Parish registers are a vital resource for family history.
In 1538, following the formation of the Church of England, Henry VIII’s minister Thomas Cromwell issued an injunction requiring rectors to record the baptisms, marriages and burials in their parishes.
Until the introduction of civil registration in 1837, parish registers are the only source for showing when and where our ancestors were born, married and died, as well as the names of their parents and spouses.
Fortunately, many of these records are now available online. Every year, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine takes a look at the online coverage of parish registers across the United Kingdom.
For centuries, many of our ancestors have been drawn to jobs and opportunities in London. If you’re British or of British descent, it’s highly likely that you have London ancestors in your family tree.
Luckily, these commercial and free family history websites have collections of London parish registers that can help you in your research.
Ancestry’s long-term partnership with the London Metropolitan Archives means that the site is the best place to go for London records. The total currently stands at over 21 million Church of England baptisms (1813–1917), 13 million marriages and banns (1754–1932), and two million deaths and burials (1813–1917). There are over 17 million more pre-1812 records. Other interesting collections include London and Surrey marriage bonds and allegations (1597–1921); confirmation records (1838–1923); Crisp’s Marriage Licence Index (1713–1892); and more than 200,000 nonconformist register records (1694–1931). There are also 132,000 extracted Middlesex parish records (transcripts only).
The site has over four million parish records from the City of Westminster Archives Centre (1538–1945), while the Greater London Marriage Index (1502–1871) covers modern Surrey and Hertfordshire as well as London, and includes some Catholic and nonconformist records. Findmypast also has Boyd’s London Burials, an index of nearly 243,000 burials (1538–1872); transcribed Docklands and East End baptisms from Dockland Ancestors; and Middlesex baptisms (1543–1876).
This free LDS family history website has an index to the Westminster parish records on Findmypast.
TheGenealogist has records for 38 parishes in London, in addition to Strand in Middlesex.
FreeREG is a free volunteer-run parish register transcription website. It has records of 137,086 baptisms, 198,586 burials and 93,340 marriages for the City of London, plus 138,216 baptisms, 181,083 burials and 230,960 marriages for Middlesex.