Author: Public Record Office Victoria

Newly transferred to our collection is a series of early church records of baptisms, marriages and burials 1836 to 1873.

Official government registration of births, deaths and marriages commenced in 1853. Prior to this, records were kept by churches and after 1853 they were required to be sent to the Registrar-General’s Office (though it’s believed that not all churches complied with this provision and that many records were either destroyed or remained with the churches).



Information that can be found within the baptism records include name of the child, date of baptism, who performed the ceremony, parish location, parents' names, parents' abode and professions among other details. Baptism records are arranged in numerical order by registration number.


book of baptisms
In the Wesleyan Presbyterian Baptisms, Births and Marriages, this page shows the baptisms from the Geelong Chapel including columns when baptised, when born, child’s name, parents’ names, abode, profession, and by whom the ceremony was performed.


page of baptisms
In the first row of this page you can see the baptism of William Albert on the 29th of April 1841, born 7 March 1841, parents Ambrose and Rose Draper, Shoemakers from Geelong.



Information recorded for marriages includes name of church, date of service, minister’s name, names of bride and groom as well as occupations, residences and parents’ names  and signatures of both parties and celebrant. Marriage records are arranged in numerical order by the registration number.


page of marriages
In the Wesleyan Presbyterian Marriages, this page shows four marriages from the Melbourne Wesleyan Church. The first is between George Johnson and Mary Ann Henshall.



Within the burial records you will find full name of deceased, date and place of death, cause of death, residence, date of service, age of deceased, profession, name of chaplain, location of parish among other details. Burial records are also arranged in numerical order by registration number.


two books


Ordering these records

These records would be of interest to family researchers wanting confirmation around dates of birth and death, names of family members including maiden names, living locations and occupations of the people who appear in the records. 

The records are available to order and view in our North Melbourne Reading Room here.

Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples