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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - Parish Records in England and Wales
Article posted: June 11, 1999
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles


Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths; parish registers and census returns are the three most accessed research sources for genealogists researching in England and Wales. The last two issues of English and Welsh Roots focussed on Civil Registration. This issue of English Roots will discuss one of the primary sources for researching centuries of your families in England and Wales - Parish Records. Regardless of your families religious affiliation, if you are tracing your ancestors over the past 400 years in England or Wales, you will find them at some point in the Church of England parish records. An extensive amount of information about our families can be found in parish records. However, researchers must do their homework and acquire a basic understanding of the records.

The discussion of parish records in this issue will focus on Church of England records. These Anglican records, however, do not represent all church records. Despite social pressures, persecution and even being ostracized by their communities, many people remained staunch Catholics while others practised a variety of Protestant Nonconformity. However, researchers should be aware that even families with a history of ardent opposition to the Church of England will have a good portion of their history recorded in parish registers (especially before the late 1700s). A more detailed examination of Catholic and non-conformist records will be undertaken in later issues of the Gazette.

The Historical Development of Parish Registers and Records - An Overview:

The following time line is given to provide researchers with some knowledge of the parish records that were required to be kept (or not) during different periods of English history. The importance of understanding the history of an area or country becomes quite obvious in the following overview because of the direct relationship between historic events and legislation and parish record keeping. Ever wondered why there is suddenly a large gap in the parish register? Read the time line below for a possible historic explanation.

1538: Thomas Cromwell, Vicar General to Henry VIII, ordered clergy to keep written records of baptisms, marriages and burials. This does not mean that all parish registers start in 1538 and there is no assurance that such early registers survive to this day. Before 1538 monks kept some notes of events primarily for the families of nobility and the wealthy. Cromwell's order in 1538 required that records be kept for all people! It is important to keep in mind that clergy were not happy having to co-operate with the government - unpaid! As a result, many could not be bothered to comply with Cromwell's order or if they did, recorded events only sporadically.

1598: The Provincial Constitution of Canterbury required that all parish registers should be made of parchment. This meant that all earlier entries (many of which had been written on scraps of paper or in paper registers) needed to be copied into the new registers. As a result of dampness, poor storage and general decay, some of the earlier entries that had been recorded on paper were completely unreadable. It is not surprising then, that many registers do not actually begin until 1558. The original paper registers from the earlier years rarely survive. In those parishes where the original paper records/registers survive, additional information can often be found.

1598: From the year 1598, the incumbent clergy of each parish were required annually to send a complete copy of the previous year's parish register entries to the Bishop. These copies are known today by researchers as Bishops' Transcripts (BTs for short). Some parishes had already been submitting copies to the Bishop. As a result we find very early BTs for the Berkshire parish of Faringdon beginning in 1589. As with any "copied" record, the accuracy of the transcription depended on the person making the copy. Some BTs are a true copy of the parish register entries, some are not. When comparing the parish registers to the BTs researchers will sometimes find more detail in the parish register while some BTs have detail added that is not in the register. Where both the registers and the BTs survive, researchers would be well advised to compare both. The true value of BTs is that they will help you to fill in gaps where parish register entries are missing.

1644/5: Orders were given to improve the detail kept in parish registers - for example, the date of birth should be given when a child was baptised. Unfortunately, this order was resisted and in reality there continues to be gaps in the information provided in registers at this time.

1649-1653: Following the execution of Charles I an English republic was established and represents a period in English history known as the Commonwealth (1649-1653). The Commonwealth proper ended in 1653 with the establishment of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate. The Commonwealth is a most difficult time period for those of us engaged in family history research because there are large gaps in the records - especially in parish registers. Ironically, it was Oliver Cromwell's intention in 1653 to remedy poor record keeping in parish registers by placing the responsibility for the records in the hands of appointed officers called "Parish Registers". The records kept by Parish Registers became known as Civil Registers but many do not survive. After Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, Registers were dismissed (some appear to have become parish clerks). Restored clergy in some areas confiscated the Civil Registers and destroyed them. Other clergy simply went around the parish writing down vital events by asking people to remember what had happened in the previous years. Because of the loss of the Civil Registers, this time period is sometimes referred to as the "Commonwealth gap" by family history researchers.

During this same period marriages were no longer to take place in a church. An intention to marry could be stated at a Market cross or the couple could go to a Justice of the Peace to be legally joined. Many couples did not like the new system and secretly went to the church to be married - if the clergy had managed to stay in office!. The importance of this little diversion in the rules governing marriages is that following the restoration, marriages before Justices of the Peace were just legalised in retrospect. Some clergy simply refused to accept such blasphemy and forced a second marriage in the church or simply branded the children illegitimate. This bit of history helps to explain the entries and remarks in some parish registers such as, "Franklin alias Cox" or "Smith alias Jones". In my own research I found a few children of a marriage branded illegitimate during this time period and no record of the marriage of the parents in any local or surrounding parish register.

1667 & 1668: Legislation was passed that required all burials to be in a woollen shroud. An affidavit was to be made at each burial that burial in woollen had occurred. If such an affidavit was not made, a fine was payable. The purpose of the Act was to help the wool trade in England. Gradually the Act was ignored and ultimately repealed in 1814. This little bit of history helped to clarify why in some parishes separate registers for "Burials in Woollen" were kept.

1694: A tax was levied on each birth, marriage and burial. Births were to be notified to the parish incumbent within 5 days and he was to receive a fee for recording the birth. This tax resulted in some entries not being recorded in parish registers for lack of funds to pay the tax or others being recorded with a note that the parties were paupers and could not pay the tax. It is fortunate for researchers searching for family during this time period that the tax was short-lived.

1711: An Act was passed which stated that proper register books with lines and numbered pages were to be used. Although complied with in some parishes, the Act was largely ignored.

1732: Many parish registers until 1732 were recorded in Latin - including the Latin forms of Christian names (for example: Gulielmus=William; Jacobus=James (rarely Jacob); Maria=Mary; Onoria=Honor or Norah). We will discuss the importance of understanding Latin in a later issue of the Gazette.

1752: Before 1752 the year began on March 25th (Lady Day) in parish registers (the Julian calendar). If you are using a parish register created before 1752 you will see that the year does not change until after March 25th. For example, a child could be born in December and baptised in January all in the same year - 1670. By an Act of Parliament known as Lord Chesterfield's Act (1751/52) the Julian calendar was abandoned in favour of the modern Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the same calendar used to this day - the year begins on January 1st and ends on December 31st. The Act stated that the year 1752 would begin on January 1st. This meant that the year 1751 was actually only nine months long! But the Act created other problems also. For the year 1752 when the new calendar began, the 2nd of September would be followed by the 14th of September. This elimination of 11 days was meant to adjust the calendar for all time but completely confused people. In simple terms there is no record of days for September 3rd to September 13th in the year 1752.

What this calendar change means to researchers is very important. If you have a parish register entry in February of 1668, the actual year that existed when the event was recorded was 1668 (referred to as "Old Style") but by today's Gregorian calendar it was actually 1669 ("New Style"). When recording the date for genealogical purposes, researchers should simply write February 1668/69. It is important to be consistent and to work from solid, recognized recording practices. Whenever you come across any date between January 1st and March 25th for ANY year before 1752 - stop and remember to record the event with both the new style and old style years. For those people researching near the Scottish border, it is important to note that Scotland adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1600! England lagged behind Scotland when it came to adopting the Gregorian calendar (the calendar in use today).

1754: Hardwicke's Marriage Act, which affected England and Wales, came into force beginning March 25th 1754. The Act stated that a marriage could be solemnised only in a parish church or public chapel after the publication of banns or by a licence issued by the Bishop of the diocese. Bann books and marriage registers were required to be kept separate from the books containing baptisms and burials. With the exception of Jews and Quakers, marriages were required to be performed by a clergy of the Church of England. Parties under the age of 21 (minors) required the consent of parents or guardians to marry. Those embracing the Catholic faith or other non-conformists married in the Church of England and their own chapels/churches just to be sure the marriage was recognized as legal.

But what about marriages where the bride and groom were from different parishes? Many marriage entries after 1754 will simply state of this parish. It is important for researchers to remember, of this parish does not necessarily mean the party had resided in the parish for any great length of time. Three weeks was the legal requirement for clergy to make such a note. Many conscientious clergy simply described a temporary resident as a sojourner and usually did not state their parish of origin. It was also accepted practice for the marriage to take place in the bride's parish. Hardwicke's Marriage Act had far reaching consequences for the way in which marriages were recorded as well as the variety of records that resulted for family researchers to use today. For example:

Banns: Banns were simply the announcement of an intention to marry between two people. The announcement was made (called) in the parish church for both the bride and groom, each Sunday for 3 consecutive weeks. The entry of banns, which are often recorded in a separate section of the marriage register or even in their own register may provide the parish of origin of one or more parties in the marriage or point to a marriage in another parish. A groom who resided in a different parish from his bride would be required to have his banns read in his home parish and a certificate stating the banns had been read sent to the parish where the actual marriage was to take place. Often the groom simply moved to the bride's parish in advance of the wedding to avoid having to deal with two sets of banns and the fees for each set of banns being read. Just because there is an entry in the banns register for a planned marriage does not mean that a marriage took place. Some couples called off the banns, while other banns resulted in the marriage being called off because an impediment was alleged. Occasionally the banns register will state the reason why the marriage was called off. Banns do not exist before 1754.

Marriage Bonds and Allegations: If a marriage entry in the parish register appears with the words "by licence" next to it, then a researcher should make an effort to search for the marriage licence allegation and bond. A normal marriage licence from a Bishop was issued after the parties made an allegation and bond. The allegations and bonds will often provide researchers with additional information NOT found in the marriage register such as: the exact age of the parties, parish of residence, occupation of the groom, the names of the bondsmen who guaranteed the marriage would be performed (bondsmen were sometimes related to one of the parties). Much like Bishop's Transcripts, marriage licence allegations and bonds, where they survive, will be found with other records of the diocesan archives because they were issued by ecclesiastical officials such as a Bishop, Archbishop or Archdeacon. Hardwicke's Act also resulted in the keeping of a special printed register for the recording of marriages. The register usually had four printed boxes per page with spaces to be filled in for name of the groom, his parish of residence, the name of the bride and her parish of residence; date of the ceremony, the groom's occupation, the marital status of the parties, whether the marriage was by banns or licence. The couple were required to sign the register (or place a mark next to their names if they could not write). For the first time, the signatures of the witnesses and the clergy were also required.

1783: A Stamp Act was passed that called for a duty to be paid for every entry of a birth, christening, marriage or burial. The Act came into force on the 1st of October and was not repealed for 10 years. There are few interesting consequences of this Act which can be found in many parish registers. In the last few days of September 1783 there was often quite an increase in the number of baptisms - many of the children baptised were several years of age. Again in 1793 following the repeal of the Act, there was once more a large number of baptisms of children who were well beyond being infants. During this time period researchers will find the letter P next to entries in the parish register. Some believe the P stands for Pauper and therefore a person who was not required to pay the fee. Still others argue that the P stands for Paid. In practice, researchers will often find both the words paid and pauper and even just the letter P next to entries in the parish registers during this time period.

1813: George Rose's Act (the Parochial Registers Act) was introduced which required the use of specially printed registers, with separate books for baptisms, marriages and burials. Baptismal entries were to now include the names, address and occupation or status of the parents. In the country the residence of the parents (or abode) was usually listed as simply the village, hamlet or even a farm. In urban areas the residence was often recorded as the actual street address. Burial entries in the register were to include age and place of residence of the deceased. Marriage registers from 1813 are similar to those from 1754, but had only three entries to a page instead of four. The actual form of the marriage register did not change again until 1837.

1837: After 1837, the marriage register kept by the parish church was laid out to look much like the actual civil registration certificates which began in that year. It is also important to note that whereas before 1837 everyone who was not a Jew or a Quaker had to marry in the church, after 1837, it was possible to marry in a Register Office, or in a Catholic Church or a nonconformist chapel that had been licenced. By 1900 it is estimated that some 10% of marriages occurred in register offices.

How to find the parish boundaries::

A bishop's diocese comprised more than one parish. Many parishes not more than villages with a church and a clergyman (or incumbent.) Larger towns and cities would contain several parishes. One of the greatest obstacles to searching for parish records is how to narrow down your geographical search. Once you know the city, town, or village where your ancestor came from it is much easier to find the parish that town lies within. There are a number of very important resources for finding the exact location of parish boundaries within a county in England and Wales.

Gazetteers: Some public libraries and family history centers have copies of gazetteers for England which can include the following information: the general location of the town/village/hamlet within a county, population count, information about the Parish(es) even information about the history of a church. Ask your local librarian or visit your local LDS Family History Center to see what there is in a gazetteer. An excellent gazetteer for England has been published by Frank Smith and is titled: A Genealogical Gazetteer of England. The only book of its kind, this indispensable reference tool includes 17,000 entries designed to facilitate research by giving the names and descriptions of places in England as they existed prior to 1831, giving location, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, population, and the date of the earliest entry in the registers of every ancient parish.

The ultimate reference book for determining not only the parish boundaries for the area you are researching is The Philmore ATLAS and INDEX of Parish Registers by Cecil Humphery-Smith. This atlas is the classic reference work for family history research in England and Wales. The atlas contains maps of the counties split into parishes and ecclesiastical divisions. More importantly it also includes lists of the availability of the parish registers for each county (including which registers have been indexed by various people and what records are included in the LDS International Genealogy Index (IGI).

Separate maps of just the parishes within counties are also available. Parish Maps of the Counties of Great Britain by The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. These are individual large copies of the maps incorporated into the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. The are most helpful in determining not only the parish researchers should be looking in, but what parishes border your home parish. If you can't find your families entries in the parish register(s) of the area where they lived, you would be well advised to search all bordering parishes for the family.

Where to Find Parish Registers:

The Parochial Registers and Records Measure was enacted on 1 January 1979 and required every custodian of parish registers and records that were over 100 years old to deposit them in the designated record office unless an exemption was obtained from the bishop. The designated record office is most often (but not always) the County Record Office (CRO). Refer to the list of online resources below for the link to locating county record offices in England and Wales.

Microfilming of Parish Registers by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:
Many parish registers have been microfilmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The LDS church is a tremendous resource for family historians. Microfilm copies of Parish Registers may be ordered from any local Family History Center (library) of the LDS church. To find the location of a Family History Center near you, visit the following website of the LDS: www.lds.org/en/2_How_Do_I_Begin/4_Where_is.html. For a much more detailed discussion of the resources to be found through the LDS read the earlier issue of English Roots which was devoted to this topic Global Gazette Vol. 3 Number 06. It is very important when ordering the parish records on microfilm from the LDS that you check to see if you are requesting the actual parish register or the Bishops Transcript. Not all parish registers were filmed by the LDS.

The LDS Family History Library Catalog is now online and searchable at the following website: . Researchers can now search the catalog online to determine if a particular parish has been filmed by the LDS and even determine the microfilm numbers to order the film from your local Family History Center. For example, searching for parish records in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, I was able to determine the LDS had microfilmed the records on 7 reels of film. An example of part of this online search follows:

Baptisms and burials v. 7 (cont.) 1771- 1812
Baptisms and burials v. 8-9 1771-1812
Baptisms v. 10-14 1813-1877 SpaceFHL BRITISH Film 919409
Marriages v. 24-30 1754-1887 Space FHL BRITISH Film 919221
Burials v. 38-41 1813-1876 Space FHL BRITISH Film 919410
Banns v. 50-54 1754- 1784;Space FHL BRITISH Film 919411
1817-1891
Baptisms, maritages and burials
v. 1-6 1565-1737
Marriages v. 7 1754
Baptisms and burials v. 7 1754-1762 FHL BRITISH Film 919220

The FHL Catalog also tells me that the original records are held by the Buckingham Record Office in Aylesbury and the call number for the records at the Record Office: PR 11/1/15-16, 30-31, 42-44, 55.

Parish Register Transcripts & Indexes:

Transcripts and indexes to parish registers have been published by various County Record Societies and county and regional Family History Societies. Some of these transcriptions remain in old typescript copies, still others are microfiched copies of transcriptions.

There are a couple of "classic" indexes that anyone researching in England and Wales will find referred to at some point in their quest for information:
Boyd's Marriage Index is a remarkable work undertaken by Percival Boyd, a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists. The Index contains some seven million names and covers the period from 1538-1837. It was constructed from Parish Registers, Bishop's Transcripts and Marriage Licences. The index is divided into counties but does not cover all counties. In addition not all parish registers within a county are included in the index either.

Pallot's Marriage Index is another amazing index that is said to cover more than 90% of marriages in 101 of the 103 ancient parishes of the square mile of the City of London between 1780 and 1837. It also includes thousands of other marriage entries. There is also a baptismal section of thousands of entries which suffered severe damage during the Second World War. Many of the entries in the index are from records which have been destroyed since the index was started in 1818. The index is owned by Achievements Ltd., 80 Northgate, Canterbury, Kent. CT1 1BA. Fees are charged for the company to search the index.

The Philmore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers includes notes next to each parish listed as to whether or not the records of the parish were included in either Boyd's or Pallot's marriage indexes. In addition it provides information on which years of register entries were included in the indexes.

More recently, Family History Societies have begun to create computerized indexes of various parish register entries and other records - such as all marriages, all burials or baptisms in the county and many other records too numerous to mention in this article. The local Family History Society then offers searches by surnames and events for a fee. Researchers would be well advised to join the Family History Society in the county or region where they are researching and to visit the local Society online for a list of their publications. From the publications list you can order photocopies and microfiche copies of parish register transcripts and other published indexes; request a search of their computerized indexes for all instances of your surname(s) and learn a great deal more about the area in which you are researching. A good starting point for finding local Family History Societies is the GENUKI web site:
For Societies in England:
www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/Societies/England.html
For Societies in Wales:
www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/Societies/Wales.html
For the Channel Islands:
www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/Societies/ChannelIslands.html
For the Isle of Man:
www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/Societies/IsleOfMan.html

In the case of any and all indexes, researchers must always remember to consult the original records for the complete particulars of the entry.

Online resources:

UK and Ireland Genealogy - Genuki: www.genuki.org.uk/
The premier website for researching in the United Kingdom. Most Family History Societies have very helpful pages - including lists and information about the parishes in their counties. There is extensive information for all areas of England and Wales.

Cyndi's List - England: www.CyndisList.com/england.htm

Church location database: www.genuki.org.uk/big/parloc/
The church location database was developed from one originally provided by Gerry Lawson, containing information about the location of over 14000 churches and register offices. You can search it via the web and even ask for all the other entries within a specific distance. Alternatively you can download a copy of the database.

Index to English and Welsh Register Offices: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/RegOffice/

The Church in Wales: www.churchinwales.org.uk/
This website provides basic factual information about all Welsh parishes (ancient and modern), with e-mail addresses and URLs where available.

The London Jews Database: www.jewishgen.org/databases/londweb.htm
Compiled by Jeffrey Maynard, this is a database of names addresses and some other information about Jews who lived in London, UK, in the first half of the nineteenth century. It has been compiled principally from London trade directories of the period, with a few other sources, such as subscription lists and some printed obituaries.

Parish Register Copies in the Library of the Society of Genealogists (as of December 1994): www.sog.org.uk/prc/
Details are kept to the minimum necessary to determine whether the Society possesses material for a particular place and the time period covered. Note however that no distinction is made as to the nature of the material listed which may be transcriptions of Parish Registers or of Bishop's Transcripts or, in the case of microforms, reproductions of the original documents.

Northumberland: Transcripts/indexes of Parish Registers: www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/NCLLib/NCLGG5.html
also www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/FullIndex.html
Transcripts/indexes list for Parish Registers of Northumberland Parishes.

The Parishes of Oxfordshire: users.ox.ac.uk/~malcolm/genuki/big/eng/OXF/oxfpar.htm
This list shows the parishes of pre-1974 Oxfordshire.

UK BDM Exchange: web.ukonline.co.uk/graham.pitt/bdm/
The purpose of the site is to provide a free resource to genealogists who wish to share information about details contained on birth, death or marriage certificates registered in the UK. In addition they now have a section for the exchange of information found in UK Parish Records. Who knows, maybe someone has already looked at the parish register where one of your ancestors were noted.

Published resources:

The Philmore ATLAS and INDEX of Parish Registers by Cecil Humphery-Smith. The atlas is the classic reference work for family history. Contains maps of the counties split into parishes and ecclesiastical divisions. Also contains lists of the availability of the parish registers for each county. This is a priceless reference book for anyone researching in England and Wales. More Information

Parish Maps of the Counties of Great Britain by The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. These are individual large copies of the maps incorporated into the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. More Information

Index to Parishes in Phillimore's Marriages, Compiled by: M.E. Bryant Rosier, published by Family Tree Magazine. This booklet contains the index to "Phillimore's Marriages"; printed volumes of transcribed marriages for many parishes in almost every county, usually up to 1812, but in certain cases beyond. More Information

A Genealogical Gazetteer of England. by Frank Smith The only book of its kind, this indispensable reference tool with its 17,000 entries is designed to facilitate research by giving the names and descriptions of places in England as they existed prior to 1831, giving location, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, population, and the date of the earliest entry in the registers of every ancient parish. More Information

Parish Registers A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin. This invaluable little guide offers clear and concise information about all aspects of Parish registers and records. More Information

Simple Latin for Family Historians- A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin. This guide in intended for the family historian who has never learned any Latin, or whose memory does not retain many of the standard words, which are to be found regularly in parish registers. More Information

Marriage, Census and Other Indexes for Family Historians. By J.S.W. Gibson & Elizabeth Hampson. The nature of the indexes has changed since the guide first appeared, and now many more have been published. Most published marriage and census indexes are included in this invaluable guide. More Information

Bishops' Transcripts and Marriage Licenses, Bonds and Allegations, A Guide to Their Location and Indexes. By J.S.W. Gibson. English marriage records were maintained in a wide variety of ecclesiastical courts. Anyone searching for marriage records prior to 1837, when civil registration was introduced, will find this simplified guide to be of inestimable value. This new edition includes maps of ecclesiastical jurisdictions. More Information

Adjoining Parishes Of Glamorgam, South Wales by Mary Kearns Trace . Sooner or later all family researchers loose track of an ancestor. The search is much easier if you are researching in South Wales thanks to this little guide. More Information

Tracing Your Family Tree by Jean Cole and John Titford . This excellent book describes in detail parish registers and other parish records. It also includes a great list of hints and reminders.More Information

The Family Tree Detective- Tracing Your Ancestors in England Wales (3rd edition) by Colin D. Rogers. Welcomed worldwide on it's first publication, this user-friendly, lively guide for the amateur genealogist has now been fully revised and updated, including changes to the location and cost of civil registration sources and many more resources. The book includes extensive information church records, baptisms, marriages, burials with great hints and tips and extensive references to alternative sources if registers are not available. More Information

Your English Ancestry, A Guide for North Americans - revised edition by Sherry Irvine. For every type of record including church records - there are clear explanations of availability and access. Each chapter concludes with a step-by-step summary. More Information

The Parish Chest by W E Tate. This classic text highlights the records of the parish. One of the most in depth guides to parish records. Hardback. 3rd edition 1969, reprinted 1983. Call 1-800-361-5168 for availablility.

Basic Facts About Using Death and Burial Records for Family Historians by Lilian Gibbens. This small useful little guide details all manner of death and burial records to be found in England and Wales and how to interpret them 1997. Call 1-800-361-5168 for availablility.

Basic Facts About Using Baptism Records for Family Historians by Pauline M Litton. Another small but invaluable guide to understanding, finding and interpreting all manner of baptism records with hints and tips on late and multiple baptisms. Call 1-800-361-5168 for availablility.

Basic Facts About Using Marriage Records for Family Historians by Pauline M Litton with Colin R Chapman. A great little invaluable guide to understanding, finding and interpreting all manner of marriage records with hints on problems and pitfalls. Call 1-800-361-5168 for availablility.

Online Indexes & Data:

The Joiner Marriage Index: homepages.enterprise.net/pjoiner/mindex/mindex.html
Marriage Database for County Durham, and the North Riding of Yorkshire compiled by Paul R Joiner. The database started as an index to cover the years 1813-1837 for the southern part of County Durham where the parishes had not been covered by Boyd's Marriage Index. It was then extended to cover the years 1800-1812 for non-Boyd County Durham Parishes and then on to North Yorkshire 1813-1837 where Boyd is thinly represented. Gradually the index evolved into a database and has been accepting marriages for all dates from a number of parishes. At present it contains details of over 267,000 marriages in 300 parishes, although the index referred to later has the results of nearly 194,000 marriages, in 197 different parishes.

Derbyshire - Peak Forest: www.yacc.demon.co.uk/genuki/DBY/PeakForest/about.html
The Marriage Registers of Peak Forest Chapel. The church had the unusual right to marry couples from outside the parish, the entries therefore contain couples from all over the UK and not just Derbyshire and the nearby counties.

Middlesex England Parish Records: www.enol.com/~infobase/gen/parish/
The database contains parish marriage records in Middlesex, England between 1563 and 1895.

Norfolk Churches Directory: www.uea.ac.uk/~e340/ncd/ncd.htm

Northumberland - Newcastle, St Andrew: www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/Newcastle/StAndrews/index.html
Marriage indexes for 1589-1837 from the George Bell collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

Northumberland - Newcastle, St Ann's: www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/Newcastle/AllSaints/index.html
St Ann's baptisms 1813-1835, burials 1828-1837.

Northumberland - Newcastle, St John's: www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/Newcastle/StJohns/index.html St John's marriage indexes for 1813-1837

Northumberland - Newcastle, St Nicholas: www.swinhope.demon.co.uk/genuki/NBL/Newcastle/StNicholas/index.html
Marriage index for St Nicholas 1813-1837 from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

Somerset - Churchstanton St Peter & St Paul: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Churchstanton/index.html
Transcriptions of St Peter & St Paul, Burials 1662-1902.

Somerset - Corfe, St Nichols: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Corfe/index.html
Transcriptions from the registers of Corfe, St Nicholas provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1682-1894; Marriage Banns 1779-1824; Marriage Banns 1913-1936; Burials 1678-1899

Somerset - Kingston, St Mary: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Kingston/ Transcriptions from Kingston, St Mary parish registers provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1772-1812; Burials 1763-1812.

Somerset - Norton Fitzwarren: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/NortonFitzwarren/index.html
Transcriptions from Norton Fitzwarren registers provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1726-1812; Marriages 1726-1791; Burials 1726-1780.

Somerset - Nynehead: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Nynehead/index.htm
Transcriptions from Nynehead parish registers provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1769-1812; Burials 1769-1812 .

Somerset - Otterford Parish Register: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Otterford/
Transcriptions from Otterford parish registers provided by Roy Parkhouse - Baptisms 1752-1812 and Burials 1760-1812.

Somerset - Pitmister Church Records: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Pitminster/index.html
Transcriptions from the registers of Pitminster, St Mary and St Andrew provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1649-1885; Banns of Marriage 1754-1810; Marriages 1673-1885; Burials 1683-1886.

Somerset - Trull, All Saints: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Trull/
Transcriptions from the registers of Trull, All Saints provided by Roy Parkhouse: Baptisms 1669-1925; Marriage Banns 1755-1817; Marriages 1677-1944; Burials 1678-1889

Somerset - Thurlbear, St Thomas: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SOM/Thurlbear/index.html
Transcriptions from the registers of Thurlbear, St Thomas provided by Roy Parkhouse. Baptisms 1700-1901; Marriages 1700-1900; Burials 1700-1810.

Suffolk - Monk Soham Marriage Register: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SFK/MonkSoham/MonkSohamMR.txt
This file contains the index of surnames for brides and grooms which appear in the MONK SOHAM Marriage Register 1712 - 1918.

Suffolk - Lowestoft St Margarets Church Records: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SFK/LowestoftStM/
Indexes of surnames of burials (1745-1812) and baptisms (1841-1853).

Suffolk - Sudbury St Peters: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/SFK/SudburyStP/SudburyStPMar.txt
Surname Index of Brides and Grooms from the transcript of Marriages.

Worcestershire - Bretforton Parish Records: www.jump.net/~salter/bretforton/bretforton.html
Copies of the Bretforton, Worcestershire parish records for the following time periods are in the process of being transcribed and placed online: Baptisms 1538 - 1899; Marriages 1538 - 1837; Burials 1538 - 1837.

Yorkshire- Northowram Registers: www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/northowram/
The Northowram Registers, Yorkshire, UK, , Subscribers , Introduction , Coley Register , Baptisms , Marriages , Burials , Indulgences , Nonconformists , Conventicle Act , Toleration Act , Popish Recusants , Baptisms , Marriages , Burials , Families , Places and more.

Marriages from the Sherburn Hospital Registers (1695-1837) : www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/Transcriptions/DUR/SHO.html
This list is from an index that was originally prepared by Bill Rounce and entered onto computer by George Bell with the assistance of Sandra (Hope) Bell.

UK Marriage Witness Index: www.genuki.org.uk/mwi/
Indexes of witnesses to marriages that took place in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand are being compiled. Every entry contains the names of witness, groom & bride, and the date and place of the marriage as well as the name and address of the genealogist to whose family the couple belong.

There are many other indexes and transcriptions making their way to the internet every day!




Next issue: Don't miss the next issue of English and Welsh Roots when we examine English Census Records.




EXTRA BITS:


The National Library of Wales:
Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 3BU (tel: 01970 632800, email: webmaster@llgc.org.uk): The major repository of information relevant to Welsh genealogy, such as Bishop's Transcripts of Parish Registers, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, Nonconformist Records, Probate Records, Tithe Maps and Apportionment Schedules, Legal and Administrative Records, Estate Records and Personal Papers, Pedigree Books, Newspapers, etc. See for example the Guide to the Department of Manuscripts and Records, and in particular its Appendix: Index to Holdings, and the leaflet Guide to Genealogical Sources at the National Library of Wales. (There is also a Welsh version of this leaflet). Visit their web site for more detailed information: www.llgc.org.uk/

Want to see a blank baptism record for England: visit the following site for a pdf version of a blank record: www.ualberta.ca/~droles/gen/par.html

Index of Cheshire Parishes: The list includes the townships, civil parishes and extra-parochial places in Cheshire prior to the boundary changes of 1974. www.users.zetnet.co.uk/blangston/genuki/chspars/

Are you looking for place names in Manchester and surrounding towns ?
The Greater Manchester Gazetteer www.personal.u-net.com/~gmcro/gazindx.htm enables searchers to locate registration districts as they were based on poor law unions. The Gazetteer is part of the Greater Manchester County Record Office site at: www.personal.u-net.com/~gmcro/home.htm

England Lookup Exchange:
www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/8555/england.html The purpose of this page is to provide a county-by-county list of English resources made available by volunteers for free look-ups. Please note that the co-ordinators serve an administrative function ONLY. Contact them if you have questions about volunteering. They are not research consultants, nor can they provide lookups not covered by volunteers. Please check the relevant county page for what is on offer.

Parish Records information for The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man:

Jersey: The old parochial registers for the 12 parishes of Jersey were generally written in French. Some parishes records date back to the sixteenth century. The original records appear to be in the care of each parish. I understand that all registers are in the process of being indexed. The indexes are available through the Channel Islands Family History Society (Hilgrove Street, Saint Helier, Jersey) user.itl.net/~glen/AbouttheChannelIslandsFHS.html and in the library of the Société Jersiaise www.societe-jersiaise.org/. More up-to-date information as well as starting dates for the various parishes are available through the societies web sites.

Guernsey and neighbouring islands: All parochial registers for the ten parishes of Guernsey and the two island dependencies are with the individual parish churches. The Family History Section of La Société Guernesiaise user.itl.net/~glen/fhssocguer.html has been involved in indexing some of the Parish Church registers of births, marriages and deaths.

The Isle of Man: The Manx Museum holds copies of all the old registers for the Isle of Man up to the 1880s on microfilm. Additional information is available through the Isle of Man Family History Society www.isle-of-man.com/interests/genealogy/fhs/.

About Fawne Stratford-Devai
Fawne Stratford-Devai's work on Land Records and early Ontario records is well known in the genealogy community. A published author of several Canadian and UK research books, she has also contributed articles to the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter "Families" as well as writing for the online family history newsletter the "Global Gazette". Biography


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