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Lancashire, is a maritime county located in the North West of England. It is sometimes called the County of Lancaster.
By 1850 Lancashire was comprised of only 75 ancient parishes, each with mostly large boundaries. However, with over 400 smaller chapels in Lancashire (called chapelries, chapels of ease, district chapels or ecclesiastical churches), most parishes on average had 8 chapels which sub-divided them.
Each chapel of ease possesses 'parish' registers of baptisms, and (where extant) marriages and burials of their own, and many of them, from ancient times.
Choose your parish from the The Parishes A-Z list below and click to see a link to a "Comprehensive List of Chapels" for each ancient parish. If a link does not appear in this list, then check "The Chapels A-Z" listing below it to find it.
You can also check John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales or, Samuel A. Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England to determine whether your 'parish' was in fact a "parish" or, if it was instead a chapel of ease (chapelry) within a large parish boundary, etc.
Lancashire's Ancient Parishes And Their Chapels
Note: While the above list of Chapelries is meant to be thorough; however it is not as complete as the lists found on each Parish's main page. Currently, each Lancashire parish page (under "Church Records") is being built in order to accurately list all chapels which have been assigned and are attached to it.
Because these smaller chapels of ease and district chapels makeup the vast portion of Lancashire's geographical tapestry, thorough Lancashire research especially requires careful comprehensive, diligent study to determine all chapels of ease, chapelries, district churches, and parochial chapels lying within the boundary of each ancient parish.
Lancashire contains also "parts of 4 other [border] parishes, and at least 9 extra-parochial places. Prior to 1870, and for historical purposes, it may be helpful to know that the county was divided into the city of Manchester, and the boroughs of Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Bolton, Burnley, Clitheroe, Lancaster, Liverpool, Oldham, Preston, Rochdale, Salford, and Wigan, and included parts of the Cheshire boroughs of Stalybridge, Stockport, and Warrington...
Lancashire's assizes (higher courts) were held at Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester. The quarter sessions (smaller courts) were held at Lancaster, Preston, Liverpool, and Manchester.
Lancashire is one of the most complex of all England's counties. The following interactive map enables researchers to make sense of this county's jurisdictional makeup: 1851 Jurisdictions Map. If you want to know those parishes (or chapelries) immediately surrounding and contiguous to your target parish in which an ancestor possibly lived, was born or married, or to know in which diocesan court in order to search for a probate (will) record, or a marriage licence, allegation or bond, etc., use this map to find each parish and all of its chapelries.
IF the above Maps do not list or mention your place, then see the "Parishes" section under "Lancashire" and click the name of the parish (see double **) in which your ancestor resided. Then click the "Comprehensive List of Chapels and Churches" which more thoroughly list all chapels attached to each parish.
In Lancashire research, 'knowing and then searching all chapel registers within an ancient parish--is a "must" before searching in the next contiguous ancient parish! Why? Because most parishes have multiple chapelries attached to it and the chapelries often sent couples off to the mother (ancient) parish for marrying and for their dead to be buried, as 80 percent of all chapelries were not granted permission to marry, and some of them possessed no burial yard (some did not maintain church burial grounds). Do not searchthe next parish church's registersunless or until you've searched all chapels of ease registers, of those lying within the target parish's boundary!
Two great resources (free) to help you determine whether a Lancashire place was an ancient parish or a chapelry (a chapel of ease) and the name of the parish in which it resided, are 1) Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of England (published 1848) and 2) Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales.
Also all the key jurisdiction levels in which each ancient (civil) parish and most chapelries (but not yet all) are attached and viewable in the above Jurisdiction Map tool.
Civil Registration District Jurisdictions
When civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1837, Lancashire was divided into nearly 40 registration districts, each containing numerous parishes and their attached chapelries. To view and see a list of Lancashire districts and the parishes they contain, will help you quickly identify the correct registration district name when searching for ancestors in the civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths (in the post-1837 era).
Ancient Parishes Jurisdictions
See a list of Lancashire's 75 parishes (see double asterisks) with links to articles and its 500-plus chapelries.
Probate Court Jurisdictions
Read more about Lancashire Probate Records.
Before 1858, every town and parish in Lancashire was under the probate jurisdiction of a primary court and one or more secondary courts. To see a list of Lancashire parishes and the pre-1858 courts that had probate jurisdiction over them, go to Lancashire Probate Records.
You will find for any given place name, all of the jurisdiction levels and more, in the above map.
Raymond, Stuart A. Lancashire: a genealogical bibliography, vol. 1, Lancashire genealogical sources. Birmingham [England]: Federation of Family History Societies, c 1996-1997.
Raymond, Stuart A. Lancashire: a genealogical bibliography, vol. 2. Registers, inscriptions and wills. Birmingham [England]: Federation of Family History Societies, c 1996-1997.
Raymond, Stuart A. Lancashire: a genealogical bibliography, vol. 3. Lancashire family histories and pedigrees. Birmingham [England]: Federation of Family History Societies, c 1996-1997.
- Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerks Links to extracted data from many of the parishes in Lancashire.
- GENUKI UK & Ireland Genealogy
- Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths
- Lancashire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 (£). 931,033 entries.
- Lancashire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911 (£). 850,138 entries.
- Lancashire, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1986 (£). 441,009 entries.
- Lancashire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 (£). 645,187 entries.
- Lancashire, England, Confirmations, 1856-1922 (£). 3,807 entries.
- Liverpool burials online
- Liverpool church register transcripts at Lanc OPC
- Manchester burials online
- Manchester church register transcripts online at Lanc-OPC
- Manchester Roman Catholic Registers transcripts
- Roman Catholic marriages, baptisms and burials
- England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- FHLFavorites.info an extensive list of web sites and/or web pages for Lancashire and many of its parishes (search for links not only on the local level but at the county [Lancashire] and national [England] levels as well
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at: