Victorian Genealogy

Finding People and Places in Victoria, Australia.

 


Church, Synagogue and Religious Records

 

Also see Clergymen and Ministers of Religion.

For religious cemeteries see Cemetery and Crematoria Records.

For denominational or religious schools see School Records.

 

 

OVERVIEW

Religious records may include baptism or birth registers, first communion records, confirmation records, marriage records such as marriage banns, marriage licences and marriage declarations and burial or funeral records. Other records may include congregation lists and Sunday school members.

The names of church officials such as priests, clergymen or rabbis, lay readers, organists, trustees, church or synagogue committee members and synod delegates may be found in religious records. There are also the records of religious societies including monks and nuns. Records may be held in a local church or synagogue. They may also be held in a local area archives or national archives.


CHURCH AND SYNAGOGUE RECORDS

For church and synagogue records before 1853 see Birth Records, Death Records or Marriage Records.

Victoria's Early Church Records are on CD-ROM 1836-1853. This includes extra records from 1803-1906. Despite being called Early Church Records, it includes synagogue records and civil registration records 1853-1854. These are not online.

 

FAMILYSEARCH - AUSTRALIA, BIRTHS AND BAPTISMS 1792-1981

An index to records held by the Genealogical Society of Utah is searchable on their FamilySearch website. This has births and baptisms from New South Wales and Victoria. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1770729


FAMILYSEARCH - AUSTRALIA, MARRIAGES 1810-1980

An index to records held by the Genealogical Society of Utah is searchable on their FamilySearch website. This has marriages from New South Wales and Victoria. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1770858


FAMILYSEARCH - AUSTRALIA, DEATHS AND BURIALS, 1816-1810

An index to records held by the Genealogical Society of Utah is searchable on their FamilySearch website. This has deaths and burials from New South Wales and Victoria. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed.

https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/1770857

 

FAMILYSEARCH - CHURCH RECORDS

FamilySearch has microfilmed church records. They are in the process of digitizing all their microfilm records. Some are yet to be digitized; some can be seen online; some can be seen at FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries (in Melbourne these are the Genealogical Society of Victoria and the Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies) and some can be seen at Family History Centres (Mormon Libraries).The following are available online and are included on the International Genealogical Index unless indicated:

https://www.familysearch.org/en/

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA - MILESTONES

This has indexes and digitised church records online in its Milestones database. Church records included:

https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

 

GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA - GENEALOGICAL INDEX OF NAMES (GIN)

This has indexes and digitised church records online in its Genealogical Index of Names database. Church records included:

  • Geelong Gaelic Church building fund: list of subscriptions [1859]
  • https://www.gsv.org.au/article/our-collection

     

    ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ST.PETER'S EASTERN HILL, BAPTISMS 1848-1915

    St. Peter's Anglican Church is in East Melbourne. This is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60584

     

    ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ST.PETER'S EASTERN HILL, MARRIAGES 1848-1955

    St. Peter's Anglican Church is in East Melbourne. This is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=9732


    ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ST.PETER'S EASTERN HILL, CONFIRMATIONS 1872-1955

    St. Peter's Anglican Church is in East Melbourne. This is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60586


    ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ST.PETER'S EASTERN HILL, BURIALS 1848-1989

    St. Peter's Anglican Church is in East Melbourne. This is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=60585


    ANCESTRY - VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA, ST.PETER'S EASTERN HILL, SELECTED RECORDS, 1848-1998

    St. Peter's Anglican Church is in East Melbourne. The selected records include day school records 1897-1930, confirmation classes book 1892-1915, pew rent books 1848-1884 and photographs 1851-1960. The collection may be browsed.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=9733

     

    NUNS AND SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA 1838-1918

    For the purposes of historical research or family history an alphabetical index of women who either became nuns in Australia, or who arrived in Australia as nuns has been compiled. The index consists of approximately 14,000 entries and is the result of contributions from more than fifty Religious Orders or Congregations.

    https://web.stbedes.catholic.edu.au/Other/nuns/index.html

     

    AUSTRALIAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY - AUSTRALIAN JEWISH MARRIAGE INDEX 1832-1940

    These include the congregation where the marriage took place and full date of marriage.

    https://www.ajhs.com.au/marriages-up-to-1940/

     

    FAMILYSEARCH - KNOWLES COLLECTION

    This includes more than 21,000 Jewish genealogical records for the South Pacific area. It is located under "Genealogies". It is included under "Community Trees" and this should be selected at the bottom of the page for a more focused search.

    https://www.familysearch.org/search/family-trees/

     

    RELIGIOUS ARCHIVES, MUSEUMS, LIBRARIES AND HISTORICAL SOCIETIES

     

    ANGLICAN CHURCH

    Victoria is divided up into five dioceses: Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wangaratta and Gippsland. Each diocese has a website with contact details. The websites list churches and parishes within their area and include contact details.

     

    ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

    https://www.melbourneanglican.org.au/

     

    ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF BENDIGO - DIOCESAN ARCHIVES

    This may be contacted through their Registry Office.

    www.bendigoanglican.org.au/registry-office/

     

    ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF WANGARATTA

    They have deposited records in Charles Sturt University Regional Archives, Wagga Wagga New South Wales. Its holdings include registers of baptisms, marriages and burials for the following churches:

     

    MOLLISON LIBRARY, TRINITY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

    Trinity College Library houses the Mollison Library, the provincial library of the Anglican Church of Victoria. The library has a significant collection of theological works.

    www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/learning/resources/library.html


    ANGLICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

    https://cathedral.org.au/cathedral/history/anglican-historical-society/


    BAPTIST CHURCH

     

    BAPTIST UNION OF VICTORIA ARCHIVES

    These are housed at the Baptist Union of Victoria Offices.

    www.buv.com.au

    A list of Baptist church websites in Victoria is included on the website.

     

    VICTORIAN BAPTIST HISTORICAL SOCIETY

    https://www.buv.com.au/good-news-stories/the-victorian-baptist-historical-society-vbhs-who-we-are-what-we-do-and-why-we-do-it/


    CHURCH OF CHRIST

     

    THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN VICTORIA AND TASMANIA

    www.churchesofchrist.org.au

    This website includes a list of Church of Christ church websites in Victoria.

     

    CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF VICTORIA

    See Uniting Church.

     

    LUTHERAN CHURCH

     

    LUTHERAN ARCHIVES, ADELAIDE

    This is the main archive for Lutheran Church records.

    www.lca.org.au/departments/ministry-support/lutheran-archives

     

    TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH, EAST MELBOURNE

    They operate an archive for their church records.

    https://en.kirche.org.au/congregational-life/the-archives/

     

    METHODIST CHURCH

    See Uniting Church.


    ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

    Victoria is divided up into the Archdiocese of Melbourne and three other dioceses: Ballarat, Sandhurst and Sale. Each diocese has a website with contact details. Religious orders have their own archives.


    CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

    https://melbournecatholic.org/

    Sacramental records are found in individual churches. As well as its own records, St Patrick's Cathedral holds some baptism and marriage records for the following churches:

     

    MELBOURNE DIOCESAN HISTORICAL COMMISSION

    This holds records regarding the administration of the Archdiocese. It holds general material about Melbourne parishes and about some Catholic agencies and institutions. It does not hold the records of individuals except for Father Linane's Priests A to Z Series. This comprises biographical information about all priests who have served in dioceses throughout Australia and who were ordained prior to 1900.

    https://melbournecatholic.org/about/our-heritage/historical-records/

     

    GOOLD CATHOLIC MUSEUM: MUSEUM OF THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE

    This is managed by the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission, whose brief is to collect, house and provide public access to material relating to the history of the Church in Victoria. The Collection comprises liturgical objects, vestments, artefacts, furniture, documents, artworks, statues and personal memorabilia.

    https://melbournecatholic.org/about/our-heritage/historical-records/


    CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF SANDHURST - ARCHIVES OFFICE

    This is the diocese for the Bendigo area.

    https://www.sandhurst.catholic.org.au/archives

     

    CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF SALE - DIOCESAN ARCHIVES

    https://www.cdsale.org.au/archives


    CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BALLARAT

    www.ballarat.catholic.org.au

     

    BALLARAT DIOCESAN HISTORICAL COMMISSION

    This holds many historical records regarding the administration of the Diocese.  It holds general materials about Ballarat parishes and about some Catholic Agencies and Institutions.  With a few exceptions, it does not hold records of individuals.


    AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC.

    http://www.australiancatholichistoricalsociety.com.au/

     

    SALVATION ARMY


    SALVATION ARMY HERITAGE CENTRE, AUSTRALIA SOUTHERN TERRITORY

    https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/Who-We-Are/History-and-heritage/

     

    SYNAGOGUES


    AUSTRALIAN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY

    http://www.ajhs.info/


    UNITING CHURCH

    The Uniting Church in Australia was formed in 1977 when Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational (or Independent) Churches amalgamated; only two thirds of Presbyterian Churches joined.


    UNITING CHURCH ARCHIVES

    https://victas.uca.org.au/resources/synod-archives/

    Some of the photographic holdings of the United Church Archives can be seen on the Victorian Collections website.

     

    UNITING CHURCH NATIONAL HISTORY SOCIETY

    The Uniting Church National History Society (UCNHS) was formed to preserve and promote the historical journey of the Uniting Church in Australia and its predecessor churches.

    https://assembly.uca.org.au/history

     

    CONGREGATIONAL UNION OF VICTORIA

    They have donated their records to the State Library of Victoria and they are held in the Manuscript Collection.

     

    BUILDINGS AND LAND

    For Buildings see Building Records.

    Until 1870 the state funded the building of churches so records of these payments may be found in government records; it should be noted that not all religions were accepting of state aid.

     

    CHURCHES

     

    AUSTRALASIA CHURCH ALBUMS

    This has photographes of churches in Australia and New Zealand.

    https://www.ausbdm.org/album.php

     

    AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCH HISTORIES

    A portal for historical information on Australian Christian Churches. This site contains a contemporary collection of over 2,000 Australian Christian churches and over 16,000 clergy names. There is a searchable database which includes (where available) the date the church was built, identification of the architect and builders, a list of clergy, the dates they served and details pertaining to certain specific fixtures.

    http://www.churchhistories.net.au/

     

    LAND

    Crown land was reserved by the government for church or synagogue purposes. The appointment of trustees for this land may be found in Victorian Government Gazettes. See Government Gazettes.

    If the church or synagogue land remained Crown land a Crown Reserves correspondence file number may be obtained from the Parish Plan. See Plans. The Crown Reserves correspondence file at the Public Record Office Victoria will hold correspondence relating to the land.

    If the church or synagogue land was alienated ie a Crown Grant was made to the trustees see Land Records.


    NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES

    Many religious organizations published newspapers and copies of these are held at the State Library of Victoria and the National Library of Australia.


    Anglican Church - The Church of England Messenger 1869-1905

    Roman Catholic Church - The Advocate 1868-1954

    Methodist Church - Spectator and Methodist Chronicle 1914-1918

    Jewish Newspapers include

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/


    FINDMYPAST - AUSTRALIAN LUTHERAN 1913-1966

    The Australian Lutheran was the nationwide magazine for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia (ELCA). It is searchable.

    https://search.findmypast.com.au/search-world-Records/australian-lutheran


    BOOKS

    ANCESTRY - BENEDICTINE PIONEERS IN AUSTRALIA, VOLUME 1

    Henry Norbert Birt, O.S.B. Benedictine Pioneers in Australia, Volume 1. London: Herbert and Daniel, 1911. This may be browsed and it is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=30263

     

    ANCESTRY - BENEDICTINE PIONEERS IN AUSTRALIA, VOLUME 2

    Henry Norbert Birt. Benedictine Pioneers in Australia, Volume 2. London: Herbert and Daniel, 1911. This may be browsed and it is searchable.

    https://search.ancestry.com.au/search/db.aspx?dbid=30264

     

     

     

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