Skelmersdale, Lancashire Genealogy
Skelmersdale St Paul was created a chapel of ease in 1776 from, and lying within the boundaries of Ormskirk, Lancashire Ancient Parish.
Skelmersdale means "Skjaldmarr's valley", from the Old Norse personal name Skjaldmarr + probably Old Norse dalr (or Old English dæl) "dale, valley". The name was recorded as Skalmeresedel in 1136. One place-name book suggests that it may be of Celtic origin, with the place-names being in Celtic place-name order, i.e. "Element/personal name/word", rather than "Personal name/word/element", as with Old English place-names. Te first recorded use of the name Skelmersdale appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was under the rule of Uctred as part of the hundred of West Derby.
The urbanisation and development of Skelmersdale largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution. Industrial scale coal mining began in the early 19th century and continued to expand during that century to give rise to Skelmersdale as an important colliery village.
Skelmersdale was designated as a new town in 1961.It is known locally as "Skem", with a further distinction being made between "Old Skem" (the area which was a small mining town prior to 1961) and the broader swathe of development which has now developed.
The chapelry dedicated to St Paul became a parish in its own right. The chapel was built by subscription in 1776, and enlarged in 1823 and 1850. The St. Paul’s was opened in 1906 in a location close to the old chapel which was subsequently demolished, although the old building had already suffered subsidence due to mining underneath it.
"SKELMERSDALE, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Ormskirk, hundred of West Derby, S. division of Lancashire, 4 miles east by southeast of Ormskirk. The chapel, dedicated to St. Paul, was built in 1776."
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.
Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD
Lancashire Online Parish Clerks
An extremely useful resource for research in Lancashire Parishes http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/
Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection
Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library. The first film number is 306902.
Poor Law Unions
Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.
Maps and Gazetteers
Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.
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- A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 113-115. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 July 2010.