FREE Parish Records

Everybody loves something FREE, and I’m no exception. I’m especially vulnerable to free food samples in supermarkets, although I inevitably end up feeling guilty and buying a pack of whatever I’ve tasted.

Talking of FREE, I’ve stumbled upon some exceptional FREE genealogy records. These are online images from various English Parish Registers, published by the hard-working folk at Since my ancestors came from both the North-East and East Anglia I’m lucky to be able to work with both:

Norfolk Archdeacon’s Transcripts, 1600-1812

Durham Diocese Bishop’s Transcripts, ca. 1700-1900

Naturally, as with free samples at the supermarket, there is a sting in the tail, well actually two stings. Firstly my ancestors seemed to show very little respect for county boundaries and moved over the boundaries without even bothering to tell anyone. Sadly  the records for both the North Riding of Yorkshire and Suffolk have yet to go online.

The second sting is that having such records online is a great user of my time. Most of the time as a genealogist I’m simply searching for my ancestors by simply bashing web search pages. Having to actually read records one at a time takes 100 times longer and is usually a lot less productive. To save my sanity I’m now trying to focus on finding the records I know should exist, however once I’ve found a record they can be extremely useful. As an example look at the record below:

Elizabeth Singleton baptism


It’s the baptism record for Elizabeth Singleton, who happens to be my g-g-g-grandmother (although she’s probably referred to as g-g-g-Nan in the local dialect). This record tells us far more than just the parents names which the online search engines tell me. The additional details of her parents are worthy of note. I’m guessing here but the phrase “native of the Parish of” actually tells us where her parents were born. In this case the villages of Gainford and Croft (presumably Croft-on-Tees – just over the county boarder – Grrr). Sure enough Gainford has a rich history of Singletons living there. All I need to do is figure out which of them are my ancestors.

A full list of the available collections is here, just look for the ones where you can browse the images. Enjoy.

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3 Responses to FREE Parish Records

  1. Pingback: Mitochondrial DNA – My Maternal Line | learnalittleeveryday

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