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Accessing Anglican Records

McMaster has records of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial for the Anglican Church’s Diocese of Niagara. This guide is an introduction to this archive and provides directions on how to request material.


Green and Blue map of Niagara Region. Includes Crest of Anglican Church. Text reads Diocese of Niagara


"The Diocese shall maintain an Archives to acquire and preserve records of historical significance in the life of the church in the Diocese, and where appropriate, to make these records available. The Archives shall be located at the Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library in accordance with a memorandum of agreement between McMaster University Library and the Executive Committee of the Synod of the Diocese of Niagara 1975."

- Canon 2.6 "Archives and Archivist", THE CANONS OF THE DIOCESE OF NIAGARA ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA. Published by the Authority of the Synod of the Diocese of Niagara (1975). Current version, Nov. 2021.


The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections holds records of baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial for the Anglican Church’s Diocese of Niagara. These records remain property of the Diocese. McMaster Archives and Research Collections manages the index of the Registers, cares for their preservation through conservation intervention and proper storage, and provides limited access to researchers.

The Diocese of Niagara began its archival program at the Ninth Session of the General Synod held in Hamilton in October 1921. Through a memorandum of agreement between McMaster University and the Executive Committee of the Diocese of Niagara in 1975, the Diocesan Archives have been established in the Mills Memorial Library, at McMaster University. Since that time the records of almost all of the churches in the diocese have been deposited at McMaster, amounting to more than 100 parishes.


Access to the registers of the Diocese may be limited for reasons of conservation and/or confidentiality. All access to the Records of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara is subject to signed agreement, specifying the purpose for which access is requested, and agreeing to the Rules of the Archival Reading Room. Reproductions are for personal use only. Researchers will respect the unpublished nature of the contents of these records, and, in particular, will recognize that disclose of its contents might constitute an invasion of privacy if published in any manner.

For more information, consult our website


For official copies of records, please contact the Diocese directly:

Lorna Shaw, 905.527.9968,


Anglican Records at McMaster University Archives

In Person

Before you arrive, identify which Church and which registers you will want to look at from the listing. If you know when you are visiting, please send us an email letting us know which registers and we will have them ready for you.

When you arrive, we will register you as a researcher and then set you up with your material. Many of the registers are fragile. You may be given microfilm copies to search for your records. Please bring a USB flash drive to save images from the microfilm.


None of the registers are digitally available online. For genealogical requests, staff at the William Ready Division can look up an entry and send a colour pdf, if you can provide the name, date, and parish for the event. For more detailed searches or for further assistance, we recommend you contact the parish directly, or try the local Ontario Genealogical Society.

How to find a Baptism, Marriage, or Burial record 

When searching for genealogical records, it is recommended to have as much detail information as possible to narrow your search prior to accessing archival material. I.e., Person's Name - Date of Birth/Baptism, Marriage, and/or Death - Location - Church Name. The records of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara held by McMaster Archives are organized by church. 

  1. Anglican records are listed here: Records of the Diocese and Individual Churches 

  1. Churches are listed by city/municipality, alphabetically. E.g. 'H' for Hamilton, Ont. 

  1. Click on the church the rite was performed in. E.g. St. John the Evangelist - Hamilton, Ont.

  1. Locate the listing of registers. Find the section for the rite you are looking for eg. Marriage.

  1. Identify the register that has the relevant date range. 

  1. Record the register (e.g. Register C) and the microfilm number (e.g. Microfilm 221). There are multiple registers on each reel and it will make it easier to find the one you want with both pieces of information. 

What if I don’t know the church? 

  1. If you know the general location, use the map to locate nearby churches. 

  1. If there are more than one churches in the location, check the dates the church operated for those that fit your timeframe. There might only have been one or two active parishes at the time. 

  2. If you don't know the general location, try pursuing other genealogical sources to discover relevant information about the person (census records, city directories, immigration records).


I’m looking for an early church, missions, or chapels of ease in the Diocese 

Get in touch with local churches to discover their histories, or seek out other publications which include the history of churches in Niagara. 

I know the name of the bishop or clergy of the church I am researching

Follow the link below for a list of known clergy-people of the Diocese:

Related Resources at Archives and Research Collections


Gladys McAndrew fonds. 1943-1954. Gladys McAndrew was an active member of Christ Church Cathedral in Hamilton, Ontario and was involved with the supply department of the Women's Auxiliary of the Anglican Church (Missions) for Canada and overseas. Fonds consists of correspondence, minutes, receipts, financial statements.


Bulletin (Church of England in Canada. Council for Social Service). no.100 (1939), no.102 (1940). Archives and Research Collections (Mills lower level) - Journals ; BX 5601 .B83

The Niagara Anglican. Anglican Church of Canada. Diocese of Niagara. v.1 (1955)-v.34 (1989). Archives and Research Collections (Mills lower level) - Journals ; BX 5601 .N53

Canadian Churchman. Anglican Church of Canada.; Church of England in Canada. vol.98:no.2 (1972)-v.106:no.10(1980). Archives and Research Collections (Mills lower level) - Journals ; BX 5601 .C3



Church Histories: We hold a small collection of church pamphlets which include historical details of some individual churches. Please contact a staff member to learn more

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