England and Wales Nonconformist Record Indexes (RGA 4-8) ,1588-1977 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8) .

Record Description

This Collection will include records from 1567 to 1837.

The following is a brief description of each record group:

RG 4
contains birth, marriage, and death records from Presbyterian, Baptist, and Independent churches (known collectively as the Congregational Church); the Royal Hospital in Chelsea; the Royal Hospital in Greenwich; the Dr. Williams’s Library; the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry; the Bunhill Fields Burial Ground in Hackney, London; the South London Burial Ground in Walworth, London; and the Necropolis Burial Ground in Everton, Liverpool.
RG 5
contains birth records from the General Register Office; Dr. Williams' Library; the Presbyterian, Independent, and Baptist Registry; and the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry.
RG 6
contains birth, marriage and burial records from the Society of Friends’ (Quakers’) registers, notes and certificates, 1578-1841.
RG 7
contains records of clandestine marriages and baptisms in the Fleet Prison, the King’s Bench Prison, the Mint, and the May Fair Chapel, 1667-c1777.
RG 8
contains birth, marriage and death records surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commission of 1857, and other registers and church records. “Among the more extensive collections in this series are the registers of the British Lying-in Hospital, Holborn, which record particulars of births and baptisms; registers of burials in the Victoria Park Cemetery, the New Burial Ground, Southwark, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Hackney, and the Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters Burying Ground; registers of Chapels Royal at St James's Palace, Whitehall and Windsor Castle (Guide to BMD Registers, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk).
The rest of the series contains the archive of the Russian Orthodox Church in London, 1721-1927. The records include not only registers of births, marriages, deaths, and conversions but also comprehensive general records on the day-to-day workings of the church. The usual language is Russian, with some Greek; there are a few documents such as certificates, letters and passports in English, French and German” (Guide to BMD Registers, www.nationalarchives.gov.uk).

The National Archives of the United Kingdom created an index to the digital images of the registers from a number of Church of England and nonconformist sources. (Nonconformist is a term for churches other than the Church of England.) These include records from the Royal Hospital in Greenwich; the Dr. Williams’ Library; the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist registry; the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry; the registers of the Society of Friends (Quakers); the Roman Catholic Church; the Fleet Prison; the King’s Bench Prison; the Mint; the May Fair Chapel; and the General Register Office for non-parochial registers (births, marriages, and deaths) surrendered in 1857. Many of these sources come from the greater London area, but the records also cover England, depending on the source. (Marriages from the RG 7 collection cover 400,000 entries, representing over 200,000 weddings.).

This is an index of Non-Church of England records and Church of England records kept by institutions outside the normal Church of England parishes from 1567 to 1865. However, the index primarily covers records between 1742 and 1865. 

The index to the nonconformist records (RG 4-8) was originally created by The National Archives in London as an online access to digital images created from the original records. The index connects patrons to images and transcripts of the images that they can view and download if they purchase credits from The National Archives Web site. The web site is at www.bmdregisters.co.uk.

The index is highly reliable for the collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

Methodists, Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, Protestant Dissenters, Congregationalist, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Quakers (Society of Friends), Dissenters and Russian Orthodox. England and Wales non-conformist record indexes. The National Archives, Surrey, England.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

The index from the original website usually lists the following information:

  • Surnames
  • Given names (also known as “forenames”)
  • Relationship
  • Year of event
  • Type of event (birth, marriage or burial)
  • Place of event
  • Record group (RG 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) view full details of a transcript or page image

These records include births, marriages and burials for the following religious groups: Methodists, Wesleyans, Baptists, Independents, Protestant dissenters, Presbyterians, Unitarians, Quaker dissenters, Russian Orthodox and Maternity Wards

How to Use the Record

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

Church records are an excellent source for validating the vital events in someone’s life and are also the best source of individual information. Use the index to link to your ancestor in the church record. Keep in mind that as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Known Issues with This Collecton

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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 see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to 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.

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Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8)." index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 22 March 2012), Martha Allen, born 29 June 1820; citing Non-Conformist Records, reference RG4-0276, Her Majesty's Stationary Office (Great Britain).