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Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

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Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby Guy » Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:35 am

I am often asked how do you research prior to census in 1841 and civil registration in 1836 my reply to such questions is by the same methods.

In my view researchers should try to access all records that may have been created for their ancestors that means for 19th & 20th & 21st century ancestors not only civil records of birth marriages and deaths and census records but also parish register records of baptisms, marriages and burials.
This not only allows the researcher the chance of getting use to parish registers but it gives a good accurate cross reference with civil registrations at the same time.
Having found the parish register entries I would also encourage researchers to find the relevant Bishop's Transcripts as well (even though as the name suggest) they will normally be a transcript but they sometimes contain useful additional information.
By researching church records when civil records are available the research learns not only the different format, strengths and weaknesses of the different types of records he/she will cope more easily when any particular type of record is not available.

Parish Registers & Bishop's Transcripts
Thomas Cromwell, the Vicar General, issued an order for keeping parish registers on 29 September 1538 however not every priest conformed to his order and even when they did some early parish registers have been lost, stolen or destroyed in the meantime.
From 1812 marriages were recorded in pre-printed registers signed by the couple and the witnesses, this allows us to see our ancestors' handwriting, sometimes this is the only chance we have to view something written by them.

From 1598, every parish priest of the Church of England was supposed to make a copy of his parish register and send it to send to the bishop (or archdeacon) every year. These are what we know as bishop’s (archdeacon’s) transcripts, they were generally produced in the same form as a regular parish register. I.E. before 1812 recorded on blank sheets of paper or vellum, and on printed forms afterwards.
A number of priests stopped producing their transcripts civil registration began in 1837, but some carried on into the twentieth century.
As with Parish Registers some/many bishop's transcripts may not be available between 1642-1660 due to the Civil War & Interregnum.
Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby Norfolk Nan » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:19 am

Parish registers are fascinating documents. They vary according to the people responsible for keeping them up to date, but if you read through you can find such interesting snippets of information about the people in the parish and the prejudices of the writer.
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby devonliz » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:20 am

Did the (Anglican ) Church of Ireland follow the same system? I ask because there is a big gap early in the 19thC in the registers of a church that I am interested in - I think the pages fell out, or a vicar was not interested in keeping up the records. Would the Bishop of Down and Connor have a transcript?
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby meekhcs » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:50 am

I found parish registers particularly helpful when trying to take my husband’s 3gt maternal grandparents back beyond the 1800s.
No clear baptism for 3gt grandfather was a real problem.
In the end after looking at parish registers I decided that his Mother’s name had been entered incorrectly as it was the same as the previous entry. The Family seemed to follow strict naming patterns but her recorded name was never used in subsequent generations.
Having decided what I thought the name should be I sketched out an unverified tree.
Turning back to the registers I was delighted to find that various children from different parts of my newly created Family were baptised on the same day. As they seemed to carry out group baptisms at the church the baptisms were on three different pages, one after the other!
DNA later proved I was on the right track.
A rather long winded explanation but parish registers can help in so many ways.
There is nothing like looking at the real thing!


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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby Norfolk Nan » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:11 am

My only grumble is that the women aren’t always named - wife of, widow of etc. Very annoying, not only for the poor woman concerned but to help chose the right John Smith from a congregation of several. I suppose the point was God would know...
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby Templ4r » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:45 am

Completely agree with Guy.

Considering the church was also responsible for the courts, the poor and disputes before the Government took them over, church records are the main source to look at.
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:04 pm

devonliz wrote:Did the (Anglican ) Church of Ireland follow the same system? I ask because there is a big gap early in the 19thC in the registers of a church that I am interested in - I think the pages fell out, or a vicar was not interested in keeping up the records. Would the Bishop of Down and Connor have a transcript?

My understanding is that the Church of Ireland did have Bishops' Transcripts. However, they were all sent to the Public Records Office in Dublin at some point after the Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, as were some 2/3 of the parish registers of CofI churches.

Then in the 1922 Irish Civil War, the Four Courts complex in Dublin, containing the PRO, was burnt down and all the BTs and those PRs were destroyed.

You can find a list of what CofI registers are known to survive on https://www.ireland.anglican.org/about/rcb-library/list-of-parish-registers - note this is only a list, and not access to them. (Thanks to Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News blog on https://www.irishgenealogynews.com/2019 ... oy-to.html )
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Re: Research prior to census in 1841 & civil registion

Postby junkers » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:56 am

I would add that there a few (a very few) censuses prior to 1841 that are more than just numbers. Of course one of the biggest areas to find earlier ancestors is The National Archives at Kew and the National Records of Scotland (both of which have online catalogues) as do local archive offices, especially if your ancestors were involved in disputes, riots, anti-Government activities and war. Wills are of course a good source of information.
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