Sunderland, Durham Genealogy

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Durham Parishes

Guide to Sundereland, Durham family history and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Sunderland, Durham
Sunderland Holy Trinity.jpg
Sunderland Holy Trinity
Type Ecclesiastical Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Sunderland Town
County Durham
Poor Law Union Sunderland
Registration District Sunderland
Records begin
Parish registers: 1875
Bishop's Transcripts: None
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Easington
Diocese Durham
Province York
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Bishop of Durham (Episcopal Consistory)
Location of Archive
Durham Record Office

Parish History

Sunderland Holy Trinity, church, which is situated in the upper part of the town, was erected in 1719, and repaired in 1803. The chapel of St. John, which stands at the head of Barrack-street, was built in 1769. Some almshouses in Assembly Garth, for 38 inmates, superannuated seamen or their widows, belonging to the "Muster Roll," were purchased in 1750, by the trustees of the "Seamen's fund," appointed under an act of the 20th of George II. This act compels all masters of vessels to levy sixpence per month from each sailor towards the support of the institution, from which more than 700 individuals derive benefit. The poor-law union of Sunderland comprises eleven townships and chapelries in the parishes of Sunderland, and Bishop and Monk Wearmouth, containing a population of 56,226.[1]

Additional information: SUNDERLAND (Holy Trinity), a sea-port, newly enfranchised borough, and parish, and the head of a union, in the N. division of Easington ward and of the county of Durham, 13 miles(N. E.) from Durham. Prior to this year, this town belonged to Bishop Wearmouth (which also see). This town, which is situated on the south bank of the river Wear, was anciently included in the parish of Bishop-Wearmouth, of which it continued to form a part till the year 1719, when it was separated, and erected into an independent parish.

After a campaign in 1712 by local merchants, a church was built and called Holy Trinity the parish Church of Sunderland. Sunderland was separated from the ancient parish of Bishopwearmouth by Act of Parliament in 1719.

The first records date from 1719 and the church was consecrated on 5 September in that year by the Bishop of London. The church ceased to be used for worship in 1988, the final service held on 26 June 1988.

Today, Sunderland is in Tyne and Wear County.


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

To find the names of the neighbouring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.
Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections DDR/EA/PBT/2/246 Parish Register transcripts are available to search free online at FamilySearch Historical Records which is undertaking engineering work to correct the present gaps in images and the insertion into the collection of parish records in the original image assembly for Wallsend parish Northumberland. The online images for Wallsend baptisms can be located at image 119 of 1412 in the Sunderland images and begin with the year January 1813(DDR/EA/PBT/2/259/112). The sequence then continues until image 695 of 1412 which shows burial register for 1833 (DDR/EA/PBT/2/259/715). The Sunderland transcripts then resume at image 696 with a title page and 1770 burials for Sunderland.

The dates of the post-1760 transcripts have been noted in detail and sometimes only cover years. For most parishes in the collection there are gaps in the sequence of transcripts. It is advisable to consult the original parish registers for these years and events.

The Parish Registers for the period 1719-1988 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Su.HT).

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Sunderland are also available at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL:-

  • Deptford 1845-1948 (EP/Su.SA EP/BiW).
  • Grangetown 1907-1981 (EP/Gra).
  • Hendon, St. Ignatius 1889-1968 (EP/SuSIg).
  • Hendon, St. Paul 1852-1969 (EP/Su.SPa).
  • Middle Hendon 1876-1967 (EP/Su.SB).
  • Pallion, St. Luke 1869-1975 (EP/Pa)

FamilySearch Historical Records includes England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Non Conformist Churches
  • Baptist
  • Calvinist
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Independent/Congregational
  • Jewish
  • Methodist New Connexion
  • Presbyterian
  • Primitive Methodist
  • Roman Catholic
  • Society of Friends/Quaker
  • United Presbyterian Church of Scotland
  • Wesleyan Methodist

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Genealogy From Periodicals

Thompson, Christopher. Jonathan Richarson: Quaker. History of the Richardsons originally of Hull. The author was given a family tree which was drawn up in 1829, and went back to the 17th Century. The article is a history of the family, who latterly went into Banking, and Mining. One of the relatives marrying a Rev. Robert George Willis, who was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Descendants were in Hull, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Shotley Bridge. Picture of Amelia Willis nee Richardson, and Shotley Bridge Spa. Article in the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society Journal, vol.34,no.2. page 54-56. Family History Library Reference, 942.8 B2jo v.34, no.2. (summer 2009)

Jones, Andrew Forsyth. The French Family of Sunderland and the USA. History of the family of Joseph and Mary Ann French with description of their son Joseph French born 1847, Gateshead, and his wife Frances Ann Samuel, born Sunderland, July 1846. Photo included on their golden wedding. The family of Joseph and Frances and all but one of their children emigrate to USA in 1887, and settle in St Paul, Minnesota, and after 5 years move onto San Francisco. Photo of Andrew Forsyth, and Elizabeth nee French in 1903. Other surnames mentioned: Bennett, Forsyth, Douce, Winks, Lundgren. Article dated 1846-1954, and is found in the Northumberland Durham Family History Society Journal. vol. 32,no.2pages 48-49. Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo vol. 2007)

Chapman, Terence. Monaghans and Mehrtens. History and family records of Joseph Monaghan baptised at St. Andrew, R.C. Church Newcastle upon Tyne, 1823, and his wife Elizabeth Hutchinson born in Sunderland, 1830. Family move around, Orland, Ashington, London, Durham-Ryton. Article dated 1823-1999, and other surnames mentioned in the article are: Overton, Atkinson, Blow, Mehrtens, Anderson, Pigg, Saltmarsh, Eatch, Hall and Harcastle. Article is in the Northumberland Durham Family History Society Journal, vol32,no.3. page105, Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo, Autumn 2007

Poor Law Unions

Sunderland Poor Law Union, Durham

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Durham Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.


Sunderland on GENUKI


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England, (1848), pp. 261-271. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 December 2013.