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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Non-Anglican Church Records  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Immigrant Protestants

The more enlightened monarchs and governments welcomed immigrants for the skills they brought which contributed to English economic development. Many received initial assistance from a charity called the King’s Bounty and upon arrival many applied for either naturalization or denization in order to obtain the rights of British subjects. In the early taxation records called theLay Subsidy Rolls foreigners (aliens) were taxed at double the regular rate and can therefore be readily identified.

The only surviving 16th century Nonconformist registers are those from immigrant congregations, the earliest being that of the Southampton Walloon congregation dating from 1567. The Walloons, Huguenots and Flemish are considered in detail in Module 5 but there were several other foreign churches represented in London and a few elsewhere in England, serving refugees fleeing from Europe. They include:

  • Dutch Reformed Church in Austin Friars, London whose registers commence in 1559. There are many films for this including registers 1563-1874 on 0,413,724; registers plus monumental inscriptions on 1,294,817; and other records on 13 films starting at 0,413,726. There were also Dutch Reformed Churches in Norwich, Norfolk (baptisms, burials and members 167601912 on film 1,519,516) and in Colchester, Essex (baptisms 1645-1728 on 1,519,516 with index on 0,933,443)
  • Swiss Calvinist Church in Moor Street, Soho, London whose registers cover 1762-1839; those to 1801 are on film 0,020,057.
  • There were nine Protestant and one Catholic German churches in London prior to WWI and the registers of seven Lutheran and one Protestant Reformed are on microfilm and can be found through FHLC - KEYWORD SEARCH - GERMAN CHURCH LONDON. Further information about these churches and indexes made to their records can be obtained from the Anglo-German FHS.

*Russian Orthodox [Catholic] Church in London for which many interesting records are on 14 films starting at FHL film 2,111,700.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Non-Anglican Church Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.