This collection contains images of Church of England baptism and burial records for the years 1580–1812 and marriage records through 1753 from the parish of Wigan, which was historically located in Lancashire, England.
Both the British government 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 from 1538 up until 1812 (1753 for marriages), when George Rose’s Act called for preprinted registers to be used for separate baptism, marriage, and burial registers as a way of standardizing records. For later Wigan parish records, see the links provided in the Related Data Collections section on this page.
Children were usually baptized within a few days or weeks of birth. Earlier records generally listed only the name of the infant, the father’s and/or mother’s name, the date of christening, and whether the child was illegitimate. However, some of the records from Wigan include the father’s profession, abode, mother’s father’s name, and dates for both birth and baptism.
Couples were usually married in the bride’s parish. Early records generally listed only the names of the bride and groom and their marriage date.
Burials took place within a few days of death. Records generally listed only the name of the deceased and the burial date. However, sometimes other family members were listed as part of the deceased’s name: for example, “Mary wife of John Smith” or “Matthew son of William Clark.” In earlier records it was not uncommon for women to be referred to simply as “wife of [husband’s name].”