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Parish Records Collection project

Our exclusive Parish Records Collection is an ongoing project to collate records of baptisms, marriages, burials and related records registered across England and Wales within a single online database. This unique record set has been made available on findmypast in association with the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) member societies, the Society of Genealogists (SoG) and other organisations and contributors.

Millions of parish records online – from 1538 to 2005

The findmypast Parish Records Collection provides an unprecedented level of access to the content of parish records held by local repositories and family history societies from across England and Wales. Many other organisations and individuals also provide us with records to create this vast collection.

Family history societies – sources of the findmypast.co.uk parish records

The parish records were transcribed and indexed mainly by family history societies, although a few dedicated individuals have also contributed data. These records come from different types of sources: parish registers, bishop’s transcripts (the copies of the original registers made each year for the bishop of the diocese in which they are situated), earlier transcripts or printed registers.

Please note that these records are a mix of both indexes and transcriptions, and therefore vary in depth of content. Indexes are primarily used to help locate a parish record, but they do still contain detail useful to the family historian. Our transcriptions, on the other hand, show every detail found within the parish register and are often a goldmine of genealogical information. The results you are presented with will not contain images of the original parish record.

You can contact the society or group that extracted the information for further details – some may charge a small fee for research. Details of the contributing society are found on the results page.

Much more to come!

The findmypast.co.uk parish records collection already contains millions of entries; however, there are millions more still to be added. Our records collection should, therefore, be considered a work-in-progress.

Please check back regularly as we add new parish records every month. To hear first of the latest releases please ensure you have subscribed to our newsletter. To do so, please select the relevant option on the my account page.

 

The findmypast.co.uk Parish Records Collection has been created to help you find where and when a person was buried, married or baptised. As with any genealogical index, please use the parish records collection with care. The database is designed to be as easy as possible to search. The usual search tips apply, including a "less is more" approach, which means starting with a broad search and narrowing down as necessary (rather than filling in every search field with full information).

As a minimum, either a surname or forename must be entered, although the use of wildcards is permitted. If you are unsure how a name was spelt, or can't find it with the usual spelling, try using the wildcard facility.

The wildcard is denoted by a *. You can have wild-cards anywhere in first name, middlename and last name fields, but either the first name or the last name must have at least 3 initial characters.

For example, if you were looking for Lucy Harris you could search for Luc* *ris or Lu* Har*. Searching for Lu* Harr* will return a list of results that include names such as Lucy Harris or Lucretia Harris or Luisa Harrison.

You can search the index by name and county, and narrow the search by year. If you don't enter an age range the search range will default to the maximum parameters of 1538 to 2005.

Last name variants:

Owing to illiteracy, regional accents, and phonetic spelling, the name recorded within the original records may not be the one you expect. Also, many records are written in unclear handwriting or the original may have faded, making an entirely accurate transcription impossible.

Many surnames have been grouped into 'clusters' of related surnames. For example, both 'Jonson' and 'Johnson', being variants of the same name, are in the same cluster. These clusters generally offer a better solution than 'sounds-like' or 'Soundex' coding in identifying variants. However, you cannot ask to include surname variants and use wild-cards in the surname within the same search.

First name variants:

Many forenames have frequently used diminutives or abbreviations. For example "John" may be called "Jack" and also written down as "Jno": both these (and others) can be treated as meaning the same as John.

As with a last name, you cannot ask to include variants and use wild-cards in the first name within the same search.

Middle name variants:

The rules that apply to first name variants also apply to middle names.

Year of birth/baptism

In the case of marriages and burials we have added an extra field, not present in the original registers, to show an approximate year of birth. This has been calculated using the simple formula [year of burial or marriage] - [recorded age at time of event] = [approximate year of birth]. This field is blank where there is no age in (or no age has been transcribed from) the original register. For baptisms the year of the baptism itself will usually be the one listed. However, in cases where the year of birth and year of baptism differ, where known, the birth year may also be shown.

Please note that, if the recorded age is accurate, the person in question is just as likely to have been born in the year preceding the displayed approximate year of birth, depending upon their month of birth. For example, a person buried in December 1840 aged 30 was probably born in 1810; whereas a person who was buried in January 1840 aged 30 was probably born in 1809 but will still be shown as 1810; while a person who was buried in June 1840 aged 30 could with equal probability have been born in 1809 or 1810.

Why does some information appear twice?

The findmypast.co.uk Parish Records Collection is comprised of various sources, including information from both burial registers and cemetery records - the same burial may be entered in both sets of registers.

It is also possible for similar information to appear in two separate record sets and thus the areas covered by two record sets can overlap.

New records are routinely checked for obvious duplicates and where duplicates are not obvious, for the integrity of your research, it is prudent to check both interpretations.

Why can't I find records for individuals whom I know should be listed?

Many of the record sets are the result of ongoing projects and will be updated as more results become available.

For example, the volumes in a parish register may be divided between several transcribers and these may not be completed at the same time; this may result in gaps in the coverage for a particular parish.

How reliable is the parish record information?

One of the key benefits of searching parish record data compiled by the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) is that the records for each jurisdiction have been transcribed by enthusiastic Society members with background knowledge on that specific locality. Additionally, many of the record sets have been independently checked to further minimise mistakes.

Nevertheless, as with all indexes and transcriptions, the details should only be used as a 'finding aid' to identify the original source material. Once you've found a record of interest you may wish to visit the appropriate County Archives/Record Office or other information source (as shown in the database description) to verify the information for yourself.