England, Hertfordshire, Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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This collection consists of parish registers from the county of Hertfordshire for the years 1538-1974.

Access the Records
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This article describes a collection of records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
Hertfordshire,  England
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Location of Hertfordshire, England
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Record Description
Record Type Parish Registers
Collection years 1538-1974
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Archives and Local Studies


Why Should I Look at This Collection?

Parish registers have been kept at the local level across England since the mid-1500s. Due to this long and relatively stable tradition, these records 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.

To learn more about parish registers, please see the England Parish Registers page.

What Is in This Collection?

This collection contains an index to baptismal, marriage, and burial records. The original records are held at the Hertfordshire Archives.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching, it is best to know the following information:

  • Name of the person
  • Date range for the record

As you search, compare your results with this information to find a match.

Search the Index

  1. Go to the collection page.
  2. Enter the requested information into the search box.
  3. Click Search to return a list of possible matches.

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.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the age listed in a record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, 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 an individual with a common name, look at all the search results before deciding which is the correct person. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to help with this decision. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Try variations of given names and surnames. An individual might appear under a different name in a record for a variety of reasons:
    • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, nickname, or abbreviation of their given name.
    • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as scribes heard them. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation.
    • Some women returned to their maiden names after the death of their husbands.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of results which can then be examined for matches. Try expanding the date range as well; 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 Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Middlesex to the south, or Buckinghamshire to the west. If researching in the nineteenth century, a thorough search of the London area could be required.
  • 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.

Citing This Collection

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer to information which has already been found, so proper citations are key to keeping track of research. Correct citations also allow others to check completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

Below are the proper citations to use for this whole collection as well as for individual records within it:

Collection Citation:

"Hertfordshire Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1974." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies, Hertford.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.


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.