Parish records

Parish records are the most useful sources for discovering your family history before the 1800s. They’re basically birth, death and marriage records created in local churches — going right back to the time of Henry VIII.

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Updated: Surrey Parish 1538-1987

Our Surrey Parish collection now contains an extra 400,000 records, stretching from the 16th to the 20th century.

So if you’ve already looked here and couldn’t find your relative, try again now and you could be in luck! Search three collections – baptisms, marriages and burials – to trace more ancestors and find names, dates and much more.

Birmingham Parish1538-1964

The Birmingham Parish Records, 1538-1964, list the baptisms, marriages and burials recorded by the parish church during this time. These records are a vital source of new discoveries if you have family from the Birmingham area. They don’t just list names and events – they often contain extra information like occupations, addresses and parents’ names. Some vicars included notes and opinions too, so you might uncover some intriguing details about your family.

Non-conformist Records1567-1970

If you’re frustrated because you can’t find your family in our parish collections, these records could hold the answer. They include birth, marriage and death registers for Catholics, Quakers and other faiths outside the Church of England.

After 1754, everyone had to be married in their local Anglican parish church, so many non-conformist marriage records are listed in Anglican parish records. But if you only find marriages for your ancestors in parish records it could be a clue that they were non-conformists so look for their baptisms and burials here.

Surrey Parish Records1538-1987

Surrey’s people have always enjoyed the finer aspects of London life. Our Surrey Parish Records, 1538-1987, let you trace your family tree through the rail and stagecoach commuters of the 18th and 19th centuries, right back to your ancestors who watched Shakespeare’s plays on the banks of the Thames.

These church registers reveal where your family was based and how long they stayed there. Plus vital clues like names, addresses and occupations help you move back through the generations.

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Parish records introduction

Recommended parish records

London Parish Records1538-1980

Our London parish records are among the most popular collections on our site — not least because they cover such a huge percentage of the country’s population.

These baptism, marriage and burial registers provide a complete picture of life in our capital city over more than 400 years. Even if your family doesn’t come from London, it’s likely that at least a few members moved there in search of fame or fortune.

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Irish Catholic Registers1742-1884

Although the official Church of Ireland was Anglican in the 18th and 19th centuries, most people refused to conform. This means Catholic records are your best bet for tracing early births, marriages and deaths.

Split into baptism, marriage and burial records, these comprehensive registers reveal names, dates, places and often other family members. And because they date back before the Great Famine, you’ll find many ancestors who later fled the country for new homes abroad.

West Yorkshire Parish1512-1997

The great wool towns of West Yorkshire were among the first in England to join the machine age, and with the Industrial Revolution their populations swelled. Millions of people have roots in the area, and this collection will take you back through the generations.

The records provide details of over 8 million baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials. You can trace family lines through the booming 18th and 19th centuries, and all the way back beyond the Civil War.

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