Hidden Histories - Jason Gunn - Day 3

Jason's maternal side of the family has a long history
in Christchurch and Canterbury.
The earliest marriage we could find was in 1856 in Lyttelton.
Imagine what Lyttelton looked like then. 


The Bones Part 2

Church Records - Baptisms, Marriages & Burial's

Baptism’s, Marriages and Burials give us more information about our ancestors and in particular what religion they may have been.

We’re really lucky in Christchurch as the Christchurch Library in Manchester Street has the Canterbury Church Register collection. This is a card index to baptisms, marriages and burials in Canterbury. From the index cards you can then consult a book of transcriptions of the parish registers put together by volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists – Canterbury Branch.

The information that can be found varies depending on the church, the date of the record and even the minister at the time. These are also historical records so most of the records are pre 1930. However, in general you will find the following information.

Baptism registers:

  • Date of Birth
  • Date of Baptism
  • Parents Names
  • Fathers Occupation
  • Sponsors Names (Godparents) – sometimes family members
  • Name of the Minister

Marriage registers – note these are the same details that you would find on a marriage certificate:

  • Date of Marriage
  • Place of Marriage:
  • Names of the Bride and Groom
  • Age & Status (Bachelor, Spinster, Widower, Widow)
  • Occupation
  • Witnesses – sometimes family members
  • Bride & Groom Birthplace (after 1880)
  • Bride & Groom Residence (after 1880)
  • Bride & Groom Parents details, including mother’s maiden name and father’s occupation (after 1880)

Burial registers:

  • Date of Death
  • Date of Burial
  • Next of Kin
  • Marital Status
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Name of the Minister

Outside of Canterbury

If you’re looking for church records outside of Canterbury then you should first know which church or denomination (Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian etc.) you need to contact.

Archives for each church are held in different places and have differing levels of accessibility. More recent records are often held at the individual church and older records at the archive for that religion.

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