Church Records

The Guyana / British Guiana Genealogical Society

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Researching - Sources:     Church Records

Church Records:  The information on this page will hopefully assist you in obtaining records from the church archives, provided you know your family's church affiliation.

Churches and Archival Dates:
Per Blanche Emmeline Duke, in her "The History of the Anglican Church", Red Thread Women's Press, Georgetown, 2000, the earliest dates recorded in the Registers of the various churches, are:
    St Georges, Georgetown, Demerara 1796
    All Saints. New Amsterdam, Berbice 1818
    Holy Trinity, Anna Regina, Essequibo Coast 1821 
    St. Paul's, East Coast Demerara 1824
    St. John's, Suddie, Essequibo Coast 1825

The Church of the Immaculate Conception at Brickdam has the following records:
    Records for Baptisms start at 1869
    Records for Weddings start at 1873
    Records for Funerals at 1913

Requesting a Record  
   Requesting records from Guyana is different from other countries in that the records are not computerized or microfilmed and must therefore be manually searched. Even when volunteers are available, there are no supervisors to teach them how to search the aging records. Donations for the time required to perform searches is appreciated as manufactured goods in Guyana are expensive, i.e., a small bag of potato chips cost $4.00 US Dollars, and many Guyanese face a daily struggle for survival.

Specify Your Request:
   Include in your request:
     - The name to be searched
     - Specify the record sought; i.e., Birth, Marriage, Death, Baptism, etc.
     - The month, day and year of event (at minimum, a year must be specified)
     - If desired, ask for a photo copy of the record (copy service dependant on having available equipment)
     - List the address to which the record or results of the search should be sent
     - Indicate that you will immediately send a donation (specify amount you will donate, suggested amounts are listed below) upon receipt of the requested record

US Postage for an airmail letter to Guyana is currently (2006) 84 cents and according to the US Postal Service, delivery time is from 2 to 7 days. Canadian postage for a letter post to Guyana is from $1.49 to $2.10 depending on weight.

    It is important to include in your request for records that you will send a donation immediately upon receipt of the requested item(s) and that the promised donation is promptly sent.  A personal check/cheque is acceptable and perhaps the safest way to send your donation.  A search for one single name with a specific date of an event, i.e., birth, marriage, death, etc. will take approximately an hour while a search for an entire year will take many hours. The following are suggested donation levels based on the type of search requested:

Suggested Donations when requesting documents
Photo Copy
$ .50 per page
Search for known date   (Month/Day/Year) $ 15 US Dollars
Search of one entire year      (unknown Month/Day)
$ 25 US Dollars
Each additional entire year search   (unknown Month/Day)
$ 15 US Dollars

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church has many records dating back to 1816. Their records are kept by event (birth, deaths, marriages) and by year.
     The Rev. Oswald A. Best
     St. Andrew's Manse
     81 Croal Street
     Georgetown, Guyana South America
            Telephone: 592-226-5624

St. George's Cathedral - Archives are held here, however, the oldest records are in fragile condition and presently inaccessable until funds to preserve or digitize are available.
   The Very Rev. Terry David
   St. George's Cathedral, Deanery Office
   79 Carmichael Street
   South Cummingsburg, Georgetown, Guyana, South America

Church of the Immaculate Conception - Roman Catholic
   Cathedral Administrator
   Cathedral Parish of the Immaculate Conception
   28 Brickdam Street
   Stabroek, Georgetown, Guyana, South America
        Telephone: 592-223-7610

Religious Council (Note that this office is infrequently active and would have current rather than historic information on member churches)
   Guyana Council of Churches
   71 Murray Street
   Georgetown, Guyana, South America

Anglican Clergy in South America: Alan Longbottom at Pudsey posted this list of Anglican Clergy on the South American mail list board in July 1998 which may be helpful for those looking for colonial ancestors.

United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts
This Anglican church missionary society was very active in the West Indies and in British Guiana (working with the Arawaks and other Amerindians) from about 1840 to the late 1880s. Many libraries throughout the world hold copies or portions of the society's archives.   The original archives are now held at Cambridge University in England, at the Rhodes LIbrary.   The archives contain letters from missionaries and reports from the field. A Google search will find a library near you, or a search of the Worldcat (library catalogs) will do the same.

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