Family History – Church Registers General Information


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.
St Peter's Anglican Church, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. 1928
St Peter's Anglican Church, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. 1928

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 [192 KB PDF].

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


  • 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.


For further details see Baptismal registersMarriage registers or Burial registers.

Holdings of original registers

Opening of the Roman Catholic church at Oaro, Hundalee 1906
Opening of the Roman Catholic church at Oaro, Hundalee 1906

Aotearoa New Zealand Centre does hold some original registers and these will all be noted on our catalogue.

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