Parish records are a great source of birth, marriage and death information and are at the cornerstone of research going back in time.
In 1837, civil registration began and all births, marriages and deaths had to be recorded by law. Before 1837, the only vital records that were universally kept were parish records of the Church of England. Since 1538 all events held in a church have had to be recorded by law. Although not all the earliest records have survived, parish records of births, marriages and deaths are very important in tracing family history.
Whilst the records don’t record births, in earlier centuries a very high proportion of children were baptised – normally within a few months of the birth. And as the name of the child is recorded along with the parents’ and place of residence these records are vital for people researching their family history.
It’s fascinating to follow the changes in your family over several lifetimes and even if you’ve searched before and drawn a blank – it’s always worth looking again as we are in the process of adding more records.
The content within these records and the functional improvements have made this collection one of the most complete sources of parish records on the internet, containing records that are fully indexed and with digital images that aren’t available anywhere else.
Please note the records in our Parish Records Collection are from the Church of England, although there are some records of ‘non-conformists’ – including Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists amongst others – in our London Non-Conformist registers 1659–1921.