On this page
- Church histories
- Church registers
- Information about specific denominations
- Salvation Army
- Lodge records
Church histories and records can contain background information about life in an area at a particular period of history, as well as details of clergy associated with it. The resources may not list details on specific people, but can be of use to fill in the background of your ancestors' lives.
Church histories can contain background information about life in a particular geographic area at a particular period of history, as well as photos of a particular church and details of clergy associated with it.
Most denominations have published centennial church histories. The Aotearoa New Zealand Centre has histories from throughout New Zealand but concentrates on works for the Canterbury area. (These are currently unavailable)
Search the following subject headings to find general resources on churches and clergy in Canterbury:
- Church records and registers - New Zealand - Canterbury
- Church of the Province of New Zealand. Diocese of Christchurch Clergy Registers
- Clergy - New Zealand - Canterbury History
- Canterbury (N.Z.) Church history
The Family History Centre, Central Library Manchester holds extensive but not comprehensive card transcripts of baptism, burial and marriage registers from local churches.
Information about specific denominations
For a full list of Anglican histories in Christchurch check the subject heading: Church of England - New Zealand - Christchurch.
Two larger works celebrating the centennials of the various Anglican dioceses are:
Both include appendices which give the histories of the various parishes within the diocese. If the name of the officiating priest cannot be deciphered these may help.
- M. Blain Clergy in the diocese of Christchurch, 1850-1890
- M. Blain Clergy in the diocese of Christchurch, 1890-1925
The above are 'Occasional papers of the Archives Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch'. They contain biographical information about members of the clergy during the H. J. C. Harper and Churchill Julius episcopates. The works explain where clergymen were born and educated, what posts they held and where they died.
- M. Blain, Clergy in the diocese of Wellington, 1839-1894
- M. Blain, Clergy in the diocese of Auckland, 1814-1868
The Blain Biographical Directory of Anglican Clergy in the Pacific gives biographical information on clergy and deaconesses of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Polynesia, and Melanesia. Details of spouses are also included. For privacy reasons the cut-off date is an ordination date in 1930 and no living people are included.
Anglican Church Archives
The collection of Anglican Archives includes local parish histories and the periodicals New Zealand church news and Church news. See Anglican Archives for information on their resources and contact details.
Check the subject heading: Methodist Church - New Zealand - Christchurch
For a full list of church histories for Methodist churches in Christchurch check the subject heading: Methodist Church - New Zealand - Christchurch History
- W. Morley, History of Methodism in New Zealand
- Published in 1900 this book has sections on the different provinces and the circuits (parishes) within the provinces. There are brief histories of the circuits and mini-biographies of clergymen, with photographs of churches, school and clergymen.
Other books which contain useful background information are:
- W. Chambers, Our yesteryears 1840-1950, being a short history of Methodism in Canterbury
- W. J. Williams, Centenary sketches of New Zealand Methodism 1922
- William F. F. Thomas, Free Methodists in colonial Christchurch 2001
A thesis which contains information about Free Methodism (a branch of the Wesleyan Communion) and about individuals within that communion.
Methodist Church Archives
At the Christchurch Methodist Archives there are records relating to churches, church members and Sunday schools as well as some baptismal and marriage registers and a collection of church newspapers.
- Canterbury Methodist Churches A comprehensive list of church buildings with brief history, address and other names used.
Check the subject heading: Presbyterian Church - New Zealand - Christchurch
For a full list of church histories for Presbyterian churches in Christchurch check the subject heading: Presbyterian Church - New Zealand - Christchurch - History.
Presbyterian Church Archives
Contact the Presbyterian Church Archives for further information.
Roman Catholic Church
For a full list of Catholic church histories in Christchurch check the subject heading: Catholic Church - New Zealand - Christchurch
For a list of Canterbury Catholic church histories check the subject heading: Catholic Church - New Zealand - Canterbury
M. O'Meeghan, Held firm by faith
The history of the Roman Catholic diocese of Christchurch. The index names many priests whose names appear in baptisms, marriages and burial registers.
Baptism index [electronic resource] / Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
This Database contains baptism details for individuals baptised in the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch before 31 December 1904. This CD is an index only and should be used as a finding tool aid.
As a general rule, registers of baptisms, marriages and burials are held by the local parishes. In the archives at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament there are early baptisms for Akaroa, Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula, and for Shands Track. Shands Track records were for people from the Rangitata River to Cheviot with the exception of the Christchurch area.
Records of homes for orphans and the aged are held by the institution who runs them or the religious orders which are in charge. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Christchurch does not hold published material.
Roman Catholic Archives
An appointment can be made to visit the Roman Catholic archives. Most information is provided free of charge.
The Salvation Army Archives will make available historical information about people who have been in their care for whatever reason.
They can also provide some information regarding those who have been an officer or otherwise of some note in the Salvation Army, and you may find an obituary in the army’s periodical, the War cry, which is held at the Salvation Army headquarters in Wellington.
Further details, including research fees and contact details, are provided on their website.
Prior to the establishment of social welfare, people belonged to lodges which took sums of money off them when they were well and in work, and gave financial and emotional support when they were ill.
Records of various lodges survive in archives collections throughout the country. Check the The Community Archive to locate records for a specific lodge. They can often provide lists of members, details about those members, and minutes discussing lodge business.