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

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England
Norfolk
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England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941
CID1823613
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Norfolk,  England
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Location of Norfolk, England
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Record Description
Record Type Bishop's Transcripts
Collection years 1685-1941
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Norfolk Record Office


What is in This Collection?

This collection contains Bishops Transcripts for the County of Norfolk from 1685 to 1941 that are arranged by church jurisdiction and in yearly bundles.

Baptisms (christenings), marriages, and burials were recorded on blank pages in a bound book called a register. The events of baptism, marriage, and burial were all recorded in one volume until 1754, when a law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book. Banns, or proclamations of “an intent” to marry, were recorded in yet another book. Starting in 1812, pre-printed registers were introduced, and then separate registers were kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. Before 1812, bishops’ transcripts were usually recorded on loose pieces of paper. Following that year, the transcripts were recorded on the same pre-printed forms as parish registers.

Parish registers were created to record church events of baptism or christening, marriage, and burial. Baptismal entries usually list the person’s birth date and burial entries list the death date. In the Church of England, baptism, which was also called christening, was performed soon after the birth of a child. Marriage in the church legally united a man and a woman for civil legal reasons and for the purpose of founding a religiously sanctified family. Burial is a function of the church to inter the deceased soon after death.

Church of England parish registers are the most reliable and accurate family history source until July 1837, when the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. Information in parish registers and bishops’ transcripts can be verified against each other. It is usually preferable to use the parish registers if they survive as a primary record.

The transcript series is useful in the event that:

  • The parish register has not survived
  • The register is still in the parish and has not been deposited in an archive
  • The parish register is too fragile to use or preserve by filming or digital imaging
  • The parish register is incomplete or cannot be read (transcript may be legible or contain omitted entries).

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, 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.

General Information About These Records

Parish registers are one of the best sources for identifying individuals and connecting them to parents, spouses, and other generations. In July 1837 the government instituted the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths. However, parish registers continue to play an important role because they are often more readily available than civil registers. Bishops’ transcripts are a backup source for parish registers that are missing or illegible. If possible, you may want to search both the parish registers and the bishops’ transcripts since one is a handwritten copy of the other and might contain differences.

To Browse This Collection

The information in these records usually include the following:

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Norfolk, Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Baptism

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Child's given name
  • Child's legitimacy
  • Parents' names and residence
  • Professional/occupation of father
  • Minister's name

Marriage

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Ages and marital status of the bride and groom
  • Residences of the bride and groom at the time of their marriage
  • Full name of the father of the groom
  • Full name of the father of the bride
  • May note if a spouse is single or widowed at the time of marriage

Burial

  • Date and parish of burial
  • Name of the deceased
  • Age and gender of deceased
  • Residence of deceased

Collection Content

For additional details about these records and help using them see England Bishop's Transcripts (FamilySearch Historical Records)

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person you are looking for
  • 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

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select County
  2. Select Ecclesiastical jurisdiction
  3. Select Year
  4. Select Parish range to view the images.

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
    • Suffolk to the south
    • Cambridgeshire to the west
    • Lincolnshire to the northwest
  • 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
  • Note that marriages often took place in the parish where the bride resided

Record Finder

Consult the England Record Finder to find other records

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, please read the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, feel free to report them at 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, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Church of England. Record Office, Central Library, Norwich.
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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