Isle of Man, Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Isle of ManGotoarrow.pngParish Registers

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598-1950 .

800px-Isle of Man Peel Castle.jpg

Record Description

This collection will include records from 1598 to 1950.

This collection contains parish registers from the Isle of Man containing baptisms, marriages, and deaths. These records have been provided by Manx National Heritage as Records Custodian for the individual churches on the Isle of Man and as such all rights are reserved. Inquiries regarding the reproduction of images should be referred to:

Manx National Heritage, Douglas,
Isle of Man, IM1 3LY
Eiraght Ashoonagh Vannin, Doolish,
Ellan Vannin, IM1 3LY
T +44 (0)1624 648000 | F +44 (0)1624 648001

This collection was created as part of the development of Manx National Heritage’s iMuseum at the National Library and Archives

Baptisms (christenings), marriages, and burials were recorded on blank pages in a bound book called a register. The events of baptism, marriage, and burial were all recorded in one volume until 1754, when a law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book. The records are usually recorded in English with a few in Manx, which is the historical language of the island.

In 1530, King Henry VIII established the Church in England, also known as the Anglican Church, the State Church, or the Episcopal Church. In 1537, the Church of England mandated that parishes begin keeping church registers by the next year (1538). The Manx Church was then under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of York, but the first parish registers did not begin until 1598. These records have numerous gaps until 1610. At that time, the Archdeacon of Manx issued an order requiring the ministers under him to keep a register book recording the christenings, marriages, and burials.

Starting in 1812, preprinted registers were introduced, and then separate registers were kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. However, use of the preprinted registers was not required, so not all parishes used them. The preprinted registers contained additional information not previously recorded.

In 1910, all parish registers were passed temporarily to the General Registry so that government staff could make handwritten copies of all records prior to 1849. These copies, together with the original registers spanning 1849-1883, were subsequently microfilmed in the late 1940s, together with indexes arranged by parish for baptism and marriage entries. This collection covers records for the years 1598 through 1950.

Parish registers were created to record the church events of baptism or christening, marriage, and burial. 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 was a function of the church to inter the deceased soon after death.

Parish registers are the most reliable and accurate family history source until 1878 for births and marriages and until 1884 for marriages, when the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths.

Record Content

Baptism records generally contain the following information:

  • Baptism date
  • Baptism place
  • Name of the child
  • Sex of the child
  • Names of the parents
  • Legitimacy of the child
  • Marital status of the parents
  • Social class of the parents
  • Name of the father and often the mother’s given name
  • Residence of the parents

Marriage records generally contain the following information:

  • Marriage date
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Nationality
  • Ages of the bride and groom
  • Names of the parents or other relatives
  • Residence of the bride and groom
  • Marital statuses of individuals and couples
  • The dates that the marriage was announced. This normally took place on three separate occasions prior to the marriage and gave anyone with a valid reason a chance to object to the marriage
  • Names of the witnesses
  • Whether a spouse is single or widowed at the time of the marriage

Burial records generally contain the following information:

  • Burial date
  • Burial place
  • Name of the deceased
  • Age of the deceased
  • Spouse’s name
  • Parents’ names
  • Residence of the deceased
  • Sex of the deceased

How to Use the Records

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • 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.)

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. 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. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

==== Using the Information  ====

If you have found the information that you are looking for, please consider the following tips to help further your research:

  • Baptism or christening records list the parents’ names, which you can use to connect your ancestor to an earlier generation.
  • You may find a birth date listed or be able to approximate a birth date from the age.
  • After 1812, the baptismal records may list a place of residence, making it easier to identify your family by where they lived.
  • Marriage records sometimes state the residence for the bride and groom, which you can use to look for their baptisms and 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.
  • 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, which you can use to approximate the person’s birth year and find 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.
  • The witnesses or sponsors are often relatives.

General Information About These Records

Parish registers are one of the best sources for identifying individuals and connecting them to parents, spouses, and other generations.

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Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

"Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598-1950." Index. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Manx National Heritage Library, Douglas.