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Dade parish registers are named after Rev. William Dade, a Yorkshire clergyman (b.1740) who went to St. John's College, Cambridge. From 1763 until his death in 1790, he was curate, vicar and rector of five parishes in York and two in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

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Dade was far ahead of his time in seeing the value of including as much information on individuals in the parish register as possible. In 1777 Archbishop William Markham decided that Dade's scheme should be introduced throughout his diocese. The baptismal registers were to include child's name, seniority (e.g. first son), father's name, profession, place of abode and descent (i.e. names, professions and places of abode of the father's parents), similar information about the mother, and mother's parents, the infant's date of birth and baptism. Registers of this period are a gold-mine for genealogists, but the scheme was so much work for the parish priests that it did not last long.

In 1770 Dade wrote in the parish register of St. Helen's, York: "This scheme if properly put in execution will afford much clearer intelligence to the researches of posterity than the imperfect method hitherto generally pursued." His influence spread and the term Dade register has come to describe any parish registers that include more detail than expected for the time.

The application of this system was somewhat haphazard and many clergymen, particularly in more populated areas, resented the extra work involved in making these lengthy entries. The thought of duplicating them for the Bishop’s Transcripts put many of them off and some refused to follow the new rules. Several letters of complaint were printed in the York newspapers of the time, and the scheme suffered when the Archbishop indicated there was no punishment for vicars who failed to comply.


 

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  • This page was last modified on 14 October 2011, at 13:45.
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