Nigeria Church Records

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

Online Resources and Websites,, and can be searched free of charge at your local family history center or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Historical Background

Nigeria has the largest Christian population in Africa though Christians are only about 45% of the population. According to a 2011 Pew report, over 80 million Nigerians are Christians. Among Christians, about a quarter are Catholic, three quarters are Protestant, and about 750,000 belong to other Christian denominations and a few of them are Orthodox Christians. The leading Protestant churches in the country are the Church of Nigeria of the Anglican Communion, The African Church, the Assemblies of God Church, the Nigerian Baptist Convention and The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations. The Yoruba area contains a large Anglican population, while Igboland is predominantly Catholic and the Edo area is predominantly Assemblies of God. Denominations like the Seventh-day Adventist also exist.[1][2]

Information Recorded in the Records

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):


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


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.


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

Digital Copies of Church Records in the FamilySearch Catalog

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 Nigeria.
b. Click on Places within Nigeria 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

You will probably need to write to or email the national archives, the diocese, or local parish priests to find records. See Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help with composing letters.

Anglican (Episcopal) Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The Church of Nigeria is the Anglican church in Nigeria. It is the second-largest province in the Anglican Communion, as measured by baptized membership (but not by attendance), after the Church of England. It gives its current membership as "over 18 million", out of a total Nigerian population of 140 million. Other statistics reveal that the Church of Nigeria has 2 million active attendees on a Sunday. The ecclesiastical provinces of the Church of Nigeria are: Lagos, Ibadan, Ondo, Bendel, The Niger, Niger Delta, Owerri, Abuja, Kaduna and Jos. The Church of Nigeria has about 17 million members.[3]

The African Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The African Church is a Christian denomination that was established in Nigeria in 1901. It was established after strong disagreements arose between the European leadership of the Anglican Church and the native African leadership. Following the installation of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther (one of the foremost black African Leaders of the Anglican Church and translator of the Bible into the Yoruba language) as the head of Church of Nigeria, a number of African clerics obtained progressive education that did not however translate to advancement in the leadership of the Church. This led to schisms that finally led to the formation of the indigenous African Church. [4]

Assembly of God Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria is a Pentecostal Christian denomination in Nigeria. It is affiliated with the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. The headquarters in Opkoto, Ebonyi State. The General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria has its origins in the Nigerian Church of Jesus Christ and a partnership with the Assemblies of God USA in 1934. The council was founded in 1964. In 2019, it had 16,300 churches and 3.6 million members.[5]

Baptist Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The Nigerian Baptist Convention claims about three million baptized members.[6]

Catholic Church Records

Writing to a Local Parish

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

The Archdioceses of the Roman Catholic Church are: Abuja, Onitsha, Benin City, Calabar, Ibadan, Lagos, and Owerri. It has about 19 million members in Nigeria in 2005.[7][8]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Records

Online Records

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

From the 1950s on, some Nigerians learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through magazine articles and acquired Church literature. Groups of people began meeting unofficially in the Church's name. Through the years, some of them wrote to Church headquarters requesting missionaries. Glen G. Fisher, returning from service as South Africa Mission President, visited Nigeria in 1960 and reported that the groups were sincere. Attempts to send missionaries, however, were thwarted because visas were unavailable. In 1978, two couples were sent to Nigeria as special representatives of the Church's International Mission. The first baptized member was one of those who had waited many years for the coming of the missionaries. In 1987, less than 10 years after the Church's establishment in Nigeria, membership approached 10,000. In January of 1997, membership in Nigeria had reached 30,300, the highest of any nation in the Africa Area. Total Church Membership: 177,280. Congregations: 649.[9]

Orthodox Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The Orthodox mission in Nigeria began as an ethnic need amongst the hundreds of Greeks, who were sojourning in the country. One of the Greek luminaries in Nigeria, the Leventis Family to be precise, established in 1966 the first Orthodox community for the sole purpose of satisfying their cultural needs. Mr. Anastasios Leventis, during this period, built the first Orthodox Church and gave it a name, which coincides with his name: Anastasios, hence, the Resurrection of the Lord parish. Ever since the church was erected, it has remained the centre and pivot of all Orthodox Christian communities within the country and in the neighbouring countries. [10]

Pentecostal Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

There are over 300,000 Early Pentecostal Apostolic Churches parishes in Nigeria having about 4.2 million adherents. Such denominations in this group are:

  • The Apostolic Church,
  • The Celestial Church,
  • The Cherubim and Seraphim Church et cetera.
  • There are also about 380,000 New Apostolic Church parishes constituting about 6.5 million believers|New Apostolic Christians in Nigeria include: 1) The Redeemed Church, 4) Deeper Life Church, 5) Overcomers ministries and other new springs. Bye and large Protestantism particularly the Pentecostals, Apostolic and evangelicals constitute the major Christian population of Nigeria from the late 1990s to the present.

From the 1990s to the 2000s, there was significant growth in Protestant churches, including the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Winners' Chapel, Christ Apostolic Church (the first Aladura Movement in Nigeria), Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Evangelical Church Winning All, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, Christ Embassy, Common Wealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Aladura Church (indigenous Christian churches being especially strong in the Yoruba and Igbo areas), and of evangelical churches in general. These churches have spilled over into adjacent and southern areas of the middle belt. [11]

The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

Temitope Balogun Joshua (born June 12, 1963), commonly referred to as T. B. Joshua, is the Nigerian founder of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian organisation headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. A Christian pastor, humanitarian and author, Joshua broadcasts Christian televangelism via SCOAN’s Christian television station Emmanuel TV, and on the Internet via the Streaming Faith broadcast portal. Joshua started a church with just a handful of members, naming it ‘The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations’. Since then, the church has grown far beyond the shores of Nigeria. More than 15,000 members attend the weekly Sunday service, and visitors from outside Nigeria are accommodated in the church facilities.[12]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Records

Writing for Records

Historical Background

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a major Christian denomination with a significant presence in Nigeria[1][2]with over 249,207 members as of June 30, 2018. The Seventh-day Adventist Church splits Nigeria into three unions.[13]


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "The African Church", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "General Council of the Assemblies of God Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Roman Catholicism in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  9. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "Facts and Statistics: Nigeria,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  10. "The new orthodox cathedral in Nigeria", in "The Guardian",, accessee 25 March 2020.
  11. Wikipedia contributors, "Religion in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.
  12. "About, SCOAN International",, accessed 25 March 2020
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria", in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 March 2020.