Welcome To 

The First Church of Otago

Genealogy Database

Introduction :

The First Church of Otago in Dunedin New Zealand was established in 1848 upon the arrival of the Rev Thomas Burns and the first of the Free Church of Scotland immigrants. The rolls of this historic Church are now a valuable resource for research into early families within Dunedin and the Province of Otago. Please access the rolls at the bottom of this page. We trust that you find this information useful.

About The Database :

First Church of Otago Marriage Rolls :

  • The database lists all marriages from 1848 to 1920. The database includes the full names of the Bride & Groom, ages (if known) and date the marriage took place.
First Church of Otago Communicant Rolls :
  • The database lists the names, address (if known) and entry dates for all Communicant members of the First Church of Otago in Dunedin from 1848 to 1870. 
First Church of Otago Baptism Rolls :
  • There are two seperate databases, firstly for baptisms performed from 1848 to 1870, and secondly, for baptisms performed from 1867 to 1904. There is a 'crossover' of entries and some names for the period 1867 to 1870 may appear in both databases. The databases list the full name, year of birth and register number for all baptisms for the First Church of Otago.  

Additional Information :

The Marriage Rolls -

Marriage records may contain the following information : 

1) Marriage Certificates 1848 to 1880 : 

As a general rule, information included on certificates to 1880 will include : 

  • The marriage number in the Parish Register
  • Date and place of marriage 
  • Full name of the Groom 
  • Full name of the Bride
  • Ages ("full age" was often entered to indicate that they were over 21 years of age)
  • Rank, occupation or profession
  • If a widow or widower (maiden name is sometimes mentioned including date when first spouse died)
  • If Banns took place prior to marriage (proclamation in Church of intention to marry) - relates to very early marriages only.
  • Name of officiating Minister
  • Names, occupations and addresses of two witnesses. 
  • Signatures of all parties
  • If the marriage was later dissolved including the date. 
2) Marriage Certificates 1880 to 1920 : 

Subsequent to the passing of "The Marriage Act 1880" in September 1880, marriage certificates from this date may include the following additional information : 

  • Birthplaces of the Bride & Groom
  • Present and usual residence of the Bride and Groom
  • Name and occupation of the Father Groom
  • Name and maiden name of the Mother of the Bride
As a general rule, most marriages until well into the 20th century took place in a private residence rather than in a Church. 

The Communicant Rolls -

Roll records may contain any of the following additional information :

  • Full name of the Church member 
  • Date of profession of faith
  • Their occupation
  • If they held an Office Bearers position
  • Date of admittance to Communicant membership of First Church
  • The name of the Minister who certified them for entry
  • If they had transferred from another Parish (including the name of that Parish), Remarks, such as which denomination they belonged to at their previous Parish, which Country they emigrated from (if any), and occasionally other pertinent remarks. 
Baptism Rolls -

Roll entries may include the following :

  • Full name of the child baptised
  • Name of the Father
  • Occupation of the Father
  • Name of the Mother
  • Full date of birth 
  • The name of the Minister who performed the Baptism
  • The Baptism roll number in the register 
Ordering Copies or Transcripts of the Full Original Entries -

Photocopies of the original marriage certificates or transcripts of the original entries in the Communicant and Baptism rolls, are available from the Presbyterian Church Archives at a cost of NZD$20.00. Documents will be scanned and sent attached to an email. If you wish a paper copy please ask about the cost of postage. All amounts quoted include NZ Government Goods & Services Tax of 12.5%

Payment by Credit Card :

We welcome payments by Visa, Mastercard [Access], and American Express. Your credit card details will be fully encrypted during processing by the "PayPal" secure server. At no stage are your credit card details divulged either to ourselves or any third party. Please note that payments made via "PayPal" will incur a fee of 3.4% on the total transaction amount up to NZD$99.99 and 3% for all amounts over NZD$100.00 This is to partially cover 'Paypal' transaction fees and will add around NZD .53 cents to the cost of one certificate or transcript. The total amount payable will be quoted prior to 'checkout'.

Payment by Cheque :

Please make cheque payable to "The Historical Records Committee" and post to :

The Research Assistant
Archives Research Centre

Knox College 

Arden Street 


Dunedin 9010

New Zealand

                                         Email : pcanzarchives@knoxcollege.ac.nz

Access The Rolls : (Rolls will open in a new window)


Click HERE to access the full Register of New Zealand Presbyterian Marriages.


Credits :

  • Eleanor Leckie & Janice Poskitt : Transcription of Marriage entries. 
  • Don Pearce : Input of Communicant Roll Data. 
  • Donald Cochrane : Input of Baptism Roll Data, reformatting data & website design. 

© First Church of Otago and The Presbyterian Research Centre of Aotearoa New Zealand 2017.