Heritage

Church registers general information

Transcripts

The Family History Centre, Central Library Manchester, holds extensive but not comprehensive card transcripts of baptism, burial and marriage registers from local churches. Original church register material is transcribed by volunteers who copy the details from the original registers. This is a joint venture by Christchurch City Libraries with the New Zealand Society of Genealogists. Transcripts may be used for family history research and may not be copied or republished in any systematic way without the permission of the churches who own the original registers.

The registers:

  • Cover the period from the 1840s to the 1920s and sometimes beyond.
  • Included are Christchurch, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury inland from the city and north to Cheviot and Amuri.
  • Anglican churches are particularly well-represented but the transcripts include Presbyterian, Methodist and some Catholic records. It is unlikely that further Catholic records will be included.
  • Baptism, marriage and burial registers are transcribed onto cards which are eventually interfiled into one alphabetical index.
  • Before the cards are filed, typed and bound, copies of individual registers are produced. Individual entries can be photocopied from the bound volumes.

In the Family History Centre’s Microfiche and Microfilm centre you will find a list of transcribed registers and a key to the symbols used.

Details on the card index

Each card has a code in the top right hand corner which relates to the church register which has been transcribed. There are guides entitled Explanation to the church register codes sitting with the card index drawers to help you find the name of the church or you can download the Church Register codes [349 KB PDF] here.

Though it will generally be obvious from the contents of the card whether a burial, baptism or marriage is involved, a number follows the three letter code which indicates:

1 = Burial
2 = Baptism
3 = Marriage

Notes

  • Photocopies of entries must be made from the typescripts.
  • The name of the officiating minister appears at the bottom, or up the side of the entry in the cards, or at the end of an entry in a bound volume.
  • If information was added by the officiating minister or a later minister, this is included.
  • Details of divorce are mentioned where noted in the register.
  • If a baptism refers to the death of a child, this is mentioned.
  • If information was included and then crossed out, it is mentioned if it seems to be of interest.

Omissions

For further details see Baptismal registers, Marriage registers or Burial registers.

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Holdings of original registers

Aotearoa New Zealand Centre does hold some original registers, including most of the Presbyterian registers for the Canterbury and West Coast regions, and these will all be noted on our catalogue.

Please contact the following organisations for further information about original registers:

Presbyterian archives

Hewitson Archives staff have designated Christchurch City Libraries as the repository for Presbyterian archives which relate to Canterbury and the West Coast. The collection is incomplete but what is available is listed on our catalogue. Records include minutes, receipt books and Sunday School registers as well as baptism, marriage and burial information.

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