Parish Registers of England and Wales - Links

Parish church of St Mary, Chesham, Buckinghamshire  
Online registers - national(ish) coverage

Vast and growing collection of indexed parish register material, including some which are digitised. Some digitised registers can be viewed on any computer, others can only be seen at a FamilySearch Center, (or with and LDS account) depending on the licensing arrangement with the authority which holds the original registers. There are lists of databases of all kinds (not just parish registers) at the bottom of the search pages for England and Wales.

Lots of index-only records, many of which are also on FamilySearch. Unique digitised and index collections including the following areas:

London/Middlesex (not including Westminster)
West Yorkshire

Online registers - local

Online indexes and transcripts

Online Parish Clerks 

Finding records

Background information

Clandestine marriages The chaotic state of marriage law in England led to Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753. The registers of many irregular and clandestine marriages, collectively known as the Fleet Registers, are held in The National Archives. The link above is to the catalogue description of the record series RG 7, and gives a good general account of their background and history. The registers themselves are online at The Genealogist and Ancestry. Google Books includes John Southerden Burn's classic account of the Fleet Registers published in 1833.

Google Books

the History of Parish Registers in England John Southerden Burn 1829

It is also worth searching Google Books and The Internet Archive for printed registers, such as Phillimore's Marriages, and publications of various Record Societies. The entries are mainly dated 1812 and earlier.

Help with handwriting

Reading old documents The National Archives (UK) 

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