Source Information West Sussex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2023.
Original data: Anglican Parish Registers. Chichester, England: West Sussex Record Office.

About West Sussex, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

General collection information

This collection includes Church of England parish registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials between 1482 and 1812 from the historical county of West Sussex, England.

Parish records—primarily baptisms, marriages, and burials—were the first sets of vital records kept. Before civil registration began in 1837, key events in a person's life were typically recorded by the church, rather than the government. Dating back to the 16th century, parish records have become some of the longest running records available.

Using this collection

This collection may include the following details:

  • Name
  • Event type
  • Date and place of birth
  • Baptism details
  • Confirmation details
  • Marriage or banns details
  • Date and place of death and burial
  • Names of parents
  • Names of spouses
  • Parish records are some of the best resources you can use in tracing your family roots. These records were taken by church officials to mark important milestones in people's lives. They often include information about other family members such as parents, making it easy to jump back an additional generation in your family tree with a single record.

    Baptismal records can be a great source of information to help trace your ancestors, especially since children were usually baptised within a few days or weeks of being born.

    Banns were church announcements of a couple's intention to get married. This gave time for the parish to submit objections. Banns may also list whether a person had been previously married.

    Collection in context

    When Henry VIII established the Church of England, he mandated parishes to keep handwritten records of baptisms, marriages, and burials. Beginning in 1598, clergy were required to send copies of their parish registers to the bishop of their diocese. These copies are known as Bishop's Transcripts and are useful in cases where original records are unreadable or no longer exist.

    The Lord Hardwicke Marriage Act of 1753 established a separate register for marriages and required that marriages be performed only in Anglican churches.

    In 1812, George Rose's Act called for pre-printed registers to be used for separate baptism, marriage, and burial registers as a way of standardising records.


    "Research Guides: Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland: Parish registers." State Library Victoria Last Modified 2 February, 2023. Research Guides.