England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|Access the Records|
England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Cornwall and Devon, England|
|Flag of England|
|Location of Cornwall and Devon, England|
|Record Type||Parish Registers|
|Cornwall Record 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 Known Issues with This Collection
- 7 Citing this Collection
- 8 How You Can Contribute
What is in the Collection?
This collection contains church records from the counties of Devon and Cornwall, covering the period 1538-2010. The collection also includes some material for nonconformist chapels which were filmed at the Cornwall Record Office at the time of filming Church of England registers. There are also typed transcripts of Society of Friends marriages included for certain areas of the county.
A parish register is a record of ordinances performed in the Church of England. Every minister recorded all the baptisms (officially termed “christenings”), marriages, and burials which took place in his parish each year, and bound them into a single, handwritten volume. After 1754, a new law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book, and banns, or proclamations of the intent to marry put forth in the parishes of both the bride and groom, were to be recorded in yet another book. Starting in 1812, pre-printed registers were introduced, and separate registers were then kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Often kept within a county record office or other archive repository, registers are central to English genealogical research as they are often one of the only sources for finding families and individuals in England before the start of civil registration in 1837.
- Further information: Church of England Parish Registers
Until 1876, the Diocese of Exeter covered the counties of Devon and Cornwall on the southwestern peninsula of Great Britain. After 1876, the Diocese of Exeter lost much of its territory to the newly created the Diocese of Truro. Exeter retained most of the county of Devon, and Truro was given the county of Cornwall plus the Devon parishes of Virginstow and St Giles on the Heath.
This collection contains select baptism, marriage, and burial records. Baptism record entries are the most common in this collection, followed by 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.
Baptismal Records may contain:
Additionally after 1812
Marriage Records may contain:
Additionally from 1754 to 1837
Additionally after 1837
Burial Records may contain:
Additionally after 1812
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 appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Town (with parish)"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Event Type and Year Range (with Volume)" to go to the images.
Compare the information found on the images with what is already known determine if a particular record relates to the correct person. This process may require examining multiple records before the correct person is located.
Many of the records in this collection are written in an old script that may be challenging to read. Refer to BYU’s Script Tutorial for assistance with reading the records.
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 index 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; transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record. Also remember that it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name, especially in church records. 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 and Dorset to the west. 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 the Church of England at all, but rather might have belonged to a nonconformist denomination. See England Nonconformist Church Records for more information on nonconformist records and England, Cornwall, Non-conformist Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) for more specific information on the availability of nonconformist records from Cornwall.
For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
Known Issues with This Collection
| Problems with this collection?|
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
Citing this Collection
Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer back to information that has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore critical 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, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Cornwall Records Office, Truro.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
|The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010.|
|The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010.|
How You Can Contribute
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.