Management of church records – what you need to know

Published on: 12 February 2015

We are often asked by parishes what they should do with various church records. In short, it depends on what they are!

There are certain documents that we must keep. These items would normally be kept in a secure location (such as the parish safe):

Must keep

  • Registers of baptisms, marriages, burials, banns, confirmations and services
  • Terriers, inventories, logbooks and faculties
  • Signed copies of PCC minutes and sub committees
  • Annual accounts of the PCC

Some items should not be kept and these include:

  • Baptism and marriage certificate counterfoils
  • Copies of burial and banns certificates
  • Applications for banns or baptisms.

Originals may be deposited with the Diocesan Record Office (at Norfolk Record Office) if photocopies are kept for use in the parish.

We all need to be aware that paper documents do not cope well with cold and damp conditions. Ideally they should be stored in a stable climate.

If your church is cold/damp or both (!) then your original documents may be better deposited in the Diocesan Record Office.

Full guidance can be found in the Church of England publication ‘Keep or Bin?’. Download here.

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