Family Names

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Searching for Christening records For Walter & Martha Todman's children

To date only one out of a possible seven baptismal records for the children of Walter and Martha have been located.  My cousin tracked the record down for Charlotte Mary Todman, christened on 15 November 1908[i], in a Baptismal Register being held on location at St Matthews Church, Prahran.  Unfortunately at the time of receiving the details of the discovery, many years ago, I was so excited that I didn't think to ask any questions about her process of finding the record other than to make sure that I had the provenance correctly noted.

St Matthews Church, Prahan Image H39357/85
Now, a little bit older and wiser I know I need to clarify a few things:-

1.       When she went to Saint Matthews Church did she only look at one record book? 
2.       Did she look at all the pages of the book? 
3.       Were there other record books available and if so did she manage to have a look at them?
4.        The person who allowed her in to look at the register did they give any further clues as to where else we should look next for those c children that we weren’t to locate?

If only I had thought to ask these questions at the time of receiving the photocopy that she graciously gave me.  I’ve sent her off a query and I hope she remembers enough details to fill in some of the answers.

Meanwhile I've decided to continue to concentrate on trying to trying to track down the baptismal records for the other children.  Although I have not yet found any direct evidence that the other children in the family were baptised there is an indication in a local newspaper report concerning the court case where the judge states "it's a pity you didn't go to church and baptise your baby!” and Martha responds “The child is baptised.”[ii] Martha’s response reveals that at least her eldest child, Martha, was baptised, if not the newly born child at that time, Ivy. 

While conducting my first sweep of my database and the internet for possible clues I also came across a reference to the baptism of Alma Dudley Todman[iii], on Family Search, at Christ Church, South Yarra, another possible location to look for baptisms. 

Christ Church, South Yarra Image H39357/84 

Possible location of the children’s baptisms

It looks as though there are 3 possibilities that will need to be covered:-
Locaton 1 - All Saints Church, Prahran[iv] where  Walter & Martha were married
Location 2 – Christ Church, South Yarra,   according to Family Search[v] this is where Alma Dudley Todman was baptised on 06 Feb 1910.
Location 3 - St Matthew Parish, Prahran as this is where Charlotte Mary Todman was baptised on the 15 November 1908[vi]
All churches were Anglican.

To do List

  1. Need to locate where the Parish Registers are held for all 3 churches, to do this I will Consult Parish registers in Australia : a list of originals, transcripts, microforms & indexes of Australian parish registers / compiled by Nick Vine Hall. To determine where the original records might be kept for the churches.
  2. Consult Title: [Victorian church records] [microform] Series note: IN series (State Library of Victoria) ; 143-144 Contents/Summary:- Christ Church South Yarra, Baptismal register 1855-1946 -- Baptismal register 1857-1914 -- Marriage register 1857-1903.
  3. Continue to search through the Christ Church, Records, 1854-1967. [manuscript]. Held at the SLV Identifier(s): Accession no(s) MS 11250 (8 reviewed so far, another 6 due to arrive at the SLV on the 16 Nov 2015.) includes   Marriage, Baptism records & Marriage records; plus other materials
  4. Identify other Anglican Churches in the area where the family resided for any other potential churches if the above searches yield no results.

[i] (Original Record from the Parish Book photocopy obtained by Andrea Buckley)
[ii] PRAHRAN POLICE COURT. (1895, December 14). The Prahran Telegraph (Vic. : 1889 - 1930), p. 5. Retrieved November 13, 2015, from
[iii] "Australia Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 November 2015), Alma Dudley Todman, 06 Feb 1910; citing ; FHL microfilm 993,809.
[iv] Registry of Birth, Death and Marriages, Victoria, "Certificate of Marriage  Walter Todman & Martha Ellis 16 January 1892 Reference# 345" (Original a in family papers of  Myrtle Sharp.
[v] "Australia Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 November 2015), Alma Dudley Todman, 06 Feb 1910; citing ; FHL microfilm 993,809.
[vi] Baptism Record Charlotte Mary Todman, 15 November 1908, St Matthew Parish, Prahran

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