England, Devon Bishop's Transcripts (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Devon, Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Devon,  England
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Location of Devon, England
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Record Description
Record Type Bishop's Transcripts
Collection years 1558-1887
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Devon County Council

What is in This Collection?

This collection contains an index to and images of baptismal, marriage, and burial records in the county of Devon for the years 1558-1887. Bishop’s transcripts contain more or less the same information as parish registers, so they are an invaluable resource when a parish register has been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise lost.

To learn more about the content and importance of bishop's transcripts, see the England Bishop's Transcripts page.Availability of records may vary by year and locality.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. Images in this collection are available for viewing if you are a registered FamilySearch user. You can register for a free FamilySearch account here. For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Baptism records may contain the following:

  • Name
  • Date of baptism
  • Place of baptism
  • Gender
  • Names of the parents

Marriagerecords may contain the following:

  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Date of marriage
  • Place of marriage
  • Genders
  • Marital status

Burialrecords may contain the following:

  • Name of the deceased
  • Date of burial
  • Place of burial
  • Age
  • Estimated year of birth

Collection Content

Sample Images

Coverage Table

There is a coverage table for this collection which lists the locations, dates, and types of available records within this collection. The table also lists film numbers for reference when looking for record images.

How Do I Search This Collection?

You can find records either by searching the index or viewing the record images. Before using either search method, it is best to know the following information:

  • Name of the person
  • Date range for the record

As you search, compare your results with this information to find a match.

Search the Index

  1. Go to the collection page.
  2. Enter the requested information into the search box.
  3. Click Search to return a list of possible matches.

View the Images

  1. Look at the coverage table to find the film number for the images you want to see.
  2. Go to the browse page.
  3. Click on the correct Film Number link to go to the image viewer.
  4. Use the onscreen controls to move between images as you look for a match.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Copy down all the information from the index entry.
  • Make sure to look at an image of the original record. The index entry contains only the most basic information necessary to identify a person; the original record often contains more information than is contained in the index. Save or print a copy of the image, if possible.
  • Cite the record or image; see below for help citing this collection.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the age listed in the record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Remember 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?

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches. Alternatively, try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth.
  • Check for variants of given names and surnames. An individual might appear under a different name in a record for a variety of reasons:
    • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, nickname, or abbreviation of their given name.
    • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as they were pronounced. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation.
    • Some women reverted to their maiden names after the death of their husbands.
  • Search the records of bordering locations. In the period of this collection, most people never lived more than 20 miles from their place of birth, though smaller moves were common. For this collection, bordering locations include the English counties of Yorkshire and County Durham to the south, Cumberland to the west, or the Scottish counties of Berwickshire and Roxburghshire to the north. 
  • The individual in question might not have records in the Church of England at all, but rather belonged to a nonconformist denomination. See the Northumberland Nonconformist Records page for more information.
  • Search the records of bordering locations. In the period of this collection, most people never lived more than 20 miles from their place of birth, though smaller moves were common. For this collection, bordering locations include the counties of Cornwall to the west or Somerset and Dorset to the east. Note that marriages usually took place in the parish where the bride resided.
  • The individual in question might 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.

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, Devon, Bishop's Transcripts, 1558-1887.” Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015. Citing Devon Record Office, England.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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