Parish Records

There are many readers of Your Ancestors Free.Com who are looking for Marriage Records prior to 1837. 1837 saw the introduction of a national system of civil registration for recording births, deaths and marriages. For the first time, the same information was collected throughout England and Wales. It usually included the names of one or more relatives. Prior to 1837, the main sorce, was Anglican parish registers and similar records kept by other denominations. Hardwicke's Marriage Act in 1753 meant that, for a marriage in England or Wales to be legal, it had to take place in a parish church after banns or with a licence. The result of the Hardwicke Act was that almost all marriages, whether for Anglicans, non-conformists or Roman Catholics, can be found in those Church of England parish registers that have survived from the period 1754-1837. The registers recorded baptism dates not births and burial dates not deaths, although some clergy chose to add birth or death dates. Indeed some clergy added a variety of comments concerning their parishioners and their lives. In 1812, Rose's Act tried to tidy things a bit by setting out the minimum information that had to be recorded for baptisms, marriages and burials and recommended the use of separate registers for each type of ceremony. So from 1813, most registers were written on sequential, pre-printed pages as a means of reducing later amendments or fraudulent entries. But it wasn't until 1837 and the start of civil registration that all these records began to be brought together locally and across England and Wales. At last, searching for particular individuals became a little simpler for the genealogist. .


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