Our amazing new London Parish Records collection gives you a unique opportunity to see records going back further than 1837 — right back to the reign of Henry VIII, which is when formal birth, marriage and death certificates were introduced.
Baptisms, Marriages and Burials since 1538
Anglican churches have kept records of all baptisms, marriages and deaths in their parishes since 1538. Although some of the earliest records haven’t survived, those from the 17th century onwards are in remarkably good order. You’ll find the baptism records really helpful in your research, because they date back to before it became law to record a birth.
So even without a birth certificate, if you discover when a child was baptised you can find out the parents' names and where they lived. With these names you can start tracing their parents and the generations before them. By following the paper trail back over the centuries, you might be amazed to discover London roots deep into the past. For more information on parish records outside of London, click here.
With over 15 million entries, the unique London Parish Records are part of the London Historical Records collection, presented in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives.
Only available online at Ancestry.co.uk, you can now research registers for Baptisms and Burials from 1812 onwards, and marriages after 1754, by forename, surname, locality and type of event.
The Parish Records for London being added to Ancestry.co.uk include the Bishops' Transcripts. These are duplicate copies of entries made in the baptism, marriage and burial registers in the parishes. They were copied from the original registers by churchwardens once a year and sent to the Bishop's Registry.
The collection will include the Bishops' Transcripts for the counties of Surrey, Middlesex, (excluding the city of London) and those parishes in Kent that later became part of the county of London.
Bishops' Transcripts for marriages cease, on the whole, after civil registration was introduced in July 1837. Bishops' Transcripts for baptisms and burials cease at various dates between the 1830s and 1900.
Board of Guardians records
The 19th century was often a tough time for the poorest in society. However, they had had access to some form of relief since Elizabethan times with the aid of the Poor Laws. These individuals were eligible to receive help such as monetary relief and other daily necessities such as food, clothing and work — usually administered via the dreaded workhouses, which were governed by parish guardians. The records you’ll find include registers of creed, school, apprentices, servants, children, and inmates, among others.
Other London records
The collection spans more than 400 years, representing a varied and colourful picture of the city and its inhabitants. It covers registers from over 700 churches within the former counties of London and Middlesex. Other records include:
- Non-conformist congregations (ie Methodist) baptisms, marriages and burials
- School Admissions and Discharge Registers (up to 1911)
- Electoral registers and poll books (up to 1965)
- Land Tax documents
- Surrey marriage bonds and allegations (up to 1830)
- Transportation records from the Middlesex Sessions of the Peace
- Diocesan marriage bonds and allegations (up to 1850)
- Diocesan divorce exhibita
- City of London Freedoms
London Metropolitan Archives
For everyone who's interested in what makes London tick, there’s a vast wealth of information just waiting to be explored at London Metropolitan Archives — the largest local authority record office in the UK.
It’s home to the archives of the City of London Corporation (COL) and the former Greater London Council (GLC), London County Council (LCC) and Middlesex County Council (MCC).
You can research the records of religious, public, business, local authority and other organisations dating from 1067 to the present day.
London Metropolitan Archives holds 82 kilometres of archives — with new collections being added all the time. It contains a huge amount of information about the capital and its people and gives fascinating insight into every aspect of London life. London Metropolitan Archives is the memory of London.