Posted by on 20 April 2011 in Record Collections

Today we launched online the Liverpool Catholic Registers, 1750-1900 and the Liverpool Church of England Parish Registers, 1659-1974; both of which are vital resources for anyone researching their Merseyside roots before Civil Registration in 1837.

Parish records are fantastic surrogate for BMD records, so these will be of monumental importance for anyone with Liverpudlian ancestors.

The importance of the records stretches beyond the Mersey, and through to Ireland.  In fact, Liverpool has the strongest Irish heritage of any English city according to recent research, with huge numbers of Irish immigrants arriving in the city during the 1800s en route to North America.  Then in the 1840s these numbers grew due to the mass exodus that resulted from the Great Famine.

On a more personal note, I was excited to discover that the records include the grandparents of The Beatles, specifically Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

John Lennon's grandfather's baptism record

So whether you are from Liverpool yourself, have an ancestor from there, or  are a simply a Beatles fan, this collection details 315 years of one of our major cities, which has a rich and varied history, so I urge you to click here and spend some time searching these vital records.

If you find an ancestor in these records, we would love to hear from you so please do share your discoveries with us here on this blog.


Chris R 

Just had a quick look at this collection and was disappointed to find that it is only burials that go up to 1974. Baptisms and marriages go nowhere near as late. I then looked up my grandmother’s name in the burials section (I know that she was buried in Liverpool in 1969) but she was nowhere to be found. It would be helpful if the description of the database gave some indication of the coverage. Either list the parishes and cemeteries that are covered, and the ones that aren’t covered, or at least indicate the percentage coverage.


20 April 2011 at 10:59 am
Paul Towse 

What a nice surprise to find the Liverpool registers when I logged in today. To be honest I only have 3 people on my tree that were buried in the area (none of which appear in the collections) and one marriage (which does).

So, it was nice to get a date and church for the marriage in question and fill in another snippet of information on the tree.

What would be nice is if Ancestry were planning to do this for all of the English and Welsh counties.

I spend a fair amount of time in my local Archives (East Yorkshire) and have tracked down lots of christening, marriage and burial information for people on my tree in this area.

However, I can’t just pop down to Sussex / Cornwall / Wiltshire etc with the same regularity to hunt down records in Archives there.

So, it would be music to my ears is Ancestry were planning to do this sort of project for the rest of the counties and even better if they were releasing the keying of said projects to the World Archives Project to speed up the process of making them available online.

20 April 2011 at 1:07 pm

Two cheers for this new collection, but not the full three cheers.

It was a nice surprise to see the collection online as I wasn’t expecting it. Original source records are always welcome and I have found several records which add useful information to my tree.

BUT (here come the quibbles): when linking burial records to a tree on Ancestry, it links as a death rather than a burial. Baptism records are recognised as baptisms not births, so why can’t burial records be recognised a burials? Bizarre.

Worse is to come for those searching for baptism records from 1805 / 1806 at Liverpool St Peter. None of the parents’ names are indexed (mother’s maiden names are given, what a gift!) and – unbelievably – none of those who were baptised have their surnames indexed!!! Only the forenames have been indexed, despite the fact that the complete fathers’ names are given (for almost all).

Having corrected the entry that I found, I thought I would correct all the others on that page (even though I am paying Ancestry for these records rather than the other way round), to help others who might be searching in vain for their ancestors. Inexplicably, when I try to correct any other record on the page, the box that pops up every time is for the record I have already corrected, so I can’t even do my bit to help put these records right!

Burials records from the same register also lack indexed surnames where the person buried is listed as the son or daughter of their father, e.g. “Peter S of Peter Marsh Cabinet Maker Byrom Street aged 22 yrs” is listed simply as “Peter” not as Peter Marsh (and no approximate birth year despite the age at death being given).

Putting parish records online is pretty pointless if they are indexed so badly that people cannot find the records they are looking for. One guaranteed way to achieve that is to leave out the surnames! I just hope this issue does not affect too many of the other Liverpool registers which have just gone online.

20 April 2011 at 8:37 pm
Joy Dean 

I cannot see my DYBALL family yet. I know that some were baptised, married, buried in Liverpool from registrations.

21 April 2011 at 12:28 pm
Rod Williams 

These are a great addition but the gaps need to be highlighted otherwise users could be misled.

Are the gaps going to be filled at any point?

Also are we going to see the Liverpool crew lists coming soon? (I seem to remember seeing this from Ancestry a couple of months ago).

22 April 2011 at 8:24 am