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Records featured in Richard Osman's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? included in new collection of Sussex parish records

Over eleven million Sussex parish records have been added to Ancestry

The 1831 burial record of Celia Holloway
Published: June 9, 2022 at 10:00 pm
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Family history website Ancestry has added nine new sets of Sussex parish records, comprising over eleven million records altogether.

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From East Sussex, in partnership with The Keep record office in Brighton, the new sets are: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1538-1812 (3,142,798 records); Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920 (2,829,740 records); Confirmations, 1813-1927 (29,966 records); Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 (1,273,808 records); and Deaths and Burials, 1813-1995 (398,334 records).

From West Sussex, in partnership with West Sussex Record Office, they are: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 (1,492,381 records); Births and Baptisms, 1813-1920 (1,180,923 records); Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 (654,185 records); and Deaths and Burials, 1813-1995 (285,817 records).

Ceris Howard, Team Manager Archive Services and The Keep at East Sussex County Council, said: “We are delighted that through this joint project with our colleagues at the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office and Ancestry, centuries of local history is now digitally accessible.

“The parish registers detail the important milestones in the lives of the people of Sussex over hundreds of years. Making these invaluable historical records available online will enable people to learn more about their local history and ensure the stories from our community’s past continue to be told.”

The records are fully searchable and accompanied by digitised images of the local documents.

This is the first time the entire Sussex parish registers collection has been digitised and brought online. The records are exclusively available on Ancestry.

The new collection features some of the records shown in Richard Osman’s recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, in which he traced his family history in Brighton. For example, the record collection includes the marriage of Richard’s 4x great grandparents Gabriel Gillam and Mary Shrivell, on 21 August 1815.

Gabriel Gillam and Mary Shrivell's marriage record
Gabriel Gillam and Mary Shrivell's marriage record

Richard learned that Gabriel found the body of a murdered woman, Celia Holloway, in 1831. The records also include the burial record of Celia Holloway. They note that she was 32 years old and was buried at St Peter’s Church in Brighton. The words “by Coroner’s Warrant” are written under her name.

The 1831 burial record of Celia Holloway
The 1831 burial record of Celia Holloway

Another notable record at St Peter’s Church is the marriage of Victor Barker and Elfrida Emma Haward, the first documented marriage between a transgender man and a woman in the UK. Barker was assigned female at birth and born Lillias Irma Valerie Barker in 1895, but identified as a man in adult life. He and Haward were married on 14 November 1923 in St Peter’s Church, Brighton.

Victor Barker and Elfrida Emma Haward's marriage record
Victor Barker and Elfrida Emma Haward's marriage record

Another notable individual in the records is William Juxon, who was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1660 until his death in 1663. The records show that he was baptised in Chichester on 24 October 1582.

William Juxon's baptism record
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Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

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