Australia Church Records

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

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Finding Church Records[edit | edit source]

  • Original parish registers usually are located in one of five places:
  • still at the local church
  • the diocesan record office
  • church archives
  • state archives
  • a library

Copies of Church Records in Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Prior to the start of civil registration, the government required most churches to send copies (called "Clergy Returns") of their birth, marriage, and death records to the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The dates of these records are as follows:

  • New South Wales 1788–1856
  • Tasmania 1803–1838
  • Queensland 1829–1856
  • Western Australia 1829–1856
  • South Australia 1836–1842
  • Victoria 1837–1858
  • Northern Territory See New South Wales and South Australia
  • Australian Capital Territory See New South Wales

Thomas Davies Mutch Card Indexes[edit | edit source]

The Thomas Davies Mutch Card Index is a genealogical card index of births, deaths and marriages, 1787-ca. 1957. The index is divided into two time periods, 1787-1814 and 1815-1957. The card index for 1787-1814 covers St. Philip's, Sydney; St. John's, Parramatta and St. Matthew's, Windsor church registers. The period 1815-1957 covers all Church of England registers to 1828 which were indexed from the Kerrison James index. From 1828 indexing is less complete but includes St. Mary's Roman Catholic records and Presbyterian Church records.

Writing for Records[edit | edit source]

Originals of parish records may still be held at the local church.
See the Letter Writing Guide for Genealogy for help in composing a letter requesting information from a local church.
Address directories for major religious groups are listed here. Baptist, Pentecostal, and Reformed churches have multiple umbrella organizations. For those, use Google.

Diocese Maps[edit | edit source]

Anglican Dioceses[edit | edit source]

Anglican diocese of Australia.png

Catholic Dioceses[edit | edit source]

Catholic Dioceses of Australia.svg.png

Information Recorded in the Records[edit | edit source]

The information recorded in church or parish registers varies somewhat from religion to religion, and later records generally give more complete information than earlier ones. Most church registers for the Anglican, Catholic, and Presbyterian denominations provide the following information:

Baptisms[edit | edit source]

  • Birth and baptism dates
  • Place of baptism
  • Christian name of the child
  • Christian and surname of the father
  • Christian name of the mother (some include maiden surname)
  • Parents’ abode
  • Occupation of the father
  • Name of the officiating minister

Children were generally baptized within a few days of birth. If a child died soon after birth, death information was sometimes added as a note.

Marriages[edit | edit source]

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Full names of the bride and groom
  • Parish of residence of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of the bride and groom prior to this marriage
  • Married by banns or license
  • In the case of a minor, whether with consent of parents
  • Name of the officiating minister
  • Signatures or marks of the bride and groom
  • Signatures or marks of witnesses

Marriage registers may also include other information about the bride and groom such as their ages, occupations, and names of parents. In cases of second and later marriages for a woman, they may include her former married names along with her maiden name.

Marriage registers sometimes include the published banns. These were announcements of intent to marry which were made for two or three Sundays prior to the marriage, and gave an opportunity for anyone to come forward who knew of any reason why the couple should not be married.

Burials[edit | edit source]

  • Dates of death and burial
  • Place of burial
  • Name of the deceased
  • Place of abode at time of death
  • Age of the deceased
  • Occupation of the deceased
  • Name of the officiating minister

Occasionally parents' names, cause of death, and even the date and place of birth are given for the deceased. Burials were recorded in the records of the church where the person was buried. The burial usually took place within a few days of death. Burial records exist for individuals for whom no birth or marriage record exists. In addition, stillbirths may have been recorded in a burial register when no baptism occurred.]]