Diocesan Archives generally collect records created as a result of the administrative work of the offices and officers of each Diocese. These records can fall into three broad groups:
  • records created by the Bishop's Office (Bishop, Registry and Archdeacons records);
  • records created by parishes and churches within the Diocese (both closed & current);
  • records created by Diocesan organisations, departments and units, such as the Diocesan Synod, Standing Committee and many other diocesan administrative bodies.
The Sydney Diocesan Archives has a collection of records created by the offices & officers of the Diocese of Sydney, in the pursuit of their administrative duties, since 1836, the year in which the Diocese of Australia was created. From 1847 onwards, other dioceses were created in Australia. From the time of their creation, each diocese became responsible for their own administrative records. Each diocese cares for its own archival records, via the Diocesan Registry. There is no central Anglican Archive in Australia.

Diocesan archives may have substantial holdings of parish and church records but not all of the parish and church registers created within the Diocese may be deposited with the archives. Many parish and church records can remain in the custody of the parish offices, particularly in the case of the very early churches.

For family history research concerning births, deaths & marriages (BDM) you should always commence your search with the records of the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages, as compulsory civil registration commenced in 1856. This date may vary between State and Territories. For BDM records prior to 1856, information was collected and copied from church records. The level of detail is dependent upon the level of details required by the church and in some cases this was minimal. For BDM records from 1856 onwards, the level of detail is determined by the government requirements and is therefore more detailed than prieviously required by the Church. The officiating minister or celebrant is responsible for supplying the relevant data to the Registrar of BDM on the relevant form.

The Society of Australian Genealogists provides an expert and specialist family history service, and holds microfilms of records of churches of all denominations throughout Australia and overseas. The SAG sells copies of their microfilms to historical societies and libraries. These microfilms are available for viewing through offices of the SAG, who can be contacted at:

Society of Australian Genealogists
Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: 02-9247-3953
fax: 02-9241-4872
website: www.sag.org.au
email: info@sag.org.au

Diocesan Archives generally do not provide a family history research service.

Information made available by Dr Louise Trott, Sydney Diocesan Archivist.