England Bristol Non-Conformist Church Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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England Bristol Non-Conformist Church Records .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of England|
|Location of Bristol, England|
|Record Type||Non-Conformist Church|
|Bristol Records Office|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can This Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing this Collection
- 7 How You Can Contribute
What is in the Collection?
This collection contains vital records of nonconformist individuals from the city of Bristol, covering the period 1777-1936. Availability of records may vary by time and locality. It primarily contains records from the following denominations: Methodist, Society of Friends (Quakers), Catholic, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Wesleyan, Swedenborgian, Congregational, and Baptist. The original records can be found at the Bristol Record Office.
Used primarily from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, ‘’nonconformist’’ was a term used to refer to an English or Welsh Christian who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559 by belonging to a sect other than the established state religion, the Church of England. These individuals therefore did not “conform” to the law, and from this dissent arose the term. By 1850, many different groups fell into the nonconformist category, including Reformed Christians (Presbyterians and Congregationalists), Baptists, and Methodists, and by 1888, when most of the Act of Uniformity was repealed, approximately 15 percent of the population of England and 80 percent of the population of Wales were considered nonconformists. See England Nonconformist Church Records for more information.
While not the most universal source for English genealogical research, nonconformist church registers often are the most informative and accurate source available for English family history until the start of civil registration in 1837. Nonconformist birth and baptismal registers are fairly common, and they generally contain more information than those of the Church of England. Except for the Quakers and Jews, nonconformist denominations generally did not keep marriage records, especially after 1754. Nonconformist burial records are also less common, as nonconformist individuals were buried in Anglican churchyards if a churchyard belonging to their sect was not locally available.
Now a modern administrative county unto itself, Bristol has long been one of the major cities of southern England. It is a coastal city located on the southwestern peninsula of Great Britain, straddling the border between counties of Somersetshire and Gloucestershire, and gives its name to the Bristol Channel. For a list of historical parishes in the city with links to more information about most of them, see the Bristol Parishes page.
This collection contains select birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records. Birth and baptism record entries together are the most common in this collection, followed by death and burial records, with marriage records constituting the smallest portion.
What Can This Collection Tell Me?
The following lists indicate potential information given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all of the listed information, as record-keeping practices often varied by time, location, and especially denomination.
Baptismal Records may include:
Marriage Records may include:
Burial Records may include:
How Do I Search the Collection?
Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the collection page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.
Search by name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the select the desired film number to see the related images
Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.
What Do I Do Next?
I Found the Person I Was Looking for, What Now?
- Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference. See below for assistance in citing this collection. Save or print a copy of the image if possible.
- Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the estimated age given in a marriage or burial record to calculate an approximate year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
- Use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage.
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?
- When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
- Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names; as with any record, transcription errors could occur. Also remember that it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name in any given record. See Abbreviations Found in Genealogy Records for examples of common abbreviations. Note that some women reverted to their maiden name when their husband died, and therefore could be buried under their maiden name.
- Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches. Alternatively, try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth.
- Search the records of nearby parishes. While it was uncommon for an individual in this period to move more than about 20 miles from their place of birth, smaller relocations were not uncommon. For this particular collection, this step may require finding records in the bordering English counties of Somerset to the south or Gloucestershire to the north. The Welsh county of Monmouth across the Bristol Channel is also a possibility, but is less likely. Note that marriages usually took place in the parish where the bride resided.
- Look at the actual image of the record to verify the information found in the online description, if possible.
- The individual in question may not have records in a nonconformist denomination. It is possible that they either changed religions at some point in their life or that they undertook Anglican ordinances for whatever reason. See England, Bristol Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records) for more information.
For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
|FHL Place England, Bristol items or FHL Keyword England, Bristol items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see England Archives and Libraries.|
Citing this Collection
Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer back to information that has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore indispensable to keeping track of genealogical research. Following established formulae in formatting citations also allows others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.
To be of use, citations must include information such as the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records, if available. The following examples demonstrate how to present this information, and can serve as templates for creating proper citations for both this particular collection and individual records and images within the collection:
- "England, Bristol, Non-conformist Church Records." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Bristol Records Office, Bristol.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
How You Can Contribute
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