Posted by on 24 October 2011 in General, Record Collections

Parish records are surrogate birth, marriage and death records, and constitute one of the cornerstones of family history research.  Following the launch of our additional 3.9 million parish records from Warwickshire and Dorset last week, we have formulated five questions testing your knowledge about parish records. 

To help us review your answers we’re teaming up with UK genealogist and family history journalist and blogger Chris Paton.  All you need to do is leave a comment below and all those who respond correctly will be entered into a prize draw and the first 20 selected will win a voucher for two National Trust cream teas*.  

Get your thinking caps on – here are the questions:

1.  What information can be found within a parish record beyond that of names and dates?

2.  What was the problem with parish registers kept between 1538 and 1598?

3.  What will you find in a Dade parish record that you won’t find in an ordinary parish record?

4.  What does ‘OTP’ stand for?

5.  What is an ‘Ancient Parish’?

Goodluck everyone – we look forward to seeing your answers!

To search our Parish records now just go to

*By leaving a comment, you agree to accept these terms and conditions. The Promoter of the prize draw is Europe S.à r.l., 31 of rue Philippe II, L-2340 Luxembourg, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over except employees or agents of the Promoter or its group companies. Only one entry per person. Closing date is midnight GMT on 27 October 2011. No responsibility can be accepted for comments that are not correctly posted or received for whatever reason. The Promoter will enter all the correct responses into a prize draw and the 20 winners will be drawn at random after the closing date. The prize for each winner is one voucher for two National Trust cream tea vouchers. The voucher entitles the bearer to two cream teas of tea, scone, jam and cream. It is redeemable at a National Trust run tearoom, cafe or restaurant (not a concession). It cannot be exchanged for money and will be valid until the 6th June 2012. The winners will be notified by e-mail within 14 days of the closing date. If a winner cannot be contacted within 4 weeks of being notified, the Promoter reserves the right to award the prize to an alternate winner. The Promoter’s decision is final and binding. No cash alternatives to the prizes will be offered, and the prizes are not transferable. The Promoter reserves the right to modify the prize draw terms and conditions at any time without notice. Any personal information received by the Promoter in connection with this prize draw will be used solely in accordance with the Promoter’s Privacy Statement and you also consent to the Promoter using your name for administrative and promotional purposes relating to the prize draw. For details of the winners, write to the Promoter at 3rd Floor, Waterfront Building, Hammersmith Embankment, Chancellors Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9RU.




Wendy Steer 

1: Occupation of Father & address they lived at.

2: Some were wrote in Latin & included birth marriage and deaths in the same volume with hard to read writng.

3: Dade registers for baptism and burial entries will usually record not only the name of the subject but also of parents, including mother’s maiden name, and the subject’s grandparents.

4: outside the parish

5: Preceding the Norman Conquest and until England’s break with Rome (1533-7), ancient parishes (groups of villages or hamlets and their adjacent lands) existed for ecclesiastical functions.

24 October 2011 at 11:02 am
Sheila Khan 

1 Father’s name and occupation
2 Poor handwriting and written in latin
3 Paternal and maternal grandparent’s names
4 Of this parish
5 Parishes prior to the reformation of the church by Henry VIII. Each parish was affiliated to a church.

24 October 2011 at 12:07 pm
Mike Matthews 

I thought OTP was *Of* This Parish…

Burials sometime show ages, marriages will show witnesses, and some baptisms also show birth dates.

24 October 2011 at 12:08 pm
Mary Taylor 

1. Occupation, abode, relationships
2. They didn’t have to be kept in a book
3. Grandparents names and abode, date of birth for the baby
4. Of This Parish
5. A parish which can be identified in the early Middle Ages

24 October 2011 at 1:03 pm
Jayne Smith 

1. Residence, occupations and minister’s signature.

2. Not many survived, information was limited, written in Latin and poor condition.

3. Mother’s maiden name and paternal grandparent’s names.

4. Of This Parish

5. A parish that existed before 1597 and served both secular and ecclesiastical roles

24 October 2011 at 1:09 pm
Alan Proudlock 

Occupation of father and address lived at.
Parish Records were required to be kept in books from 1598, prior to this date back to 1538 records were only recorded on parchment and paper. As a result many records were lost and only a few still exist for the period 1538-1598.
Dade Parish Records (named after the Rev William Dade) are much more complete than normal. In addition to the name of the father they give his occupation, mother’s name and the names of both grandfathers’ including their parishes of residence.
Of This Parish.
An Ancient Parish is a parish that has existed since the Middle Ages, prior to England’s break with Rome.

24 October 2011 at 1:35 pm
Graham Heap 

1: They vary but generally include the name &occupation of the father also the name of the vicar and the church. Sometimes the mother’s name. Also the marital status of the couple (spinster, bachelor etc).

2: From 1598 parishes were required to keep records in books and to back date them to 1538 however not many did. Parish records were started in 1538 but generally only kept on parchment or manuscript
3: Named after Rev Wm Dade – inc child’s name,date of birth and baptism, seniority (e.g. first son), father’s name, profession, mother’s name, place of abode and the same details for the grand

4: of this parish

5: Ancient parishes originally had boundaries that matched local manors and defined the eccelesiastical areas. They existed before the Norman Conquest and after the break with the Catholic church became the administrative hubs for the areas they covered.

24 October 2011 at 4:20 pm
Pamela Barton 

1. Christenings: fathers name, mothers at later date, can include location in parish, occupation (later), whether a ‘barstad’.
Weddings: couples names – and wehther of that parish, sometimes includes occupation and father’s names. Whether of full age.
Burials: name, sometimes age, location (sometimes), sometimes occupation, if a widow then often her husband’s details
2. In Latin + not ‘standardise’ until the formalisation of recording through the Church of England.
3. Full record of everything connected to the event
4. Of this parish
5. Ancient parishes associated with monasteries prior to Henry VIII reformation of the church

24 October 2011 at 8:02 pm
Jo Morris 

1) Father’s occupation. Also, some record the place of abode.
2) Some parishes ignored the request to keep records; some between 1538-1597 were just kept of scraps of paper which were lost or deteriorated and became unreadable.
3) Dade records include additional generations (grandparents etc)
4) Of This Parish
5) Ancient Parishes existed prior to 1597

27 October 2011 at 9:38 am
carol jones 


27 October 2011 at 12:20 pm
Maggie Osborn 

1. Occupations, affadavits, value, status.
2. Copies were not required to be sent to the bishop of the diocese until 1598.
3. Details: seniority (e.g. first son), father’s descent (i.e. names, professions and places of abode of the father’s parents), similar information about the mother, and mother’s parents.
4. Of This Parish.
5. Preceding the Norman Conquest and until dissolution of the monasteries (1533-7)

27 October 2011 at 3:29 pm
Catherine Smith 

1 Occupation & address of father
2 They did not have to be kept in book form so there may be gap years where records have been lost or not even kept. Also they were in latin.
3 Details for mother & grandparents
4 Of This Parish
5 Before Henry VIII they were formed to provide an ecclesiastical function

27 October 2011 at 4:09 pm
Caroline Shepherd 

1. Name and occupation of father
2. Not kept in books, so many records are lost or incomplete
3. Details of mother and grandparents
4. Of This Parish
5. A parish that existed before 1597 and which serves both ecclesiastical and secular functions.

27 October 2011 at 9:23 pm
Kathryn Casbolt 

1. Father’s occupation and address
2. Poor writing and in written in Latin
3. Included the details for mother and grandparents
4. Of This Parish
5. An ‘Ancient Parish’ existed before 1597 serving both secular and ecclesiastical roles

27 October 2011 at 9:43 pm
Janet Mozelewski 

1)Additional information can include: Rank, occupation of parents, marital status (whether widow, batchelor etc etc), legitimacy, abode. Also vicars would sometimes add notes to registers giving more particulars about specific incidents.
2)They had been kept on seperate sheets and had become lost or damaged. Some had been incorrectly copied and others were not copied at all when they were transcibed.
3)More details about the mother, her status, occupation and descent. The date of birth of a child not just the date of the baptism. Abode and if of the parish. Seniority of children.
4)Of This Parish.
5)An area under the jurisdiction of a clergyman with cure of souls, but which gained secular functions in later periods.

27 October 2011 at 10:06 pm
k dunnell 

1) Fathers name and occupation and address
2) They were kept on separate sheets which often deteriorated and became unreadable
3 Also included mother’s name and the names of both grandfathers, plus date of birth of child
4) Of This Parish
5) A parish that existed before 1597 and served both secular and ecclesiastical roles

27 October 2011 at 10:42 pm
Sue Harrison 

1) Occupation of father. Abode. Marital status
2) They were not always in books, only on parchment and have since been lost.
3)Dade registers will usually record the name of the subject and also parents and grandparents
4) Of This Parish
5)A parish from the early Middle Ages, pre 1597 and existed for ecclesiastical and secular functions.

27 October 2011 at 10:50 pm
Laura Clarke 

1) Father’s occupation and address
2) Not kept in books so some have been lost, damaged, or not transcribed. Some were written in latin.
3) Dade records have additional info including the mothers and grandparents details.
4)Of this parish
5)A parish which existed before 1597 and served both secular and ecclesiastical roles

4 November 2011 at 10:17 pm