England and Wales Nonconformist Record Indexes (RGA 4-8) 1588-1977 (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.


Record Description

This collection will include records from 1588 to 1977.

The following is a brief description of each record group:

RG 4
contains birth, marriage, and death records from Presbyterian, Baptist, and Independent churches (known collectively as the Congregational Church); the Royal Hospital in Chelsea; the Royal Hospital in Greenwich; the Dr. Williams’s Library; the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry; the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground in Hackney, London; the South London Burial Ground in Walworth, London; and the Necropolis Burial Ground in Everton, Liverpool.
RG 5
contains birth records from the General Register Office; Dr. Williams' Library; the Presbyterian, Independent, and Baptist Registry; and the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry.
RG 6
contains birth, marriage and burial records from the Society of Friends’ (Quakers’) registers, notes and certificates, 1578-1841.
RG 7
contains records of clandestine marriages and baptisms in the Fleet Prison, the King’s Bench Prison, the Mint, and the May Fair Chapel, 1667-c1777.
RG 8
contains birth, marriage and death records surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commission of 1857, and other registers and church records. “Among the more extensive collections in this series are the registers of the British Lying-in Hospital, Holborn, which record particulars of births and baptisms; registers of burials in the Victoria Park Cemetery, the New Burial Ground, Southwark, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Hackney, and the Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters Burying Ground; registers of Chapels Royal at St James's Palace, Whitehall and Windsor Castle (Guide to BMD Registers, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk).
The rest of the series contains the archive of the Russian Orthodox Church in London, 1721-1927. The records include not only registers of births, marriages, deaths, and conversions but also comprehensive general records on the day-to-day workings of the church. The usual language is Russian, with some Greek; there are a few documents such as certificates, letters and passports in English, French and German” (Guide to BMD Registers, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk).

The National Archives of the United Kingdom created an index to the digital images of the registers from a number of Church of England and nonconformist sources. (Nonconformist is a term for churches other than the Church of England.) These include records from the Royal Hospital in Greenwich; the Dr. Williams’ Library; the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist registry; the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry; the registers of the Society of Friends (Quakers); the Roman Catholic Church; the Fleet Prison; the King’s Bench Prison; the Mint; the May Fair Chapel; and the General Register Office for non-parochial registers (births, marriages, and deaths) surrendered in 1857. Many of these sources come from the greater London area, but the records also cover England, depending on the source. (Marriages from the RG 7 collection cover 400,000 entries, representing over 200,000 weddings.).

This is an index of Non-Church of England records and Church of England records kept by institutions outside the normal Church of England parishes from 1567 to 1865. However, the index primarily covers records between 1742 and 1865.

The index to the nonconformist records (RG 4-8) was originally created by The National Archives in London as an online access to digital images created from the original records. The index connects patrons to images and transcripts of the images that they can view and download if they purchase credits from The National Archives Web site. The web site is at www.bmdregisters.co.uk.

The index is highly reliable for the collections.

Record Content

Nonconformist Record Indexes may contain the following information:

  • Surnames
  • Given names (also known as “forenames”)
  • Relationship
  • Year of event
  • Type of event (birth, marriage or burial)
  • Place of event
  • Record group (RG 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) view full details of a transcript or page image

The following religious groups have records including births, marriages and burials:

  • Methodists
  • Wesleyans
  • Baptists
  • Independents
  • Protestant dissenters
  • Presbyterians
  • Unitarians
  • Quaker dissenters
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Maternity Records and other BMD Records.

How to Use the Record

To begin your search through these records, it would be helpful if you knew any or all of the following information:

  • Name of parents
  • Approximate year and place of baptism
  • Religion
  • Name of bride and groom
  • Approximate year and place of marriage
  • Name of deceased
  • Approximate year and place of death

Search the Collection

To search by index:
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 wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

If you have found information for a baptism:

  • You can use the names of the parents to search for a marriage record of the couple.
  • Use the names of the parents to search for a full family.
  • Use the age on the record to calculate a birth year.
  • Search with the surname of your ancestor, and use the parents name as well to find baptism records for other family members.

General Information About These Records

Church records are an excellent source for validating the vital events in someone’s life and are also the best source of individual information. Use the index to link to your ancestor in the church record. Keep in mind that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

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

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Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG-4-8).1588-1977." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Baptist Church. Public Record Office, London.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977.


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  • This page was last modified on 6 January 2016, at 03:22.
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