England, Norfolk, Church of England Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: England, Norfolk, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1900 .
This collection will include records from 1538 to 1900.
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. At present about 76% of the Diocese of Norwich parishes are available online, being derived from microfilming at the Norfolk Record Office. The remaining parishes within the Diocese which have Archdeacon's Transcripts may be viewed online at Family Search Historical Records (published 18 January 2011).
As the Research wiki content grows for diocesan parishes, it is hoped to describe the Archdeacon's Transcript parishes with film detail. 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 Family History Library Catalog. The Norfolk Record Office also has a PDF file of parishes and Archdeacon's Transcripts on its website.
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 by the next year (1538). 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.
The vast majority of the English population belonged to the Church of England. Only since the mid-19th century have other religious groups made headway.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page
The parish register collection covers records for the years 1530 to 1900.
Parish registers were created to record church events of baptism or christening, marriage, and burial. Baptismal entries usually list the person’s birth date and burial entries list the death date. In the Church of England, baptism, which was also called christening, was performed soon after the birth of a child. Marriage in the church legally united a man and a woman for civil legal reasons and for the purpose of founding a religiously sanctified family. Burial is a function of the church to inter the deceased soon after death.
Church of England parish registers are the most reliable and accurate family history source until July 1837, when the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Information in parish registers and bishops’ transcripts can be verified against each other.
It is usually preferable to use the parish registers if they survive as a primary record.
The transcript series is useful in the event that:
- The parish register has not survived
- The register is still in the parish and has not been deposited in an archive
- The parish register is too fragile to use or preserve by filming or digital imaging
- The parish register is incomplete or cannot be read (transcript may be legible or contain omitted entries)
Comparison of entries can indicate the reliability of the parish record keeping.
- 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.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
To search the collection image by image 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 one by one 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. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
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
Banns indicate the parish of residence of the bride and groom. This information often leads to the records of another parish. You can search for the baptisms of the bride and groom in the parishes of residence since these might also be the parishes where they were born.
Parish registers are some of the best sources for identifying individuals and connecting them to parents, spouses, and other generations. In July 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.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
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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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation for This Collection
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 2013. Citing Church of England. Record Office, Norwich.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the “Show Citation” box: England, Norfolk Parish Registers, 1538-1900
- This page was last modified on 7 November 2013, at 15:58.
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