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SUFFOLK, one of the most eastern counties of England, and one of the principal agricultural and maritime divisions of the kingdom, comprises an area of about 1500 square statute miles, or about 950,000 acres of land, watered by many navigable rivers and smaller streams, intersected by many good roads and several railways; and possessing all the varieties of soil from a light steril sand to a rich loam. …. though its eastern line occupies about 50 miles of seacoast, sweeping in a curved line from the estuary of the Orwell and Stour, near Harwich, northward to Yarmouth, where it terminates in a narrow apex; from whence, a line drawn across the county, in a south-westerly direction to Haverhill, at its south-western, angle, is more than 70 miles in length. It is bounded on the north by Norfolk, from which it is separated by the Waveney and Little Ouse rivers, rising near Redgrave, and flowing in opposite directions ; on the west, by Cambridgeshire where it is only about 26 miles in breadth; on the south, by Essex, from which it is separated by the river Stour, in a winding course of about 48 miles; and on the east, by the German Ocean, on which it has some fine bays, havens, and creeks, and a bold range of cliffs and headlands, of which that at Lowestoft is the most easterly point of England. It increased its Population from 210,431 souls in 1801, to 337,470 in 1851. Compared with the other counties in England, it ranks as the eighth in agricultural, and the fifteenth in total population. …… Quarter Sessions are held at Beccles, Woodbridge, Ipswich, and Bury, for the four divisions of the county. …….. Bury, which may be called the Western, and Ipswich the Eastern Capital of Suffolk. The latter has now about 34,000 inhabitants, and the former upwards of 14,000. There are in the county 28 other MARKET TOWNS, of which Sudbury, Woodbridye, and Lowestoft, have each about 6,000 souls; Bungay and Beccles each about 4000; and Hadleigh and Stowmarket each upwards of 3000 ; but the remainder have smaller populations, many of them numbering less than 2000 souls… SUFFOLK contains about 500 parishes, several extra-parochial places, 30 towns, (of which the markets of eight or nine are obsolete,) and about 1000 villages and hamlets. It is divided into twenty-one Hundreds, each having high constables and petty sessions; but three of its boroughs, — Ipswich, Bury, and Sudbury, are distinct jurisdictions, and have separate commissions of the peace, and courts of Quarter Sessions........HISTORY, GAZETTEER, AND DIRECTORY OF SUFFOLK 1855 By WILLIAM WHITE, page 25 to 48
Suffolk County has approximately 500 ancient parishes within its boundary. Currently about 25 to 30 percent of the parish registers have been indexed and the data content published online at FamilySearch.
The church registers of Suffolk's parishes and Nonconformist denominations are extensive and are held in several archives. These records should be searched for especially the pre-Civil Registration period for finding and proving ancestry. Numerous of the Church of England records, including registers of christenings, marriages and burials are held in at least four separate County Record Offices, including:
Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds
Bury St Edmunds IP33 2AR
Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich Branch
Ipswich IP1 2LQ
Suffolk Record Office, Lowestoft Central Library
Lowestoft NR32 1DR
Norfolk Record Office
Gildersgate House, Anglia Square, Upper Green Lane
Norwich NR3 1AX
The Norfolk County Record Office holds the following parish registers for Suffolk County:
- Burgh Castle
- Carlton Colville
- Hopton by Lowestoft
- Rushmere All Saints
- Thetford St Mary
Census, Civil Registration, Parish Records
Virtually everyone can be found in census and civil registration records and most in the parish registers.
Court, Probate, Land, and Other records
Unlike census, civil registration, and Church of England Parish Records, less then 20% of the people appear in these record classes with few exceptions. The article by Anthony Camp on Sources for Labourers in an Agricultural Community provides a detailed view of records our ancestors can be found in.
Directories and Gazetteers
There are numerous online Directories and Gazetteers for Suffolk in the nineteenth century. They record the principal residents of most communities and a general description of each parish.
Use an interactive map to find jurisdictions for each parish in Suffolk. From this map you will be able to determine the Civil Registration District, Deanery, Poor Law Union, Hundred, Probate District, of every parish.
- Hundreds and Boroughs of Suffolk - created before 1500
- Suffolk Poor Law Unions - created in 1835
- Suffolk Civil Registration Districts - Births, Deaths, Marriages after 1837
- Civil Parish
- Diocese of Norwich
- Archdeaconry of Suffolk
- Archdeaconry of Sudbury
- Archdeaconry of Suffolk
Refer to <a href="Suffolk Church Records">Suffolk Church Records</a>
- Military 'Roll of Honour"
- Memorials in Bourne Park
- Suffolk Regiments from WWI: Courtesy of the Suffolk Family History Society
To find a parish from a county list, and which provides researchers with rich resources for various record types, visit the Suffolk Parishes page.
For a complete step by step strategy for searching in probate records, visit the Suffolk Probate Records page for further details for online indexes, published and original manuscript records.
Before 1858, every town and parish in Suffolk was under the probate jurisdiction of several ecclesiastical courts. The primary courts that had jurisdiction over Suffolk was the Archdeaconry of Suffolk, which covered the eastern division; and, Archdeaconry of Sudbury, which coved the western division.
After 1858 Suffolk County was in Ipswich District. See the--
- Looking 4 Kin Genealogy & Family History Network - Suffolk
- Suffolk Local History Council
- Suffolk Family History Society
- Suffolk Family History Society Member's Interest
- To view a further list of web sites and/or web pages for Suffolk and many of its parishes, visit FHLFavorites.info.
- Waveney District Council Municipal Cemetery Records Surname Indexes
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