Australian parish records
What is the role of parish records in family history research?
Before civil registration commenced church records of baptisms, marriages and burials are the main means of tracking major life events. These records may also supplement or substitute for missing civil records.
What parish records are available for the different States and various denominations?
Below is a selective list of the records held by the State Library of Queensland. New records are increasingly available.
Check the One Search online catalogue for additional titles.
New South Wales
New South Wales included Port Phillip until 1851 and Moreton Bay until 1859.
The first NSW Acts to regularise the recording of births, deaths and marriages:
- 1825 Church of England
- 1834 Roman Catholic Church (Church of Rome)
- 1834 Presbyterian Church (Church of Scotland)
- 1839 Wesleyan Methodist Church
- 1840 Congregational or Independent and Baptist denominations
Church records were made before these dates including during the period of the First Fleet, but were not always retained.
Church records are available on microfilm for the period until 1856. They are indexed online at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages and in the NSW Pioneer Index 1788-1918 (Pioneer series 1788-1888) [CD-ROM and microfiche].
State Records of NSW's Microfilm copies of registers of baptisms, burials and marriages, 1787-1856 (MFA 929.3944 1984) provides further information on the historical background of these records and how to work from the indexes to the original church records, including the microfilm numbers. Ask for it at the desk in the Micrographics area on Level 3.
Some records before 1856, usually after Registry volume 123, are not available on microfilm as they are under the control of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Some records after 1856 may be available on microfilm. Notes in the handbook advise on inconsistencies in the filming of the records.
Mutch card indexes [microfilm] (MFL 929.3944 1974) on AO/SR reels 2125-2129 cover most parish record references 1787-1828. For further information check the Microform Quick Look for Family History held at the family history desk in the Micrographics area on level 3.
Anglican Church of Australia, Diocese of Newcastle. Parish registers 1826-1986 [microfilm] (MFL 929.39442 1986) are available as a separate run. The Microform Quick Look for Family History held at the family history desk in the Micrographics area on level 3 provides a guide to records held, for what area, and the specific time periods and events covered.
Parish register index Church of England Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn [microfiche] (MFC 929.39447 1999) mostly covers the period 1850s to 1920.
Tasmanian pioneers index, 1803-1899 [CD-ROM and microfiche] indexes birth, death and marriage records for the period. The original registers are held by Archives Office of Tasmania and the State Library holds a microfilm copy.
The index provides registration numbers and Registrar-Generals Department pre-1900 births, deaths and marriages records (MFA 929.3946 1985) gives the matching microfilm numbers and provides guidance in searching the film. The handbook is available at the family history desk in the Micrographics area on level 3.
Civil registration commenced in Tasmania in 1838. The only records before this were church records. Some of these have been copied by the Registrar-General from before 1838, and after 1838 when civil records were missing.
Colonial Tasmanian Family Links database links individuals with other members of their families living in Tasmania in the 19th Century. It should be cross-checked with the Pioneer Index for accuracy.
See New South Wales for the period until 1859.
Queensland Family History Society cemetery index [microfilm] (MFL 016.9293943) contains a number of churchyard cemetery records from around Queensland however it is not a comprehensive listing.
The Records and Archives Centre, Anglican Diocese of Brisbane, has produced an Index to marriages Diocese of Brisbane, 1843-1910 with a guide to the index [microfiche ] (MFC 929.3099431 1999). Contact the Records and Archives Centre - Diocese of Brisbane for information on access to the records.
Roman Catholic Parish register indexes [microfiche] (MFC 929.3943 199-) are catalogued individually by the particular church name and suburb or town.
To obtain a copy of the original records contact Genealogical Society of Queensland. Information is provided at a cost of $5.50 per record.
The Brisbane Hebrew Congregation's Register of births, deaths and marriages 1861-1946 [microfilm] (Film 0149) has some name entries in Hebrew.
The John Oxley Library’s (JOL) manuscripts collection holds limited Lutheran Church of Australia records for Pimpama, Alberton and Norwell (reference code OM77-29). It also includes some records for the St John’s Lutheran Church, Ipswich (reference code OM78-12); St Peters Lutheran Church, Beenleigh parish (reference code OM77-62); and the United German and Scandinavian Lutheran Synod of Queensland (reference code OM74-14).
The Historical and Records Committee, Presbyterian Church of Queensland has:
- An index compiled from all known baptismal registers (as at 30.04.2002) for the Presbyterian Church of Queensland 1845-1920 [microfiche] (MFC 929.3943 2002) and
- An index of all known marriage registers with the addition of some taken from other sources (as at 30.04.2001) for the Presbyterian Church of Queensland 1849-1920 [microfiche] (MFC 929.3943 2001).
It is necessary to contact the Presbyterian Church Office for a copy of their original records. Information is provided at a cost of $11 per request.
The JOL manuscripts collection holds Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Queensland records. The records include Minutes, Communion Rolls, Marriage and Baptismal Registers, Cradle Roll and Kirk Sessions. The conditions for access are as follows: Unrestricted access to records more than 20 years old; baptismal, marriage and burial registers are restricted in accordance with the Registrar General's Office, Queensland.
Records of births, deaths and marriages 1829-1861 [microfilm] (MFL 929.3941 1990), Reel 214. The film covers Anglican records only. Check the handbook Access to ancestors: guide to part 1: a research kit of resources in the State Archives of Western Australia (MFA 929.3941 1990), held at the family history desk in the Micrographics area on Level 3, for further information.
Birth and baptism records of the Parish of St. John's Anglican Church at Pinjarra [microfiche] (MFC 929.39412 1991) includes marriage and burial records for the parish of St. John's Anglican Church, Pinjarra.
Records of baptisms administered in the church at the Kingsley Fairbridge Farm School near Pinjarra as part of the parish of Pinjarra [microfiche] (MFC 929.39412 1990).
Birth and baptism records collected from the Catholic Church at Pinjarra [microfiche] (MFC 929.39412 199-).
Baptisms September 1840-May 1999 [CD-ROM] (QCFS 929.3941 2002).