Wales, Monmouthshire, Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Wales, Monmouthshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Monmouthshire, Wales
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Flag of Wales
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Location of Monmouthshire, Wales
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Record Description
Record Type Parish Registers
Collection years 1538-2000
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
The National Archives


What is in the Collection?

This collection contains church records from the Welsh county of Monmouthshire for the period 1538-1912. This collection was done in cooperation with FindMyPast, and a full version of the index can be found at findmypast.

In its most basic sense, a parish register is a record of religious ordinances performed in the Church of England. Beginning in 1538, every parish priest was required to write down certain information about every baptism (officially termed “christening” in Anglican use), marriage, and burial that took place in his parish over the course of each year. He was then supposed to bind these pages into a single volume, thereby annually producing a comprehensive history of his ministerial efforts. After 1754, a new law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book, and banns—public proclamations of a couple’s intent to marry—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. It should also be noted that many parish records were not kept during the Interregnum, 1649-1660, due to temporary changes in the hierarchy of the Church of England.

Due to this long and relatively stable tradition, parish registers are central to Welsh genealogical research as they are often one of the only sources for finding families and individuals before the start of civil registration in 1837.

Further information: Church of England Parish Registers

Located in the Welsh borderlands, Monmouthshire was long considered by many as an English county until a governmental act in 1974 finally confirmed its Welsh status. For a list of parishes which historically made up Monmouthshire, please see the Monmouthshire Parishes page.

Collection Content

Baptismal Records usually contain:

  • Date and Place of Baptism
  • Given Name of Child
  • Date and Place of Birth
  • Parents' Names and Occupation of Father
  • Legitimacy of Child and Parents
  • Names of Godparents

Marriage Records usually contain:

  • Date and Place of Marriage
  • Groom's Age, Marital Status, Occupation and Residence
  • Names of Groom's Parents, including Maiden Name of Mother
  • Bride's Age, Marital Status, Occupation and Residence
  • Names of Bride's Parents, including Maiden Name of Mother
  • Birthplaces of Bride and Groom
  • Witnesses' Names, Age and Occupation

Burial Records usually contain:

  • Date and Place of Death and Burial
  • Name and Age of Deceased
  • Cause of Death
  • Father of Deceased and his Occupation
  • Date and Birthplace of Deceased
  • Marital Status of Deceased
  • If Married, the Name of the Spouse

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
If granted the rights to view the digitized records in this collection (see below), the images may be accessed by following this series of steps:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate parish name
⇒ Select the appropriate type of event
⇒ Select the appropriate year 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.

Some of the records in this collection may be written in an old script that can be challenging to read. Refer to BYU’s Script Tutorial for assistance with reading the records.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images of digitized records available for all users. However, the rights to view images on this website are ultimately granted by the record custodians. Due to their restrictions, the images in this collection are not available for general viewing, but may be accessed at a local Family History Center, at the Family History Library, or online by members of the supporting organization(s).

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

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 and locate the original parish record, if possible. See PARISH RECORD LINK for options.
  • 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 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 Welsh counties of Glamorganshire and Breconshire to the west, or in the bordering English counties of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to the east. Given the placement of the major port city of Bristol directly across the Bristol channel, a thorough search of Bristol records may be necessary as well. 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.

For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

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Don't overlook FHL Place Wales, Monmouthshire items or FHL Keyword Wales, Monmouthshire items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Wales Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

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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 Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.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 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 for both this particular collection as well as individual records within the collection:

Collection Citation:

"Wales, Monmouthshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.

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 Wales, Monmouthshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912.


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.