Berkshire, England Genealogy
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Before starting your research in Berkshire, you might wish to read the article Finding Ancestors in England.
Gazetteer Description of Berkshire
"BERKS, or Berkshire, an inland county, within the basin of the Thames. It is bounded, on the N, by Gloucester, Oxford and Bucks; on the E, by Surrey; on the S, by Herts; and on the W, by Wilts . . .
"Berks contains 146 parishes, parts of 14 others, and three extra-parochial tracts; and is divided into the boroughs of Abingdon, Maidenhead, Newbury, Reading, Wallingford, and Windsor, and the hundreds of Beynhurst, Bray, Charlton, Compton, Cookham, Faircross, Faringdon, Ganfield, Hormer, Kintbury-Eagle, Lambourn, Moreton, Ock, Reading, Ripplesmere, Shrivenham, Sonning, Theale, Wantage, and Wargrave. The act of 1844, for consolidating detached parts of counties, severed from Berks places amounting to 6,510 acres, and annexed to it places amounting to 1,515 acres. The registration county excludes 4,100 acres of the electoral county; includes 113,464 acres of adjoining electoral counties; comprises altogether 564,717 acres; and is divided into the districts of Newbury, Hungerford, Faringdon, Abingdon, Wantage, Wallingford, Bradfield, Reading, Wokingham Cookham, Easthampstead, and Windsor. The county town is Reading; and the market towns are Reading, Abingdon, Faringdon, Newbury, Wantage, Wokingham, Maidenhead, East Ilsley, Lambourn, Hungerford, Wallingford, and Windsor . . .
"Berks is governed by a lord-lieutenant, a high sheriff, 40 deputy-lieutenants, and about 150 magistrates. It is in the home military district, and in the Oxford judicial circuit. The Lent assizes are held at Reading; the summer assizes at Abingdon. Quarter sessions are held on 31 Dec. and 8 April, at Reading; and on 1 July and 14 Oct., at Abingdon . . . Berks is in the diocese of Oxford; and constitutes an archdeaconry, comprising four deaneries . . . The places of worship within the electoral county in 1851 were 206 of the Church of England, 34 of Independents, 41 of Baptists, 5 of Quakers, 1 of Unitarians, 72 of Wesleyan Methodists, 53 of Primitive Methodists, 4 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, 1 of Brethren, 10 of isolated congregations, 2 of Latter Day Saints, and 6 of Roman Catholics . . . Pop., in 1801, 110,480; in 1821, 132,639; in 1841, 161,759; in 1861, 176,256 . . .
"The territory now forming Berks was inhabited, in the ancient British times, by two tribes whom the Roman invaders called Bibroci and Attrebatii . . .
(The above extract is taken from: John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72.)
Here is a list of the parishes in Berkshire. Click on a parish name to learn more about it:
- There are a number of record offices and archives in Berkshire that have records of genealogical value.
- The Berkshire Family History Society has much to offer the researcher.
Here is a list of other websites of genelaogical value for Berkshire. Please add to the list as you find something of interest.
- UK Genealogy
- The Visitations of Berkshire
- Berkshire resources at the Society of Genealogists.