What are parish records?

With the General Register Office's birth, marriage and death records only allowing you to search back as far as 1837 (when these records began), if you are looking to research further back still then the best way to do that is via our Parish Records Collection. These records allow you to search millions of baptism, marriage and burial records, dating from 1538 onwards. As with most other searches, we suggest you enter a small amount of information to begin with, and only add more detail if you need to refine the results.

Which parish do I search?

There are nearly 12,000 parishes in the UK, but if you have managed to trace your family tree back to a 1837 then there is a high chance that the area your family live in around that time is where you are most likely to find success in searching the parish records for. We are constantly adding new Parish Records to our collection so, if you are currently unable to find records for the area that you are interested in, it is worth returning to the site and refreshing your search at a later date.

What will a parish record tell me?

Parish records will give names, dates and places in similar fashion to the GRO birth, marriage and death records, but the level of detail within a parish record depends largely on what was recorded on the original. Most parish records do not include accompanying images. Information in earlier registers can differ with some recording baptisms, marriages and burials together on the page, some keeping them separate. Some can be more informative than others, depending almost at whim on what the vicar chose to note down. They can, however, be a very valuable key documents that unlock the history of your family to a time you may not have thought it was possible to reach when you originally began to trace your family line.

Much more detailed information about parish records can be found in our Expert Advice section.