England, Devon, Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Devon,  England
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Location of Devon, England
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Record Description
Record Type Parish Registers
Collection years 1538-1912
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Find My Past


What is in This Collection?

The index to this collection refers to baptism, marriage, and burial records from the western part of the county of Devon for the years 1538-1912. This collection was done in cooperation with FindMyPast, and a full version of the index can be found at their website.

Parish registers have been kept at the local level across England since the mid-1500s. Due to this long and relatively stable tradition, these records are central to English genealogical research as they are often one of the only sources for finding families and individuals in England before the start of civil registration in 1837.


Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians.

These images can be viewed online by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at a Family History Center near you, or the Family History Library. Also, the images are viewable to users who are part of the contributing organization, or to users who have contributed to the FamilySearch Indexing effort. Learn how to be a part of FamilySearch indexing here.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptism

  • Name of the child
  • Date and place of baptism

Marriage

  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Age
  • Estimated year of birth

Burial

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and place of burial
  • Age
  • Estimated year of birth

Collection Content

For additional details about these records and help using them see England Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Sample Records

John Smith England, Devon, Parish Registers
Name John Smith
Event Type Baptism
Event Date 1815
Event Place Devon
Source Reference 166/11
Name John Smith
Event Type Burial
Event Date 1770
Event Place Devon
Age 22
Birth Year (Estimated) 1810
Source Reference 166/6/b
Name John Smith
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 1812
Event Place Devon
Age 40
Birth Year (Estimated) 1811
Spouse's Name Martha Bennett

Digital Folder Number List

This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. A table listing each DGS number and its contents can be found at England, Devon, Parish Registers Digital Folder Number List.

The table can be sorted by DGS number, parish, and the Note describing the contents of the DGS image folder.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual you are looking for
  • Approximate date of the marriage

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

To view images in this collection:
  1. Look at the England, Devon, Parish Registers Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see
  2. Go to the Browse Page
  3. Select the Film number to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Save or print a copy of the image or record, if possible. The original may contain information that was not recorded in the index
  • Use the information which you have found to estimate ages in other life events. For example, use a christening date to approximate a marriage date, or a burial record to calculate an estimated year of birth
  • Once you have found a christening or a burial church record, you may want to search for birth and death in civil records (1837 and later)
  • Use the information you have found to find the person and families in census records
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • When looking for an individual with a common name, look at all the search results before deciding which is the correct person
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname
  • Be careful using the listed age on a marriage record to estimate a birth year. Rather than listing actual ages, clerks often wrote in 21 as the age of both the bride and groom to show that they each were of legal age
  • Search the records of nearby locations
    • Cornwall to the west
    • Somerset to the northeast
    • Dorset to the east
  • Check for other names. An individual might have been listed under a middle name, a nickname, or an abbreviation of their given name
  • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as scribes heard them. Try searching based on how the name may have been pronounced
  • Vary the search terms. For example, expand the date range or search by either the given name or surname to return a broader list of results
  • The individual might not have records in the Church of England at all, but rather might have belonged to a nonconformist denomination
  • When you search baptismal records, remember that it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth
  • Some parish records might have been lost over time. Bishop's Transcripts can also be a good source of information
  • Note that marriages often took place in the parish where the bride resided

Record Finder

Consult the England Record Finder to find other records

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Church of England parish registers 1538-1911." Database and images. findmypast. http://www.findmypast.com : n.d. Citing images provided by FamilySearch International.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.