England, Essex Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Essex Parish Registers, 1503-1997 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Essex,  England
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Location of Essex, England
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Record Description
Record Type Parish Registers
Collection years 1503-1997
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Essex Archives Online

What is in This Collection?

This collection contains an index to baptismal, marriage, and burial records from the county of Essex for the years 1503-1997. Though the records are primarily from the county of Essex, various parishes from Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Kent are also included.

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.

More information about parish registers is found on the England Parish Registers page.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Christening records include:

  • Name of the child
  • Date and place of christening
  • Gender
  • Names of the parents
  • Often they include the age and birth year

Marriage records include:

  • Name of the bride and groom
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Often they include ages and names of parents

Burial records include

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date and place of burial
  • Gender
  • Often they include age and birth year

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the person
  • Approximate date of the event

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

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?

  • If a christening date is found, search for a birth record
  • If the names of the parents are listed, look for the family in censuses
  • If a marriage date is found, look for the new family in census records
  • If a burial date is found, search for a death record
  • If a burial record is found, use the information to estimate a birth year
  • Continue to search the index for people with the same surname to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives
  • Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage

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

  • Try variations of given names and surnames
  • 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. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname, or expand the date range to return a broader list of matches
  • Keep in mind that it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth
  • Search the records of nearby parishes. For this particular collection, this step may require finding records in the bordering English counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire and Middlesex to the west, or Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south. If the individual lived in the southwestern portion of Essex, a thorough search of London records might be necessary
  • Often marriages took place in the parish where the bride resided
  • Look at an image of the actual record to verify the information found in the online description, if possible
  • The individual in question may not have records in the Church of England at all, but rather might have belonged to a nonconformist denomination. See England Nonconformist Church Records for more information on nonconformist 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 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, Essex Parish Registers, 1503-1997." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Church of England. Record Office, Chelmsford, England.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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