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Proformat News
No: 51
May 2010
May Seminars
2: Genealogy on the Web West Torrens Public Library 1:30 to 3:00pm
6: Introduction to FH Burnside Library Family History Group 6:30pm
9:Family History on the Web WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00am to 1:00pm
: Introduction to FH research WEA Centre Adelaide 8:00 to 9:30pm over 7 weeks
14: Genealogy on the Web Payneham Library 10:30am to 12 noon
23: Coming to grips with FamilySearch WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00am to 1:00pm
28: Tracing your Scottish ancestors WEA Centre Adelaide 6:30 to 9:30pm

June Seminars
29: Tracing your English ancestors Mt Barker Library 1:30 to 4:30pm

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

Chelsea Pensioners' service records
You can now search and download Chelsea Pensioners' service records from 1883 to 1900 at These records include servicemen born in the UK and throughout the world, including many soldiers born in India and the Caribbean. Remember SAGHS members can access this site at the library at no cost.

English parish records—non parochial & non conformist
Non parochial records are those generated by the Church of England outside the parish structure. These include extra-parochial areas such as cathedrals and royal chapels as well as other facilities operated or serviced by the church such as workhouses and hospitals. These records are normally housed with the conventional parish records in the appropriate record office as outlined in the previous newsletter. There are three other repositories worth checking for these records. For London look at the holdings of the Guildhall Library. For Middlesex check the London Metropolitan Archives. The National Archives also holds some of this material in series RG 4,5,6,7 & 8 along with non-conformist registers.

In this issue:
May seminars
June seminars
Chelsea Pensioner records

Feature article
English parish records—non parochial & non conformist


Graham Jaunay

Glandore SA 5037

Breaking news: fb

Drafting charts
Locating documents
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Graham Jaunay uses
The Genealogist - for UK census, BMD indexes and more online simply because it contains quality data checked by experts.

Proformat News acknowledges the support by awe AWE

A non-conformist church is technically any denomination other than the Church of England although some exclude Roman Catholics and Hebrew congregations from this grouping. When considering Protestant non conformist ancestors one needs to be aware that many such families were not that particular about which denomination they followed and some subscribed to other denominations for a short period only. Further more many registers for such churches have not survived. Indeed surviving Catholic Registers are few in number simply because it was illegal to be a Roman catholic priest and they could be subjected to severe penalties if caught. The Catholic relief Acts of 1778 and 1791 that allowed Catholics to establish chapels also saw the beginnings of many Catholic Registers.

Many early non-conformist chapel did not keep registers and those that did were not always careful about preservation of the material. However, after the introduction of the Hardwicke Marriage Act 1754, all marriages with a couple of exceptions (Quakers and Jews) had to take place in a Church of England Church until the introduction of civil registration in mid-1837 when other marriage venues became possible. Some such marriages can also be found in non conformist registers as the couple complied with the law and ensured their marriage was legally recognised, but also had a service in their own chapel. Also from 1695 to 1706 priests of the Church of England were required by the Marriage Duty Act 1695 to record all births in the parish whether the child was baptised or not. When it comes to burials, many non conformists were buried in church graveyards but they had to endure the Church of England burial service. There was nothing preventing non conformists from purchasing land and establishing their own burial grounds and many larger congregations did. Bunhill Fields was the main burying place for non conformist Protestants in and around London from the mid 17th century.

Pictured: Barrack Street New Meeting Place Bridport DOR. See for the register.

As previously mentioned The National Archives holds non conformist registers. These were deposited as the result of the Non-parochial Register Act 1840 that requested the deposition of all registers with the GRO except those of Hebrew congregations. As a result some 10,000 registers were deposited. An excellent listing outlining the location of registers for all churches, Anglican and non-conformist has been published by the Society of Genealogists. This comprised a set of orange booklets county by county known as the National index of parish registers. Locating a copy can be quite difficult but most larger FHS hold some of the set. The Society of Genealogists has also published guides to help you search for nonconformist ancestors:
     My Ancestors Were Congregationalists.
     My Ancestors Were Baptists.
     My Ancestors Were English Presbyterians/Unitarians.
     My Ancestors Were Methodists.
     My Ancestors Were Jewish.
     My Ancestors Were Quakers.

The Federation of Family History Societies and its members (listed online), county and district family history societies in England extract and index records, including church records, and have collections of research done by their members and others. Individual societies are worth approaching to see what material they hold and what assistance they can give.
The Federation also publishes research guides, compiled sources, and journals and periodicals containing compiled information. Most of these are available for purchase and may be found in some libraries.

The LDS Church's Family History Library has a large collection of microfilmed non conformist church records, including the pre-1837 collection of The National Archives. Many of these records have been indexed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI). The Library's collection is listed in the Family History Library online catalogue. Select the place search and look for nonconformist church records on the country, county, and town or parish levels.

The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) founded in the 17th century by George Fox maintained their own registers of birth (not baptism), marriage and death from 1656 and these were surrendered to the GRO in 1840 and 1857 and are held in RG 6. The few predating 1837 not surrendered may be located in CROs and/or the Friends' House Library on Euston Road, London.

The Catholic Record Society has published much material relating to Catholic records and these are listed on their web site. The National Archives has an online leaflet about records it holds pertaining to Catholics.

Dr Williams Library and CROs are the main repositories for any surviving material generated by the Independents of the Commonwealth period and Congregationalists. The ARCHON Directory will provide contact details for many repositories.

Presbyterianism in England within the Church of England found favour during the Commonwealth and it became the norm during this period. At the restoration many were ejected from their churches. The 1689 Act of Toleration allowed them to establish their own chapels and burial grounds and they became widely known as Unitarians. They surrendered their registers in 1840 but these have just recently found their way to The National Archives with the closure of the GRO's Family Record Centre in late 2007. They can be found online in the IGI.

The Baptist Church has been subjected to a number of schisms since emerging in the 17th century. Most registers were surrendered and are now in RG 4 (also in the IGI) and 8. Baptist records not surrendered may still be with surviving chapels, at CROs, Baptist theological colleges, with Baptist associations or in the following locations: Regents Park College, The Strict Baptist Historical Society, or The Gospel Standard Baptist Library.

Methodism founded by John Wesley in 1740 was originally a missionary movement within the Church of England and like the Baptists split into many differing groups. The surrendered registers are in RG 4 and other material from the Metropolitan Wesleyan Registry is in RG 5.

The Salvation Army grew from the Methodist Church in 1865 and therefore its membership's vital records should be covered by civil registration records.

A significant group were the Huguenots, Protestants, mainly from France who fled persecution from the 16th century. They enjoyed a unique level of tolerance due to their circumstances when they settled mainly in Soho, Spitalfields, Bristol, Southampton, Canterbury and Norwich. There records can be found in RG 4 and many records have been published by the Huguenot Society. Many Huguenots adopted the Church of England. The Huguenots were not alone in migrating into England and establishing their church. Dutch communities were established in London, Norwich and Colchester, Swiss in Soho, and Germanic people in London to mention a few. Their registers can be found at The National Archives, local archive offices and with the churches themselves. If the reader can access Family Tree Magazine for Dec 1989, Feb 1990 and June 1990 they will find a detailed article by S Pearl on this specialised subject.

Pictured: Huguenot Church Soho Square London

Jews had a rough time in England prior to 1655 and faced discrimination after that time too. Unlike Christian denominations Hebrew congregations were not asked to surrender their registers in 1840. To access material the reader should consider an approach to The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain.
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