User:MannAE/Sandbox/FamilySearch Historical Records England Church Records Collections

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This page was created to describe Historical Record Collections on FamilySearch for church records in England.

How to Use the Record

Parish registers are one of the best sources for identifying individuals and connecting them to parents, spouses, and other generations. In July 1837, the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. However, parish registers continue to play an important role because they are often more readily available than civil registers. Bishops’ transcripts are a backup source for parish registers that are missing or illegible. If possible, you may want to search both the parish registers and the bishops’ transcripts since they might contain differences.

Baptism or christening records list the parents’ names, making it possible for you to connect your ancestor to an earlier generation. You may find a birth date listed or be able to approximate a birth date. After 1812, the baptismal records list a place of residence, making it easier to identify your family by where they lived. The records also list the father’s occupation, which makes it easier to identify your ancestor's family when more than one family with the same name lived in the parish.

Marriage records sometimes state the residence for the bride and groom. You can use this information to look for their baptisms and to identify the children of this couple. Sometimes the groom’s occupation is listed, which could help you find more records about the groom. Marriage records after 1754 list the names of witnesses, who were often family members. These can help you identify your ancestor’s family. Signatures in the records might be used to identify a particular individual by the handwriting style. After 1812, and sometimes before, burial records include the age of the deceased. Use this age to approximate the person’s birth year and identify the baptismal record. If the deceased is a child, the parents’ names might be given. This information helps to extend your family another generation. The occupation of a deceased male might be given (especially after 1812) and can help identify your ancestor when there is more than one person by that name in the area. Knowing the occupation might also provide you the opportunity to find other records about your ancestor.

Banns indicate the parish of residence of the bride and groom. This information often leads to the records of another parish. You can search for the baptisms of the bride and groom in the parishes of residence since these might also be the parishes where they were born.

Searching Church Records

To search for a person in a Church of England parish register, you must know the following:

  • Where the person lived and the corresponding parish
  • When the person lived; if you do not know the time period, you must estimate it from what you know of more recent generations. A useful means of locating parishes is England Jurisdictions 1851 available at maps.familysearch.org

Why the Record Was Created

Parish registers were created to record church events of baptism (or christening), marriage, banns, and burial. These records usually contain the date the event took place for more information on record content, see What information can I find in Church of England records? In the Church of England, baptism, which was also called christening, was performed soon after the birth of a child. Marriage in the church legally united a man and a woman for civil legal reasons and for the purpose of founding a religiously sanctified family. Burial is a function of the church to inter the deceased soon after death.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Church of England. England, Derbyshire, Church of England, church records. Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock, England.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.


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