Berkshire, England Genealogy

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Did You Know?
Berkshire, also known as the Royal County of Berks, is located in the central part of England.

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"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... The county town is Reading; and the market towns are Reading, Abingdon, Faringdon, Newbury, Wantage, Wokingham, Maidenhead, East Ilsley, Lambourn, Hungerford, Wallingford, and Windsor...

"Quarter sessions are held... at Reading; and.. 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...

"Population in 1801 was 110,480; in 1821, 132,639; in 1841, 161,759; and in 1861, 176,256...

SOURCE:  The above extract is taken from, John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1870-72. 

Getting Started

Before starting your research in Berkshire, you might wish to read the article Finding Ancestors in England.


Civil Districts

When civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1837, Berkshire was divided into a number of registration districts, each containing several parishes.  The index to the civil records gives the name of the district where an event took place.  Click here to see a list of the civil districts in Berkshire and the parishes covered by each. 

Read more about England Civil Registration.

Berkshire Parishes

Click here for a list of the historic ecclesiastical parishes in Berkshire and to learn more about them.

Probate Jurisdictions

Before 1858, every town and parish in Berkshire was under the probate jurisdiction of several ecclesiastical courts.  To read more about probate records and see a list of Berkshire towns and parishes and the probate courts that had jurisdiction over them, go to Berkshire Probate Records.

Research Tools

Other Websites

Here is a list of other websites of genelaogical value for Berkshire. Please add to the list as you find something of interest.