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Church records were kept locally. You must know your ancestor’s religion and the town where he or she lived. You must also determine the parish of your ancestor’s town so that you will know which registers to search. For information on finding a parish, go to Australia Gazetteers. Australia Church Directories also gives information about finding a parish.
There are books available that will help you locate church records. The following book lists the various denominations by town and indicates where the records are held:
Vine Hall, Nick. Parish Registers in Australia : A list of all known originals, transcripts, microforms & indexes of Australian Parish Registers. Middle Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1989. (Family History Library Call Number 994 K23vh.)
Records at the Family History Library. The Family History Library has some Australian church records on microfilm and microfiche. They are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
AUSTRALIA - CHURCH RECORDS AUSTRALIA - CHURCH RECORDS - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS AUSTRALIA, [STATE] - CHURCH RECORDS AUSTRALIA, [STATE] - CHURCH RECORDS - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS AUSTRALIA, [STATE], [TOWN] - CHURCH RECORDS
Records Not at the Family History Library. Copies of church records for the various states for the pre-civil registration time period were given to each state’s registrar general and are often kept in the state archives. 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
After civil registration began, many church records were kept in local custody. Others are found in state repositories and church archives. For the address of a given church, see Australia Church Records / Directories. The following is a good directory to use in locating church archives:
- Ansell, L. J. Register of Church Archives in Australia. Church Archivists Society. [Australia]: Downs Printing Company, Pty. Limited, Toowoomba, Australia. 1982. (Family History Library Call Number 994 K23r.)
For information on state repositories, see Australia Archives and Libraries.
Indexes to Church Records
There are two excellent indexes to church records. The Thomas D. Mutch Index (called The Mutch Index) is a card index of birth, marriage, and death entries compiled from parish registers. Though it covers later time periods, it is most effective for the pre-1830 time frame. The Kerrison James Index covers pre-1830 christenings, marriages, and burials copied from English church records.
For several years, various states have worked to produce Pioneer Indexes, which include some parish registers in addition to civil registration records. To learn more about these indexes, see Australia Civil Registration.
To find indexes that are available at the Family History Library, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
AUSTRALIA, [STATE] - CHURCH RECORDS - INDEXES
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