Posted by Ancestry Team on October 13, 2009 in Collections

Did you know that until 1763, you only had to be 12 (girls) or 14 (boys) to marry in London? That 20% of London’s population was killed by a second Black Plague in the 1600s? That during the first year of WWI, marriages in London increased by 32%?

In the October newsletter we featured a new collection of London parish registers (containing baptism, marriage, and burial records from various churches, or parishes) extending all the way back to the 1500s. Besides providing an interesting look at London’s social history, these records are an absolutely phenomenal resource for family history–since government records weren’t started until 1837. In many cases, these are the only source of vital records available before that time.  

To read the rest of the article from the Ancestry Monthly Update, click here.

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  1. Ron Lankshear

    It is wonderful to have the London data. An enormous help with London ancestors. What people are asking is

    Was this release all the parish registers from LMA? Are more to come? And when?

    Will the prior 1812 data be name indexed. Your news says “Browse through images of original records from 1538 through 1812 by parish and year.”

    This is a big task as it is image by image. With several hundred images under one heading. could this be broken into smaller lots.

  2. Martin

    “Did you know that until 1763, you only had to be 12 (girls) or 14 (boys) to marry in London?”

    lOOK UP THE “”Age of Marriage Act 1929″”

  3. JUDY

    who ever transcribed the records for lambeth have made a major mistake. lambeth has been transcribed as being within middlesex. lambeth is part of surrey. (parts of surrey have now become part of greater london but ask any local who’s family have been there for years and they will still say lambeth surrey) this needs to be corrected. middlesex concists mainly of the parts of london north of the river thames. surrey and kent concists of most of the areas south of the river thames.

    living south of the thames and only 4 miles from lambeth i thought i should bring this mistake to your attention.


    please will you amend this.

  4. Jana Lloyd

    Sorry all that it has taken me a few days to get back to you on this. I had to check the facts on a few things before I could post. I want to address everyone’s comments here:

    1. Ron Lankshear:

    A. This release did include all the parish registers we received from our recent deal with the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), except for a few very minor updates we will make in the future. However, keep in mind that the LMA did not necessarily have all London parish registers that were ever created. Others are located in other London archives. The ones that we obtained and digitized from LMA do, however, represent a sizeable portion–approximately 18 million London parish records from more than 1,000 London parishes between 1538 and 1980.

    It’s also worth noting that we will be adding more records obtained from LMA in the future, including Bishop’s Transcripts, which were duplicate copies of the original parish registers that the clergy kept and sent to the bishop of each diocese annually. Although many of these records will overlap since the latter are a duplicate of the former, you will also occasionally find Bishop’s Transcripts where the original parish registers were destroyed or lost, and vice versa.

    B. As you noted, the birth and death data is only indexed after 1812 and the marriage data after 1754. You can browse through images of all the previous years’ records, but cannot yet search them by name. This is because marriage records began being kept on standardized forms after 1754 and birth and marriage records began being kept on standardized forms after 1813. Records from previous years appear in all kinds of non-standard formats and are much more difficult to transcribe.

    We are indexing this information and it will be released sometime in the future. We’ll keep you updated in our newsletter and blog as these pre-1812 and pre-1754 records become indexed.

    2. Martin:

    From the research I did, a church regulation was established in 1763 setting the minimum age at 16, although you are correct that this was not formally passed into law until the marriage act of 1929.

    This information came from a variety of sources—I have pasted just one below. I welcome more information if you can shed more light on the subject. Thanks for your attention to details.

    3. Judy:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have forwarded this on to the appropriate parties so that they can investigate and make sure the records are placed in the appropriate location.

  5. Ron Lankshear

    Thank you very much Jana. That certainly gives me a better idea of the status etc.
    I posted a link to this blog on the Rootsweb London list as questions are asked there.

    On parishes in wrong places I found records for All Souls St Marylebone that were indexed as St Mary Ealing. Quite a long way between

  6. Mary Beth Marchant

    Jana, I just wanted you to know that I think I may have found my 5th great grandfather’s first marriage in the London records. He was born in 1704 in London-this info comes from a letter written by his youngest son in 1838. The letter also said that his father had lived in or around St. Botolph Aldgate, City of London, and had married about 1723-that his wife and a child had died and then he came to America. I found a marriage record for St. Botolph Aldgate, City of London that matches the info in the letter. I am unable to read clearly the name of the wife, but the other info matches quite well. This is a great find. I’ll keep searching and maybe find the birth and/or death of his wife and child in 1725.

  7. Jana Lloyd

    Ron, thank you for your note on the St. Marylebone records. Again, I will pass that on to the appropriate party.

    And Mary, what a great find! Thank you for sharing. Let us know if you find the birth and death records you are looking for as well.

Comments are closed.