FamilySearch: A Great Online Tool for Norfolk, England Ancestry

Do you have Norfolk ancestry? If so, FamilySearch is the site for you! Recently, many Norfolk records have been placed online at FamilySearch. Here is a list of the records and a description of what you might expect to find:

  • Parish Registers, 1538-1900. Registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials from the Church of England.
  • Bishop’s Transcripts, 1685-1941. Copies of the Church of England parish registers sent to the Bishop. These may or may not contain additional tidbits of information
  • Archdeacon’s Transcripts, 1600-1812. Sometimes copies of the parish registers were sent to the Archdeacon instead of the Bishop.
  • Marriage Bonds, 1557-1915. If your ancestors were married by License rather than by Banns, then a marriage bond and allegation would be available. The bond was an assurance provided by the bondsmen to the oath of the marriage, that if the marriage oath was broken, then the assurances would be paid.
  • Non-conformists Records, 1613-1901. Church records of those not belonging to the Church of England.
  • Monumental Inscriptions, 1600-1900’s. The inscriptions on the tombstones of your ancestors.
  • Poor Law Records, 1796-1900. If your ancestors were poor and needed assistance they may have been placed in the Workhouse

The Poor Law records may include:

  • Admission & discharge books. Those entering and leaving the workhouse. This can list the whole family.
  • Baptisms, births, and deaths that occurred in workhouse.
  • Workhouse punishment books. Lists those who were punished, the cause of punishment, and the penalty inflicted.
  • In-door relief books listing those receiving assistance in the workhouse. These records may list spouse and children.
  • Out-door relief books. Those receiving assistance living outside of the Workhouse. These records may list spouse and children.
  • Poor Rates. A rate collected from parishioners (lists names) by the Overseers of the Poor to help fund the workhouse.
  • Guardian Minute Books. The minute books of the Board of Guardians who oversaw the poor relief in the workhouses.
  • Register of Electors, 1844-1952. Those who were eligible to vote.

Although these records have not yet been indexed, the actual images are available for browsing and viewing! In order to be more effective in searching the images, you will need to know the time period in which your ancestors lived and the name of their parish of residence. These digitized images were stored on microfilm and originally were available only at the Family History Library or on loan at one of over 4,500 Family History Centers worldwide. At the beginning of this year, they were made available on and can now be accessed anywhere in the world with Internet connection.

For more information on Norfolk Poor Law records, see the England Norfolk Poor Law Union Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) article in the Family Search Research Wiki.

Comments (19)

Post a Comment »

  1. Wow Excellent information How nice to have the records digitized now for everyone to access. Thanks for being concise and helpful at the same time.....its nice to not have to read a novel when time is so limited. Keep up the great work

    Jessica 09 January 2012
    1:50 pm
  2. I found particularly fascinating the Minute books of the Boards of Guardians of the Poor Law Unions. For Docking, where I had a particular interest, it meant trawling through 2300 pages but the work was worth it when one of the ancestors came alive in the text. Many thanks

    Colin Wilkin 16 September 2011
    11:46 am
  3. You state that many Norfolk records have been places online and that certain categories of records may be included. Many is very vague - you should have given some indication as to whether you mean a couple of the largest towns, the majority of parishes, or almost 100% coverage. Where can I find the list of which parishes and poor law unions are included in these records? It should be possible to at least list the original film numbers and descriptions. This sort of information is important to researchers because if only 50% of parishes are there, then it doesnt really matter that an individual isnt found, because they could have been living in one of the other 50%

    Rachel 01 September 2011
    6:12 am
  4. You say above that Do you have Norfolk ancestry? If so, FamilySearch is the site for you Recently, many Norfolk records have been placed online at FamilySearch. Here is a list of the records and a description of what you might expect to find ■Parish Registers, 1538-1900. Registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials from the Church of England. How do I access these on your website? - Micheline

    Micheline 30 August 2011
    3:11 pm
  5. Looking for place in England ,where William Waterson and Elizabeth Taine lived .Their daughters Louise Waterson Taine and Elena Waterson Taine came to Puerto Rico. Louise married here in Puerto Rico on November 5,1851. Thanks for information and help u can bring me about this family Luz N. Espiet

    Luz N. Espiet 24 August 2011
    11:40 am
  6. Your Norfolk BMDs are incredible to be able to view and copy original records is beyond belief, well done. Please do the same for Lincolnshire ASAP please

    Ken W Maidens 19 August 2011
    2:51 pm
  7. I wanted to check the Parish records for Itteringham Norfolk,but they do not appear in the list. Has anyone found them under a different parish list? Your help would be appreciated. P.S. these records are fantastic for tracing and verifying records for Norfolk families

    pauline 15 August 2011
    5:51 pm
  8. brilliant service , not only for finding people but a fascinating view of life in the past. well done and free too makes a nice change thank you

    sylvia 13 August 2011
    7:02 am
  9. Hello, I finished reading through the other comments here and found the comments interesting as well as what you people have submitted here. Thanks so much for an enjoyable hour, learning what is available. Now, lets get searching for our ancestors I am especially looking toward the day when these films will be indexed so we can find them quicker Thanks again for heading up this monumental project for us and for the world

    Margie Sornsen 04 August 2011
    5:02 pm
  10. Thank you for your lessons on the county of Norfolkshire, England I have been learning about genealogy and family history for a number of years, but not in the unique Norfolk, England And, I can see my research is going in that direction because we have been stuck in some places because we didnt know what was available and important in Norfolk. I hope you will keep this bit of Norfolk history available in a simple way, so we can refer to it when needed, because it is much more complicated to search in than census records Many thanks for all you are doing to educate our nation and even the world. You are encouraging many people at their own level, to find their ancestors through your website and to build a world family tree

    Margie Sornsen 04 August 2011
    4:53 pm
  11. The images of Norfolk records are a fantastic resource. A word of warning the indexing has some major faults. If you search for Willm Callaby born in 1786 it is said he was baptised in Garboldisham. The records show this should have been Docking. Look on image 56 of the records and all other details are as shown on the search. Many of the Archdeacon records have been indexed as being at Norwich rather than the parish concerned. So stick with the marvellous images

    Peter Beaven 18 July 2011
    3:55 am
  12. On seeing this it makes one feel really good to know that one was a part of indexing these records so that they can go online for those that need the information to go forward in their search of their ancestors.

    Wayne 10 July 2011
    5:43 pm
  13. Makes one feel good to know that one was a part of indexing these records so that they can be available on line for those that will benefit from them.

    Wayne 10 July 2011
    5:38 pm
  14. Thank you for placing these images on line. I am happy to say I have found the baptism of my maternal 5x GGrandmother which finally places this line on English soil I have also found the burials of her parents. I am now searching the images for their marriage.

    K Hodges 15 June 2011
    5:14 pm
  15. Im searching my Proctor line,Avon Mich.born Northumberland Ontario,Canada. Harriet E.P-Knight.Id like to find if she was part indian.? Also,Cobb line?not sure-Edward 1345, Richard 1320,John 1300.? Kent England?I have from my dad-Maurice R C, to Walter 1266 but find Walter different des-.??

    Janet 12 June 2011
    3:56 pm
  16. The Norfolk records on here are really useful, especially for research prior to 1837. However, some of the records are not always in date order so be prepared for some long browsing sessions. I searched England Norfolk Marriage Bonds, 1557-1915, Norfolk, Diosese of Norwich Consistory Court, 1840-1845 and there were over 700 pages I did find what I wanted but it took a long time as the site can be quite slow. But, well done to for giving us the chance to find these records online and for FREE

    j Fisher 12 June 2011
    2:46 am
  17. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    Dave Olson 11 June 2011
    10:25 am
  18. I have been using the Norfolk records for quite a while now. I have found them to be invaluable for family research. They have helped me to trace many branches of my mothers family, in one case back to the 1540s. They also make very good general reading for the curious. Dont know what I would have done without them.

    Diana Ellul-Grech 10 June 2011
    8:58 am
  19. Oh Yes I found these a couple of weeks ago and have been using them extensively, particularly the Archdeacons Transcripts and the Bishops Transcripts which arent indexed ( has the Archdeacons Transcripts).

    Rosemary 09 June 2011
    9:12 am

Leave a Comment