Baptisms: History and Microfilm Records

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Baptisms 1824–1924

The St James’ baptismal registers record:

  • the name of the person baptised
  • their date of birth, or age
  • the date of baptism
  • their parents’ first names and surname (but not the mother’s maiden name)
  • the father’s profession
  • the family’s place of residence at the date of baptism

The names of godparents or sponsors are not given and there are no details of the parents’ date and place of marriage. Baptisms were sometimes performed privately (at home) if it was thought likely that the child might die before they could be brought to church. The notation ‘PB’ in the registers means ‘Private Baptism’. If the child survived, they would then be ‘received’ into the church at a later date.


St James’ Church was the second Anglican church in Sydney. It was consecrated by the Reverend Samuel Marsden on 11 February 1824 and has been in continuous use as a place of worship since that date.

The baptism, marriage and burial registers of the church are a valuable source of information for family historians. They are however very fragile and, for conservation reasons, are not generally available to researchers; nor may they be photocopied. In order to make these registers available for research, while ensuring their preservation, various records have been microfilmed.

The following St James’ baptism records have been microfilmed:

Baptisms 11 February 1824 to 21 December 1924*

Records after this date are not currently available for general research.

These microfilms are available at:

The Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney

The Society of Australian Genealogists, Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Sydney

The Society of Australian Genealogists’ (SAG) Reel Numbers for the microfilmed St James’ Church records are given for ease of reference and are as follows:


SAG Reel 61 Baptisms 1824–1825

SAG Reel 62 Baptisms 1826–1835

SAG Reel 136 Baptisms May to June 1835

SAG Reel 61 Baptisms 1835–1854

SAG Reel 86 Baptisms 9 July 1854 to 21 December 1924