionaries and Thai Christian leaders led to the formation of the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand (EFT). The EFT was formally recognized as a legal entity on June 19, 1969. The EFT today includes over 100 member churches or organizations, and publishes a quarterly magazine called “Bible Torch”. The EFT is a member and active participant in the Thailand Protestant Churches Coordinating Committee, whose goal is to promote evangelism and discipleship among Protestant churches in Thailand.[6]

Offices of the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand are in Bangkok.

Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand 64/1 Ramkhamheng Road, Soi 22
Bangkok, Thailand
Email: eft@eft.or.th
Phone: 02 3188235-7
Fax:02-3183861-2

Seventh-day Adventist Church[edit | edit source]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a major Christian denomination with a small presence in Thailand which began in 1919. The Thailand Adventist Mission had 13,594 members as of June 30, 2017.

R. A. Caldwell, came to Thailand in 1906 to hand out Seventh-day Adventist literature. Ten years later Seventh-day Adventist colporteurs came to Thailand and found believers meeting in Bangkok. Chinese businessman, Tan Thian Tsua, moved to Bangkok and started the first Seventh-day Adventist Church in the country. The early work grew among Chinese in Bangkok. The Thailand Adventist Mission was founded in 1919 by missionaries, E. L. Longway and Forrest A. Pratt.[7]

Baptist Church Records[edit | edit source]

The beginning of Protestant Christian work among the Teochiu people is found in Siam (Thailand). Dr. Robert Tolbert states that "The Baptist Mission at Bangkok in Siam was the training ground for missionary work in China." American Baptists entered Siam in 1833, missionaries coming from the mission work already started in Burma. [8] See, History of Baptist Ministries in Thailand

Finding Records[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]

New records are continually being added to FamilySearch. These records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog. Records are cataloged based on the locality covered by the records. To learn how to search the catalog see FamilySearch Catalog Places Search.

In Thailand[edit | edit source]

Contact the church you believe your family were members of for information on how to gain access to the records. You may need to write or email them rather than an initial in-person visit. If you need to write a letter, see the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help.

Letters should be translated into Thai and sent along with a copy in English. This may help to clarify your request. A variety of translation services are listed on Google.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thailand, accessed 20 February 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Thailand#Christianity, accessed 22 February 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Catholic Church in Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_in_Thailand, accessed 22 February 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Church of Christ in Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Christ_in_Thailand, accessed 22 February 2020.
  5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Thailand, https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/facts-and-statistics/country/thailand, accessed 22 February 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelical_Fellowship_of_Thailand, accessed 22 February 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_Church_in_Thailand, accessed 22 February 2020.
  8. History of Baptist Ministries in Thailand, http://bwa-baptist-heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/History-of-Baptist-Ministries-in-Thailand.pdf, accessed 22 February 2020.