There is no personal access to records for family history research. Family history research is available at the discretion of the archivist and will be dealt with by staff as time permits as church research takes priority.  The Archives staff can only undertake family history research for records from NSW or the ACT. Requests for specific events will be considered with a maximum of two hours research. Charges apply.

Copies of certificates

Transcriptions only will be provided of baptism and marriage certificates. We do not provide photocopies or scans of original entries.

Transcriptions of baptism entries of living persons, as needed for marriage requirements in some churches, can only be provided to the person concerned. Under the Privacy Amendment) Act, baptismal information is “personal information” and may only be provided to the person concerned, or with the written consent of that person, in each case supported by acceptable proof of identity. Bodies requiring evidence of baptism for particular purposes usually require this evidence some time in advance. If the person concerned has not taken this into account, this is not the responsibility of the Archives. Charges apply.

Transcriptions of marriage certificates are not acceptable for legal purposes, including passport applications. Marriage is a civil ceremony and copies of marriage certificates must be obtained from the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriage Registry.


  • The archives hold very few records relating to church burial grounds and cemeteries as these records were requisitioned by the State Government many years ago. Some records are still held by local council bodies but many have not survived.
  • The Archives do not hold a master index to births, deaths and marriages on a similar basis to those at the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. The archives do not hold birth records as such. Our records relate to baptisms only (which include birth dates) in some Presbyterian Churches, and not all registers have survived. We have no central index of baptisms.
  • The NSW Presbyterian Archives does not hold all historical Presbyterian records. In 1977 when the Uniting Church in Australia was formed, some Presbyterian congregations joined the Uniting Church. Some pre-1977 records and registers are in the custody of the Uniting Church. Researchers will therefore need to know precisely which congregation of the Presbyterian Church is relevant to their inquiry. There is no absolute definition as to which records are held in one or other Archive, and in some cases, the records of a particular congregation may be divided between both Archives under existing arrangements.
  • Ministers were not obliged to keep burial registers, although some ministers did. These usually do not record burial sites. There is no central index to burials.
  • Before the commencement of compulsory registration on 01.03.1856, the NSW registers made no provision for family details such as the names, ages, places of birth etc. of parents, deceased persons, and parties to marriages. We therefore cannot assist with this information. Pre-1856 registers have been microfilmed and are accessible as part of the “Genealogical Research Kit” held in major public and family history libraries.
  • From the commencement of compulsory registration until 1895, the official marriage and death registers provided for the inclusion of the details set out above, but many clergy did not complete all details on the copies submitted to the Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages. Clergy did however quite often include these details in the church copies of the registers, and if these details appear in the church registers, we are able to provide a transcription of the original.  Many (but not all) marriage registers held by the Registry were later checked against the original church registers events after 01.03.1856. Where additional information appeared in the church register, this was added to the “official” copy in the Registry. Where this check was made, there is a notation in the right hand margin of the Registry copy of the certificate, and an official stamp certifying that this was done.  We cannot provide further information where this stamp appears.