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Guide to Bristol, Gloucestershire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

See a "Comprehensive List of Bristol City Parishes and Episcopal Chapels"

Records from this area are currently being indexed by volunteers. Come join the effort and help us index the Bristol Parish Registers 1837-1900


Parish History

BRISTOL, a city and county of itself, and a considerable port, situated near the mouth of the Bristol Channel, and between the counties of Gloucester and Somerset, into both of which the town extends, 34 miles (S. W. by S.) from Gloucester, 12 (N. W.) from Bath, and 118 (W.) from London; containing, in the old city, 64,266 inhabitants, exclusively of those in Clifton, Bedminster, and the out portions of the parishes of St. James, St. Paul, and St. Philip and St. Jacob, which form the suburbs. [1]

Bristol was created a county borough (a borough or a city independent of county council control). There were a considerable number of parishes and chapels associated and attached to it--some of which did not reside physically-speaking within the city proper, but lay outside of the city, but still within its jurisdictional boundaries. In 1888, it expanded by annexing some parts of south Gloucestershire in 1898 and 1904.

Bristol was included as part of the county of Avon along with Bath and large portions of Gloucestershire and Somerset when Avon was created in 1974. In 1996, the County of Avon was disbanded and split into four parts, namely:

1. The City and County of Bristol

2. South Gloucestershire – formed from the Kingswood and North Avon districts.

3. North Somerset – formed from the Woodspring district.

4. Bath and North East Somerset – formed from the Bath and Wansdyke districts. 

Online Histories


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church Records

Many of Bristol City's parish and chapel registers have been or are being indexed and made searchable online (Church of England Church Records): England, Bristol Parish Registers, 1538-1900 at FamilySearch Historical Collections. Bristol has about 60-plus parishes and chapels within its boundary.

Here's a "Comprehensive List of Bristol City Parishes and Episcopal Chapels". Print out this list as a guide to help you more thoroughly search all of these parish (chapel) registers.

A wiki article describing these collections are found at England Bristol Church of England Parish Registers and Bishops’ Transcripts (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Census Records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 288782.

Probate Records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Gloucestershire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Online Maps



  1. Samuel A. Lewis,A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 379-389. Date accessed: 07 May 2013.

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  • This page was last modified on 7 June 2015, at 01:24.
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