England, Essex Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Essex Parish Registers, 1503-1997
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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
Archive
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.

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

Collection Content

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

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?

  • 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
    • London to the south west
    • Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north
    • Hertfordshire to the west
    • Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south
  • 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

Known Issues with This Collection

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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 : 30 October 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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