Source Information

Ancestry.com. Bristol, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2019.
Original data: Bristol Church of England Parish Registers and Bishop Transcripts, Bristol Record Office, Bristol, England.

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

This collection contains images of Church of England parish registers of baptisms and burials during the years 1538–1812, and marriages during the years 1538-1754 from Bristol, England.

Both the British state and the church had an interest in record keeping, and a 1538 Act of Parliament required ministers in the Church of England to record baptisms, marriages, and burials. This database includes records with dates ranging from 1538 up until 1754 for marriages and 1812 for baptisms and burials, after which Hardwicke's Marriage Act and George Rose’s Act respectively called for separate preprinted registers to be used for baptism, marriage, and burials as a way of standardising records.

In addition to keeping parish registers, lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials were required to be sent to the bishop of the diocese and this collection comprises contemporary transcripts of the original records. These copies of the parish registers, called bishop’s transcripts, can sometimes fill in gaps where parish registers are missing, however, they may vary slightly from the parish registers. This may be because an error was made as the information was copied, or a correction or additional details may have been inserted as the copy was being recorded for the bishop. For these reasons, if both copies are available, it’s wise to check both of them.

See the browse on the right to determine which parishes are included in this collection and the date coverage for each parish.

About Baptisms:

Children were usually baptised within a few days or weeks of birth. The records generally include when baptised and in what parish, child’s Christian name, parents’ given names and the family surname, residence, father’s occupation, and who performed the ceremony. Sometimes you’ll find additional details such as date of birth. Early records may contain less detail.

About Marriages:

Couples were usually married in the bride’s parish. Marriage records typically include the bride and groom’s names, residence, date and location of the marriage, names of witnesses, condition (bachelor, spinster, widow, or widower), and the name of the officiant. Some records may also include the father’s name and occupation. Early records may contain less detail.

About Burials:

Burials took place within a few days of death. Records generally list the name of the deceased, residence, burial date, and age at death. Early records may contain less detail.