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England, How To Find The Name of the Place Where Your Ancestor Lived
Research Guidance
Version of Data 08/08/01

Guide
Introduction

Events in the lives of your ancestors, such as births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths, were recorded at the places where they occurred. In most cases, you need to know where an event took place in order to find a record of it. If you don't know the place, you may be able to find that information in sources readily available to you. This guide suggests sources that may help you identify place names.

What You Are Looking For
You are looking for the name of the place where an event in the life of one of your ancestors occurred.


Contents

Steps to identifying place names:


Follow these 8 steps to find sources that will help you identify a place name.

Step 1. Gather information from home and family sources.
Many sources for identifying place names may be found in your own home or in the home of a family member. These sources may include:
• Letters.
• Journals and diaries.
• Scrapbooks.
• Family Bibles.
• Birth, baptism, marriage, or death certificates.
• Photographs.
• School records.
• Military records.
• Naturalization papers.
• Obituaries and funeral cards.
• Newspaper articles.
• Deeds.
• Pension records.
• Tax records.
• Wills and other probate records.
Any of these sources could supply needed place names. Gather information from the sources you can find in your home and from relatives.

Step 2. Write the information on forms.
Write the information you find on pedigree charts and family group record forms. If you need forms, you may print them from your computer now, or you can order a supply online. You can also purchase a program for your home computer that helps you organize your genealogy and allows you to print out these forms. Programs are available at most computer software stores.
One program, Personal Ancestral File, may be downloaded online. The program may also be
purchased on CD.
Not all of the information you collect will fit on pedigree charts and family group record forms. See Tip 1.

Step 3. Decide on a research goal.
Once you have gathered information and recorded it on forms and in notes, you can see what information you have and what is missing. You may have dates without places to go with them. Even when a place is identified, you should verify that it is correct. Determine a place name, such as a place of birth, that you would like to find or verify. This is your research goal.

Step 4. Look for compiled research sources.
After reviewing home and family sources and selecting a research goal, look for research on your family compiled by others. Someone else may have already identified places where the events in the lives of your ancestors occurred. Compiled research may be found in private and public collections of individuals, libraries, and societies, as well as on the Internet.
For more information about finding compiled research sources, see How to Find Compiled Sources.

Step 5. Analyze what you know about your ancestor.
If you are still missing the name of the place where an event in your ancestor's life occurred, you can analyze the facts you do know to help you determine where to look for the missing information. See Tip 2.

Step 6. Look for indexes.
Look for indexes to records with broad coverage for England or for indexes to records for the specific county where your ancestor lived. Surname indexes to collections of records may provide the names of places where people of your surname lived. You can then look for your ancestor in records of those places. Indexed records may include:
• Civil registration records.
• Census records.
• Church records.
• Burial or cemetery records.
• Probate records.
• Tax records.
• Land records.
Indexes are available at libraries with genealogical collections, such as the Family History Library.
Indexes may also be available on Internet web sites. Some indexes are created by family history societies or private individuals and may be available for purchase from them. For more information on finding indexes, see Where to Find It.

Step 7. Cite your sources.
Every time you find new information, cite your source. When you cite a source, you document the information taken from that source. If you need to look at the source again, your documentation will help you find it. If others should consult your research, they will also be able to find the source.
Cite your sources on a research log and include a library call number when applicable. If it is an original source, make note of where you found it. Your research log will serve as a guide to your research.
If possible, make photocopies of your sources, and cite the sources on the copies.

Step 8. Find information about a place.
Once you have identified a place, you should find information about it. You should also locate it on a map.

Tips
Tip 1. What should I do with information that does not fit on my genealogy forms?
In addition to names, dates, and places, you will collect additional information about the lives of family members that does not fit on standard genealogy forms, such as:
• Military service.
• Education.
• Employment history.
• Social or economic status.
• Migration.
• Participation in community, social, religious, or historical events.
• Physical description.
• Other biographical details.
You should keep this additional information as notes. Keep these notes with your records or include them in the area provided for notes in your genealogy computer program. These notes should also include the source of the information. Return to step 2.

Tip 2. How do I analyze what I know about my ancestor?
You can analyze the facts you know about your ancestor to help determine where to look for missing information. For example, if you are looking for the birthplace of your ancestor, you might ask yourself the following questions:
• What is the earliest known fact about my ancestor?
• Where were my ancestor's parents born, married, or buried?
• Where were my ancestor's siblings born?
• Where was my ancestor married?
• Where was my ancestor's spouse born?
• Where were my ancestor's children born?
• Where did my ancestor die?
You may search the records of the places where any of these events took place to see if you can
find birth information for your ancestor. Return to step 5.

Where To Find Place Names

The following are suggestions for finding indexes to records that may help you identify place names:
On the Internet
Indexes to selected records of England may be available on Internet web sites. In addition, many of the family history societies in England have Internet web sites that contain lists of their publications for sale, including indexes. You can access many of the sites for England and some indexes through GENUKI. Others may be available through CYNDISLIST.

Family History Centers
Some Family History Centers will not have microfilmed indexes to records of England in their collections, but centers can borrow microfilms from the Family History Library. There is a small fee to have a microfilm loaned to a center.
Family History Centers are located throughout the United States and other areas of the world.
See Family History Centers for the address and phone number of the center nearest you.

Family History Library
The Family History Library has a large collection of indexes to records of England that could help you identify place names. There is no fee for using the library's collection in person.
For a list of the library's holdings, go to What to Do Next and select the Family History Library Catalog. Check on both the country and county levels, and look for topics with Indexes as subtopics.
When looking at the catalog entry for a specific index, look at Film Notes to see if it has been microfilmed and can be sent to a Family History Center.
If an index is not available on microfilm, you may request a photocopy of an index page from the Family History Library. You should complete a Request for Photocopies form, which is available at all Family History Centers. Complete the section of the form for books, and include the library call number for the index that you obtained from the catalog. Send the form and the fee to the library.
For more information about contacting or visiting the library or a Family History Center, click on the Library tab above.


If your ancestor lived in England between 1837 and 1901, the following steps will help you find the records of your family. These instructions will show you which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. One piece of information will lead to another until you have identified each family member and filled out a family group record.

Where to find family members:


ENGLAND 1837 to 1901:

2 England

The Research Process
Overview:
Follow these steps to find all members of the family (parents and children) of your ancestor who lived in England between 1837 and 1901.
1. Find information about your ancestor’s birth from:
A. Birth certificate in civil registration records. (Civil registration records contain information on births, marriages, and deaths recorded by the government.)
B. Christening record in church records.
2. Find your ancestor’s parents, brothers, and sisters in census records.
3. Find birth information for your ancestor's brothers and sisters from:
A. Birth certificates in civil registration records.
B. Christening records in church records.
4. Find the marriage certificate for your ancestor’s parents in civil registration records.

How to use this booklet:
• The Research Process: To see how the process works, review the example on pages 4–12.
• Finding Places: To learn more about place-names in England, see pages 14–16.
• Records: As you follow each step of the research process, go to pages 17–28 to learn about the record you are searching.
• Additional Helps: For more information about researching English records, see pages 29–31.
When you have found all members of a family, use the process to find another family. Search for the husband’s or wife’s parents and siblings.


England research websites:

Before beginning your research, it is important that you gather all the family information you can about your ancestor. You may find this information in your home, in your parents’ home, and from any other living family members. Also check the Internet to see if others have researched your English family. Here are some Web sites to start with:
FamilySearch is the official family history Internet site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Access to information on this site is free.
RootsWeb is a free site. Click Family Trees to search for your ancestor’s name.
Ancestry.com  is the largest commercial family history site. Access to the Ancestry World Tree is free, but a fee is required to access other information on the site.
OneGreatFamily charges for most of its services.
Genes Reunited  is a family history site in the United Kingdom. A fee is required to view detailed information.
Record the information you find on family group records and a pedigree chart or in a family history software program. For example, you can download Personal Ancestral File 5.2 without cost from FamilySearch.
From your pedigree chart, choose an ancestor who lived in England between 1837 and 1901.
You must know at least the approximate date and place of the birth, christening, marriage, or death of your ancestor. It is helpful to know the name of your ancestor’s husband or wife.


Format to Begin England Research:

3 England
The Research Process
Example: John Thomas Williams, born on Jan. 21, 1862, in Cradley, Hereford, England. The registration
district is Bromyard.
Your ancestor:_____________, born on _________________, in ___________, __________,
England. The registration district is _______________________.
name birth date parish county
district
• If you don’t know your ancestor’s birth, christening, marriage, or death information, start with a more recent generation. You will learn how to do research, and you will probably discover something you didn’t know about your family.
• From what you already have about your own family, choose an ancestor who was born in England between 1837 and 1901.
• It is important to know the registration district of a place in order to search government records.  Once you know the registration district name, you can better identify the entry you want in the indexes. Be aware, however, that people may be registered in a different district than the one they were living in. Perhaps they were registered in a neighboring district.

Tips

4 England
The following pages walk you through the research process, using as an example the steps Ann takes to find the family of her ancestor John Thomas Williams. Follow these same steps to find your ancestor’s family.
Ann's beginning pedigree chart Ann begins a family group record with John Thomas Williams listed as a child
John Thomas Williams
21 Jan 1862 Cradley, Hereford, England
Ann Williams
John Thomas Williams
George Malin Williams
John Thomas Williams
28 Dec 1916
SLC, UTAH
11 Sep 1891
SLC, UTAH
21 Jan 1862
Cradley, Hereford, England


5 England

1. Find information about your ancestor’s birth.
CIVIL REGISTRATION (See pages 17–19.)
A. On the Internet, Ann goes to freebmd, a site that indexes births, marriages, and deaths for England from 1837 up to about 1925. She fills in the search boxes, clicks Find, reads through the search results, and finds her ancestor, who was born in the Bromyard District. (Note: Births in January, February, and March are listed under March in this index; see page 17.)
B. Using the information found in the index, Ann orders the certificate from the General Register Office online. (For more information on ordering certificates, see “Archives and Libraries” on page 29.)
Index entry from the Index to the Civil Registrations of Birth at freebmd.
1862 birth certificate for John Thomas Williams, from the General Register Office, England
Where born Name Sex Parents’ names
The Research Process
Example
C. When the certificate arrives, Ann adds the birth information from the certificate for John Thomas Williams to her records. She also adds the source information so that anyone looking at her information will know where it came from.

6 England
Address Name Age Occupation Where born
Address Name Age Occupation Where Born
1871 census image from Cradley, Hereford, England, of the Williams family from Ancestry.com
1861 census image from Cradley, Hereford, England, of the Williams family from Ancestry.com
The Research Process
Example
Church records (See pages 22–23.)
A. If Ann couldn’t find John Thomas Williams’s birth certificate in civil registration records, she could have searched for his christening record in church records. To learn how to do this, see step 3 on pages 8–10.
2. Find your ancestor’s parents, brothers, and sisters in census records. (See “Census” on pages 20–21.)
A. Ann now wants to find John Thomas Williams on the census to find out more information about his parents, brothers, and sisters. The first available census after John Thomas Williams’s birth in 1862 is the 1871 census. Ann knows that there are census indexes available on several sites on the Internet. She chooses to use Ancestry. She finds John T. Williams in the parish of Cradley, listed with his parents and an older sister, Sarah Ann. The census provides ages and places of birth for the family members.
B. Ann wants to find other brothers and sisters for John Thomas, so she does another search at Ancestry, this time in the 1861 census, which was the census just before John Thomas Williams was born. Since John Thomas will not be in the 1861 census, Ann searches for his father, John Williams, and again finds the family in Cradley. The 1861 census lists five more siblings, Eliza, Emma, Elizabeth, James, and Harriet. Because the family immigrated in 1880, Ann does not look at later censuses.


7 England

Address Name Age Occupation Where Born
1851 census image from Cradley, Hereford, England, of the Williams family from ancestry
The Research Process
Example
C. Ann searches the 1851 census to find additional family members and again searches in Ancestry] to locate the family. She finds two more siblings for John Thomas Williams: Elivina and George.
D. Ann records the information she found, including the source information.
E. Ann estimates an approximate birth year for each of the 11 family members by subtracting the age of the person from the year of the census.

8 England
The Research Process
Example
3. Find birth information for your ancestor’s brothers and sisters.
CIVIL REGISTRATION (See pages 17–19.)
A. On the Internet, Ann goes to www.freebmd.org.uk to search for birth certificates for John Thomas’ brothers and sisters. To learn how to do this, see step 1 on pages 5–6.
Church records (See pages 22–23.)
A. The census provided approximate birth years for each of the children. With an estimated birth year (1857) and a stated birthplace (Cradley), Ann can go to the parish registers of Cradley and look for a christening record of Elizabeth, John Thomas Williams’s sister.
B. Ann first searches for an index to the christening records of Cradley. She begins by searching the International Genealogical Index on the Internet at www.familysearch.org. She finds Elizabeth Williams, daughter of John Williams and Ann, christened 3 Nov 1857 in Cradley, Hereford, England. She looks at the source and finds that the entry was extracted from a microfilm copy of the parish registers of Cradley. She visits a family history center near her home and orders in the microfilm so that she can see the actual entry to verify that the information was extracted correctly and to obtain any additional information that might be found
in the entry.
When baptized Name Parents Abode (residence) Occupation By whom
Cradley Parish registers—christening of Elizabeth Williams


9 England

The Research Process
Example
C. If Ann had not found the right entry in the International Genealogical Index, she could have done one or more of the tasks listed below to find the christening of Elizabeth:
• Visit the family history center near her home and use the CD, Vital Records Index—British Isles (2nd Edition). Ann does a search for births or christenings by entering the surname Williams and then the time period and the place Cradley, Hereford using data she found on the census. She adds John Williams in the father field and Ann in the mother field, and then clicks the Search button. She finds four children of this family, Emma, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, and John Thomas. Ann makes a copy of the results list from the British Vital Records Index
• Look on the Internet using a search engine. She looks for search terms such as “index Cradley christenings,” “Herefordshire index parish registers,” “Herefordshire christenings index,” or “Cradley parish registers.”
• Look in the Family History Library Catalog under the parish and the subject Church records. Ann does a Place Search in the Family History Library Catalog for Cradley. She finds that Cradley in Hereford in the Catalog is listed as East or West Cradley. She looks under East or West Cradley for the topic Church Records. She finds the microfilm number for the parish registers. She orders the microfilm to her family history center.
British Vital Records Index results for children of John and Ann Williams


10 England
The Research Process
Example
D. If parish registers are not available, Bishops’ Transcripts might be available. Bishops’ Transcripts are copies of parish registers.
E. Ann now wants to find the other children in parish registers. Two of the children are listed on the census as born in Linton. Ann cannot find a parish named Linton, so she looks in a gazetteer and finds that Linton is a small place within the parish of Bromyard. One of the children is listed as being born in Bromyard. Ann looks at a map of Herefordshire parishes and sees that Bromyard and Cradley border each other. Ann uses the same process to find children christened in Bromyard as she did to find children christened in Cradley. She finds the
christenings of Eliza, Elvina (which was spelled “Elivina” on the census), and George in Bromyard Parish.
F. Ann records the information from the christening records for the children found in the church records and adds the source for the information.


11 England

The Research Process
Example
4. Find the marriage record of your ancestor’s parents in church records (see “Church Records: Marriage” on pages 24–25) or in civil registration records (see “Civil Registration: Marriage” on pages 26–28).
A. Ann tries searching the International Genealogical Index (IGI) at www.familysearch.org to find marriage information for the parents of John Thomas Williams. Ann finds the marriage for John Williams and Ann Pugh on 20 December 1840 at Bromyard, Hereford.
B. The source microfilm number is listed on the IGI as 992640. Ann looks up the marriage on the microfilm.
Marriage record of John Williams and Ann Pugh
IGI entry—marriage of John Williams and Ann Pugh
C. Ann records information she obtained from the marriage record, and she records the source information.


12 England
The Research Process
Example
D. If Ann had not found the marriage in the International Genealogical Index, she could have searched the marriage records in the parish registers of Bromyard, where the first child was born, to find the marriage of John Williams and Ann Pugh. If she did not find the marriage in the parish registers, she could then search the index to the government records of marriages (see “Civil Registration: Marriage” on pages 26–28.).
E. Ann now has the information she needs for this family.
For information on submitting names for temple ordinances, see A Member’s Guide to Temple and
Family History Work (34697).
REPEAT STEPS 1 THROUGH 4 TO FIND ANOTHER FAMILY.
Look for the families of each of your ancestor’s parents. Start with the birth record of one of the parents, and then search for their siblings and parents.


13 England
The Research Process
Summary
Finding an English Family, 1837–1901
1. Find information about your ancestor’s birth in civil registration records or church christening (baptism) records.
• This verifies what you know.
• Write down what you find, and record your source information.
2. Find your ancestor’s parents, brothers, and sisters in census records.
• Look for the first census following your ancestor’s birth. Check the census for the place where your ancestor was born.
• Look in earlier and later censuses to see if there are other children.
• Write down names, ages, birthplaces, and so on.
• Estimate birth years from the ages.
• Write down what you find, and record your source information.
3. Find birth information for your ancestor’s brothers and sisters in civil registration records or church christening records.
• Use places and estimated birth years from the census.
• Write down what you find, and record your source information.
4. Find the marriage record of your ancestor's parents in church records or civil registration records.
• Look for records of marriages in the parish where the oldest child was born.
• Start with the date of the first child's birth, and search backward and forward until you find the marriage.
• Write down what you find, and record your source information.
Then follow the same steps to find a parent’s family.
What’s Next
Follow the same steps to look for the families of each of your ancestor’s parents.
If you cannot find your ancestor using this research process, contactFamilySearch Support for research help.


14 England
In order to find records about your family, you need to know the names of the parish and county they lived in. It is also helpful to know the registration district. The following is an explanation of the jurisdictions you need to know in order to research your family.
Place Levels (Jurisdictions)
Places are usually listed from smallest to largest on family group records. Registration districts are not usually listed.
Ridgeway, Cradley, Herefordshire, England
(Village) (Parish) (County) (Country)
Village
A village is a small settlement within a parish.
Parish
A parish is the geographical area (jurisdiction) where an Anglican (Church of England) minister served. The parish is usually named for the place where the Church of England church was built.
To find the parish for a town or village, look in a gazetteer. Online gazetteers can be found at:
1. Vision of Britain
2. Ancestry
If you don’t find your ancestor’s records in one parish, look in nearby or other likely parishes. To find nearby parishes, use the Parish Locator site.
District
Each county in England is divided into many districts. A district may have several parishes in it, or a very large parish may be divided into several districts. Knowing the registration district that covers your ancestor’s parish will help you search the government records of birth, marriage, and death (known as civil registration).
To determine the name of the registration district for a parish, go to the Registration District site.
Finding Places
Map of Cradley Parish
Cradley
Map of Herefordshire with districts; Bromyard District is highlighted


15 England
Finding Places
Map of west midland counties of England with Herefordshire highlighted
County
England is divided into many counties. (Some records are found under the county, including some church records.)
When typing the locality place-name into your family history software program:
• List the places from smallest to largest: parish, county, country.
• If you wish to list the village or hamlet, place it before the parish.
• The district is not usually recorded.


Tips
16 England
Finding Places
Using the Family History Library Catalog
Use the online Family History Library Catalog to find any record available from the Family History Library. The Catalog will give you the call numbers you need to obtain the records.
To use the Catalog::
1. Click here
2. Click Place Search. You will see “Place” and “Part of (optional).”
3. For the Place, type: the name of the parish
4. For Part of, type: England
5. Click on Search.
6. A list of places will appear. Look for the place you need, and click on it.
7. From the list of topics that appear, click on the topic you need, such as Church Records.
8. From the titles that appear, click on the title you want, such as Parish Registers.
9. This screen will describe the record, including the book number if the record is a book. If you need the microfilm or microfiche number, click View Film Notes near the top of the page.
10. Locate the film number you need in the list of numbers.
Use the Place Search to find England civil registration indexes, censuses, and church records. To find England civil registration indexes, search by country.
To find England census and church records, search by parish or by county.
If no matches are found when you type in the place, do a search for the larger place, such as a county.
After selecting it from the list of results, click View Related Places. Browse this alphabetical list to see
if you can locate your place.
• Look for spelling variations of the place-name.
• Type the name of the parish, not the village. To find which parish a smaller place is located in, visit: http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/descriptions/index.jsp.
• Look for variations in the name of the parish.
• The Family History Library may not have records for the place you need.


Tips
17 England
civil registration: birth
Indexes
If you cannot locate an entry in the indexes for your ancestor, consider the following reasons:
• Surnames are often found under unexpected spellings.
• Events are filed by the date registered, not the date they occurred, so search a wide range of years.
• Indexes were prepared by hand and may contain copying errors or omissions.
• A person may have been registered under a different name than he or she used at other times in his or her life.
• Family information is often misleading.
• Persons with common names may be difficult to identify in the index.
• A child born before the parents’ marriage may be registered under the mother’s maiden name.
• Some children were registered as “male” or “female” if a given name had not been selected before registration, such as Female Buckley.
• Civil registration records are indexed separately for births, marriages, and deaths. The indexes are organized by year, then by quarter of the year, then by name. The first quarter includes January, February, and March. The second quarter includes April, May, and June. The third quarter includes July, August, and September. The fourth quarter includes October, November, and December.
Quarters are listed by the last month of the quarter. For example, the record of a birth in May would appear in the index under June.
• Records are found in the year and quarter when the event was registered and not necessarily when
it took place.
Use Birth Indexes To: Tips
• Find the reference numbers to order a birth certificate from England.
• Verify an approximate birth date.
• Verify the district where a birth was recorded.
Content
• Year and quarter of registration
• Name
• District
• Volume
• Page
• Mother’s maiden name (given in birth indexes after June 1911)
Online Indexes
To search online indexes of the Civil Registration records of births, use one of these Web sites:
• www.freebmd.org.uk (no charge)
• www.findmypast.com (fee required)
• www.ancestry.co.uk (fee required)
• www.bmdindex.co.uk (fee required)
• www.ukbmd.co.uk (indexes to local superintendent records; no charge)
• www.familyrelatives.com (fee required)
http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/Login.asp (General Register Office Web site, where you can register and pay by credit card to have a five-year index search conducted to find a birth entry; if the certificate is found, a copy can be mailed for a fee)
Name District Volume Page
Index of birth record of John Thomas Williams, March quarter of 1862


18 England
Civil Registratrion: Birth
1837 to the Present
Use Civil Registration Birth Records
To:
• Find birth information for most people who were born in England after July 1, 1837.
• Verify the birthplace of an ancestor.
• Establish a time and place of a family’s residence.
• Learn a mother’s maiden name.
Content
• Birth date
• Birthplace
• Child’s name
• Parents’ names, including mother’s maiden name
• Father’s occupation
• Residence
• Informant (person present at the birth who reported it to the registrar), possibly the informant’s relationship to the child, and the informant’s address
• Date the birth was registered
• Births are recorded in the year and quarter of registration, not necessarily by date of birth.
• It is helpful to know the district. (See “Finding Places” on pages 14–16.)
• If you are searching for a common name or do not find your ancestor’s name in the general index, you can write to the local Superintendent Registrar to obtain a certificate. (See “Records Obtained From” on page 19.)

Tips
19 England
Civil Registration: Birth
1837 to the Present
Searching Birth Records
(Civil Registration)
Before searching, you must know:
• Your ancestor's name.
• A possible parish and county of birth.
• An approximate birth date.
The reference from the index is also helpful (see page 17).
Records Obtained From:
• General Register Office. (See “Archives and Libraries,” page 29.) Order online at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificate/index.asp#0.
• The local superintendent registrar. Addresses are available at www.genuki.org.uk. Click on England, then the county and then the subject Civil Registration.
• www.ukbmd.co.uk. Click on the county.
1862 birth certificate for John Thomas Williams, from the General Register Office, England
Where born Name Sex Parents’ names


20 England
Census Indexes
1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Use Census Indexes To:
• Quickly find your ancestor in a census.
Online Indexes
Name indexes exist on the Internet for every census from 1841 to 1901. The following Web sites have indexes:
• www.ancestry.co.uk (for the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 censuses; fee required)
• www.englishorigins.com (for the 1841 and 1871 censuses; fee required)
• www.findmypast.com (for the 1841, 1861, 1871, and 1891 censuses; fee required)
• www.thegenealogist.co.uk (for the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, and 1901 censuses; fee required)
www.1901censusonline (for the 1901 census; no charge)
• www.familysearch.org (for the 1881 census; no charge)
www.census-online.com/links/England (links for many online census records)
• www.freecen.org.uk (free database of online census transcriptions)
You can also use a search engine such as Google to look for a census index for a particular place. (For example: Bishop’s Cleeve 1851 Census Index.)
• Check for variant spellings of the surname.
• If you can’t find your ancestor’s full name in an index, search using only the given name and other identifying information, such as age and place. Or search for only a surname with the other identifying information.
• Indexes can have errors and omissions, which will affect what results appear for a search.
• Read the information provided about the index before searching so that you will better understand what is indexed and how to search it.
Tips
Searching Census Indexes
Before searching, you must know:
• Your ancestor’s name.
• An approximate age for your ancestor.
It can also be helpful to know:
• Where your ancestor lived at the time of the census.
• Names of other family members.

21 England
Census
1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901
Use Census Records To:
• Find family members and members of the household.
• Learn the names, ages, and birthplaces of brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and others living in the
household.
• Establish a time and place of a family’s residence.
• Identify a person’s occupation.
Content
• Names
• Ages
• Residence
• Occupations
Beginning with 1851, census records also show:
• Exact ages.
• Marital status.
• Relationship of household members to the head of household.
• Birthplaces.
• Use indexes when available. (See “Census Indexes” on page 20.)
• Ages in the 1841 census were rounded down to the next lower 5 years for anyone 16 years of age or older. For example, a 19-year-old would be listed as 15 years old.
• The census does not list children who were born and died between censuses.
• The census does not list family members who were away from home when the census was taken.
• Relationships to the head of household usually apply only to the head of household. You may find a relationship that is to someone who is not a head of the household.
Tips
Searching Census Records
Before searching, you must know:
• Your ancestor’s name.
Knowing the parish and county where your ancestor lived and the time he or she lived there is helpful.
Internet images or transcripts of census records are available at:
• www.ancestry.co.uk (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901 indexes and images; fee required)
• www.englishorigins.com (1841, 1861, and 1871 [partial] indexes and images; fee required)
• www.findmypast.com (1841, 1861, 1871, and 1891 indexes and images; fee required)
• www.1901censusonline.com (1901 index and images; fee required)
http://thegenealogist.co.uk (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891, and 1901 transcription and images; no charge)
• www.familysearch.org (1881; no charge)


22 England
Church Records: christening
1538 to the Present
Use Christening (Baptism) Records To:
• Find christening information for the majority of the people who were born in England.
• Verify your ancestor’s christening date and place.
• Establish a time and place of a family's residence.
• Verify parents’ names.
Content
• Child's name
• Parents' names, and in some time periods, occupation and residence
• Christening date
• Birth date (on some records)
• Residence and father’s occupation (on some records)
Indexes
International Genealogical Index (IGI)
The International Genealogical Index includes many christenings extracted from Church of England (and other) registers. Not all church records are included in the IGI.
This index is available on the Internet at www.familysearch.org.
Vital Records Index—British Isles
2nd Edition (50126)
The Vital Records Index—British Isles includes many christenings extracted from Church of England (and other) registers that were not included in the IGI. It is available on compact disc and can be purchased for use
at home (See “How to Order Family History Library Publications,” page 29.) It is also available at the Family History Library and family history centers.
Internet Search engines
Numerous Web sites contain indexes to church records in England. Online data may be found by using a search engine such as Google.
• In this publication, the term church records refers to records of the Church of England. Records for other churches do exist and can be used. You should know the denomination your ancestor belonged to.
• The christening date can be used as an approximate birth date if the birth took place before 1837, because children were usually christened within a few weeks of birth.
• When searching christening (baptism) records, look a few years before the time you think the actual birth or christening took place, and continue for several years after the actual birth. Some people were not christened as children, but as adults.
• If you don’t find your ancestor’s birth (christening) record in one parish, look in nearby parishes. (See
“Finding Places” on pages 14–16.)
• Copies of parish registers (the original record), known as Bishops’ Transcripts, and in some counties, Archdeacons’ Transcripts exist from about 1598 to about 1875. These transcripts can be searched if the parish registers are not available or if the parish registers are unreadable. Be aware that the information given for a particular entry can vary between parish registers, Bishops’ Transcripts, and Archdeacons’ Transcripts.
• If you don’t find the christening in Church of England registers, look at the records of other churches. (See Research Outline: England [34037]
“Nonconformist Church Records.”)


Tips
23 England
Church Records: christening
1538 to the Present
Searching Christening Records
Before searching, you must know:
• Your ancestor’s name.
• The parish and county of birth or residence.
• An approximate birth date.
You can locate records by using the following:
• The Family History Library and family history centers
• County record offices or diocesan record offices
• Parish indexes
To find christening records in the Family History Library, use the Family History Library Catalog:
Place search:
Place [name of parish]
Part of [county]
Topics to choose: Church records or Church
records–Indexes
From the titles of the church records listed, choose parish registers or Bishops’ Transcripts.
Search the record by:
• Date (day, month, year).
• Child’s name.
When baptized Name Parents Abode (residence) Occupation By whom
Cradley Parish registers—christening of Elizabeth Williams


24 England
Church records: Marriage
1538 to the Present
Use Marriage Records to Find:
• The maiden name of the bride.
• The couple’s marriage date and place.
• The bride’s and groom’s fathers’ names and occupations.
• Ages of the bride and groom.
Content
• Marriage date.
• Groom's name and sometimes age, occupation, and residence.
• Bride's name and sometimes age, occupation, and residence.
• Marital status of the bride and groom (on some records).
After 1754 you may also find:
• Names of witnesses, who may be family members.
• Residence of the bride and groom at the time of marriage.
After 1837 you may also find:
• Names of the fathers of the bride and groom.
• Occupations of the fathers of the bride and groom.
• Look for an index of marriages covering the area where you think the marriage might have taken place before looking at the actual records.
• Between 1754 and 1837, marriages were required to be performed in the Church of England, unless the participants were Jewish or Quakers.
Marriages after 1837 could be performed in the registrar’s office or in a church other than the Church of England.
• To find a marriage record, first look in the parish where the first child was born. Then look in the parish(es) where the parents were born (starting with the mother’s parish), and then in nearby parishes.
• If you don’t find a marriage in the parish registers after 1837, search the marriage indexes of civil registration. (See “Civil Registration: Marriage” on pages 26–28.)
• Marriages recorded in parish records after 1754 are listed in separate books from the christenings and burials.


Tips
25 England

Church Records: Marriage
1538 to the Present
Searching Church Marriage Records
Before searching, you must know:
• The name of the bride or the name of the groom.
• The approximate date of marriage or the birth date of the first child.
• The parish of residence of the bride or groom or the parish of birth of the first child.
You can locate records by using the following:
• Family History Library and family history centers
• County record offices and diocesan record offices
• Parish indexes
To find records of marriages in the Family History Library, use the Family History Library Catalog:
Place search:
Place [name of parish]
Part of [county]
Topics to choose: Church Records or Church
Records—Indexes
From the list of titles under Church Records, choose parish registers or Bishops’ Transcripts.
Search the record by:
• Date (day, month, year).
• The couple’s names.
Marriage record of John Williams and Ann Pugh

26 England
civil registrat ion: Marriage
Indexes
Use Marriage Indexes To:
• Find the reference numbers for a marriage, so that the certificate can be obtained from England.
• Verify an approximate marriage date.
• Verify a district where a marriage was recorded.
Content
• Name
• District
• Volume
• Page
• Spouse’s surname (in marriage indexes after 1911)
If the marriage can’t be found in civil registration, you can try church records (See “Church Records: Marriage,” pages 24–25.)
• Civil registration records are indexed separately for births, marriages, and deaths. The indexes are organized by year, then by quarter of the year, then by name. The first quarter includes January, February, and March. The second quarter includes April, May, and June. The third quarter includes July, August, and September. The fourth quarter includes October, November, and December. Quarters are listed by the last month of the
quarter. For example, the record of a marriage in May would appear in the index under June.
• Records are found in the year and quarter when the event was registered and not necessarily when
it took place.
• It is helpful to know the district (See “Finding Places” on pages 14–16.)
• If you cannot locate an entry in the indexes for your ancestor, consider the following reasons:
- Surnames are often found under unexpected spellings.
- Events are filed by the date registered, not the date they occurred, so search a wide range of years.
- Indexes were prepared by hand and may contain copying errors or omissions.
- A person may have been registered under a different name than he or she used at other times in his or her life.
- Family information is often misleading.
- Persons with common names may be difficult to identify in the index.
• If you find names of both the bride and the groom in the marriage indexes with the same quarter, district, volume, and page, you have probably found the right marriage.
• A bride could be listed on the marriage record with her maiden name or a previously married name.


Tips
27 England
Civil Registration: Marriage
Indexes
Online Indexes
To search the online indexes to the Civil Registration records of marriages, use one of these Web sites:
• www.freebmd.org.uk (no charge)
• www.findmypast.com (fee required)
• www.ancestry.co.uk (fee required)
• www.bmdindex.co.uk (fee required)
http://www.genesreunited.com (fee required)
• www.familyrelatives.com (fee required)
http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/Login.asp (General Register Office Web site, where you can register and pay by credit card to have a five-year index search conducted to find a marriage entry; if the certificate is found, a copy can be mailed for a fee)
Civil registration marriage record for John Williams and Ann Pugh


28 England
Civil Registration: Marriage
1837 to the Present
Use Civil Registration Marriage
Records To:
• Find marriage information for virtually every person who was married in England after July 1, 1837.
• Verify the marriage place of an ancestor.
• Establish a time and place of a family’s residence.
• Learn the names of the bride’s father and the groom’s father.
• Verify the ages of a bride and groom.
• Find out the religious denomination of a bride and groom, if they married in a church.
Content
• Names of the bride and groom.
• Residences of the bride and groom.
• Marital status of the bride and groom (single, widowed, or divorced).
• Occupations of the bride and groom.
• Ages of the bride and groom.
• Names and occupations of the fathers of the bride and groom.
• Date of marriage.
• Marriage place, including the name of the church, if the marriage took place in a church.
• If you know the name of the bride and the groom, you may be able to find the marriage without knowing a place.
• When a marriage records says “21” or “of full age” as the age of the bride and groom, it may mean that they are 21 or older than 21.
Tips
Searching Marriage Records
(Civil Registration)
Before searching, you must know:
• The name of the bride or groom.
• A possible parish and county of marriage.
• An approximate marriage date.
Records obtained from:
• General Register Office. (See “Archives and Libraries,” page 29.) Order online at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificate/index.asp#0.
• The local Superintendent Registrar. Addresses are available at www.genuki.org.uk by county and then by subject under “Civil Registration.”


29 England
Additional Helps
Time Line
1538 Parishes began keeping registers.
1598 Parish ministers were required to make a copy of their register each year and send it to the bishop.  These records are called Bishops’ or Archdeacons’ Transcripts.
1752 The calendar changed from beginning the year on March 25 to beginning the year on January 1.
1754 A law was passed requiring marriages to be performed in the Church of England except for Jews or Quakers. Marriages from this date were recorded in separate books.
1801 The first national census was taken in England. However, it did not contain names or any other  genealogical information.
1812 Christenings and burials were recorded in printed registers.
1837 The government began recording births, marriages, and deaths.
1841 The first national census was taken that had names and genealogical information.
1851 Parish or place of birth and relationship to head of household were recorded in census records from this date on.
1901 The most recent national census that has been released for public use was taken.
More about English Research
Research Outline: England (34037) describes other records that can be used in the research process to find out more about your family.
Herber, Mark. Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History. Stroud, England: Sutton Publishing LTD., in association with the Society of Genealogists, 1998. (FHL book 942 D27hm).
Rogers, Colin D. Tracing Your English Ancestors. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989. (FHL book 942 D27r 1989).
Saul, Pauline. The Family Historian’s Enquire Within. Birmingham, England: Federation of Family History Societies (Publications) Ltd., 1995. (FHL book 942 D27mf 1995).
Genuki www.genuki.org.uk
Archives and Libraries
Family History Centers
www.familysearch.org
Phone: 1-800-346-6044 (toll free in the United States and Canada)
Family History Library
35 N. West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3440
www.familysearch.org
General Register Office
P.O. Box 2
Southport, Merseyside PR8 2JD
England
Phone: From U.S. 011-44-870-243-7788
Fax: From U.S. 011-44-1704-550013
Web site: www.gro.gov.uk
National Archives
Ruskin Avenue, Kew
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
England
Web site: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
County Archives and Local Superintendent
Registrar
See the Web site www.genuki.org.uk. Look for the individual county, and then Archives and Libraries or Civil Registration.
How to Order Family H istory Library Publications
Go to www.familysearch.org. Under the heading “Get Started with Family History,” click guides. When the new page comes up, click Sorted by Place, click the letter E, and look for the publications that pertain to England in the list that appears.
You can view these publications on the screen or print them. Or you can order a copy of a publication by clicking the product number on the right and then clicking the Quick Order tab at the top of the page.


30 England
Additional Helps

31 England
Additional Helps

32 England
Index
Index
additional helps
Ancestry.com (Web site)
archives
baptism (christening) records . . . . . .
birth indexes .
birth records
Bishops’ Transcripts .
British Isles Vital Records Index
census records .
census indexes
christening records .
church records
christening .
marriage .
civil registration records .
birth certificates .
marriage certificates .
counties
districts
England, maps of .
family group record .
family history centers
Family History Library Catalog . . . .
FamilySearch .
FamilySearch Support .
General Register Office .
Genes Reunited (Web site)
how to begin .
indexes .
International Genealogical Index
maps of England
marriage indexes
marriage records
One Great Family (Web site)
parishes
pedigree chart .
Personal Ancestral File
place search .
publications .
research process
step 1 .
step 2 .
step 3 .
step 4 .
registration district .
RootsWeb (Web site)
search engines .
summary of research process .
time line .
villages .
Vital Records Index
29–31
3
29
22–23
17
18–19
10, 22
9, 22
6–7, 21
20
8, 22–23
22–25
8, 22–23
11, 24–25
17–19, 26–28
5, 17–19
11, 26–28
15
14
14–15
4, 30–31
29
9–10, 16
3
13
29
3
3
17, 20, 22,
26–27
11, 22
14–15
26–27
24–28
3
14
4
3
16, 23, 25
29
2–13
5–6
6–7
8–10
11–12
4, 14
3
9, 22
13
29
14
9, 22
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