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Guide to Shaftesbury St James, Dorset ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Shaftesbury St James, Dorset
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Shaftesbury or Shaston Borough
County Dorset
Poor Law Union Shaftesbury
Registration District Shaftsbury
Records begin
Parish registers: 1559
Bishop's Transcripts: 1731
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Shaftesbury
Diocese Salisbury
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Archdeaconry of Dorset
Location of Archive
Dorset Record Office


Parish History

SHAFTESBURY, or Shaston, a borough and market-town, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Moncton- up -Wimborne, county of Dorset, 28 miles (N. N. E.) from Dorchester, and 101 (W. S. W.) from London, on the great road from London to Exeter. The town comprises the parishes of St. Peter, Holy Trinity, and St. James, including the liberty of Alcester. The parliamentary limits extend into Wiltshire. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. [1]


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

Online Shaftesbury St James, Dorset Genealogy Parish Register Images and Indexes
Indexes 1731-1880 Ancestry[2] 1560-1865 findmypast[3]
1561-1837 Joiner[4]

To find the names of the neighbouring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.
This ancient parish (AP) was created before 1813.  Church of England records began in 1560.

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 241344.

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Dorset Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.



  1. Samuel A. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England, publ. London: 1848. Date accessed: 09 July 2103.
  2. 'Vital Records Index - British Isles - Collection List,' British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd ed., hosted at Genoot, accessed 14 April 2012.
  3. 'Dorset Marriages,' Find My Past, accessed 28 July 2012.
  4. 'Search Marriage Records in Dorset,' The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 4 July 2012.


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  • This page was last modified on 2 June 2015, at 12:34.
  • This page has been accessed 2,623 times.