England, Norfolk, Church of England Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Norfolk, Parish ...Record Office), 1510-1997.

This collection will include records from 1538 to 1900.

Parish registers are some of the best sources for identifying individuals and connecting them to parents, spouses, and other generations. In 1837, the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. However, parish registers continue to play an important role because they are often more readily available than civil registers. Bishops’ transcripts are a backup source for parish registers that are missing or illegible. If possible, you may want to search both the parish registers and the bishops’ transcripts since one is a handwritten copy of the other and might contain differences.

Baptisms (christenings), marriages, and burials were recorded on blank pages in a bound book called a register. The events of baptism, marriage, and burial were all recorded in one volume until 1754, when a law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book. Banns, or proclamations of “an intent” to marry, were recorded in yet another book. Starting in 1812, preprinted registers were introduced, and then separate registers were kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Before 1812, bishops’ transcripts were usually recorded on loose pieces of paper. Following that year, the transcripts were recorded on the same preprinted forms as parish registers.

In 1537 the Church of England mandated that parishes begin keeping church registers. These church registers continue to the present. Bishops’ transcripts, or copies of parish registers, were required beginning in 1598 and continued to the mid-1800s. It is usually preferable to use the parish registers if they survive as a primary record.

Church of England parish register baptism records before 1812 generally contain the following information:

  • Date and place of baptism/christening
  • Child's name and gender
  • Parents' names

Church of England parish register baptism records after 1812 contain additional information:

  • Date and place of baptism/christening
  • Child's given name and gender
  • Child's legitimacy
  • Parents' names and residence
  • Father's profession or occupation

Church of England parish register marriage records prior to 1754 generally contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Marriage banns which included the residences of the couple
  • After 1754 and before 1837, the full names of witnesses were added

Church of England parish register marriage records after 1837 generally contain the following information:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Ages and marital status of the bride and groom
  • Residences of the bride and groom at the time of their marriage
  • Groom's occupation
  • Name of groom's father
  • Name of bride's father
  • May list dates that the marriage was announced (also called "banns published"). This normally took place on three separate occasions prior to the marriage and gave anyone with a valid reason a chance to object to the marriage.

Church of England parish register burial records before 1812 generally contain the following information:

  • Day, month, year and parish of burial
  • Name of the deceased
  • Name of spouse of deceased
  • Church of England parish register burial records after 1812 usually contain the following information:
  • Date and parish of burial
  • Name of deceased
  • Age and gender of deceased
  • Residence of deceased
  • If deceased is a child, the parents names may be given
  • If deceased was married, a spouse's name may be given.

How to Use This Record

To search for a person in a Church of England parish register, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Where the person lived and the corresponding parish
  • When the person lived; if you do not know the time period, you must estimate it from what you know of more recent generations.

Searching the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.


To search the collection by images, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page:
⇒Select the appropriate "Parish name"

⇒Select the appropriate "Event type"

⇒Select the appropriate "Year or year range" which will take you to the images.

Look at the images, comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times.

Using the Information

Baptism or christening records list the parents’ names, making it possible for you to connect your ancestor to an earlier generation. You may find a birth date listed or be able to approximate a birth date. After 1812, the baptismal records list a place of residence, making it easier to identify your family by where they lived. The records also list the father’s occupation, which makes it easier to identify your ancestor's family when more than one family with the same name lived in the parish.

Marriage records sometimes state the residence for the bride and groom. You can use this information to look for their baptisms and to identify the children of this couple. Sometimes the groom’s occupation is listed, which could help you find more records about the groom. Marriage records after 1754 list the names of witnesses, who were often family members. These can help you identify your ancestor’s family. Signatures in the records might be used to identify a particular individual by the handwriting style.

After 1812, and sometimes before, burial records include the age of the deceased. Use this age to approximate the person’s birth year and to find the baptismal record. If the deceased is a child, the parents’ names might be given. This information helps to extend your family another generation. The occupation of a deceased male might be given (especially after 1812) and can help identify your ancestor when there is more than one person by that name in the area. Knowing the occupation might also provide you the opportunity to find other records about your ancestor.

General Information About These Records

The parish register collection was formed from records microfilmed at the Norfolk Record Office, then converted to digital images. Microfilming may not have completely captured all volumes in each parish. The collection was published in February 2010 online. Where more than one village has the same place name, FamilySearch has adopted a different place name from that used in the Norfolk Record Office Catalog.

Norfolk Parishes may be used to identify each parish in the collection. The Diocese of Norwich may include parishes in Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Cambridgeshire. Depending on the period of the register, parishes transferred to neighboring Diocese. Search England Jurisdictions 1851 for relevant information in this regard.

The collection did not include those parishes or microfilms held for the Archdeacon's Transcripts for the Diocese of Norwich. If a parish cannot be located in the historical records collection, establish whether the Archdeacon's transcripts from the diocese exist on microfilm by place search in the FamilySearch Catalog. The Norfolk Record Office also has a PDF file of parishes and Archdeacon's Transcripts on its website.


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Don't overlook FHL Place England, Norfolk items or FHL Keyword England, Norfolk items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see England Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Contributions To This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.


Citation for This Collection

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Norfolk, Parish ...Record Office), 1510-1997.

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"England, Norfolk Parish Registers, 1538-1900." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2014. Citing Church of England. Record Office, Norwich.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 July 2014, at 18:20.
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