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) .

Collection Time Period

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.

Record Description

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’s 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).

Record Content

The index from the original Web site usually lists the following information:

  • Surnames
  • Given names (also known as “forenames”)
  • Relationship
  • year of event
  • Type of event
  • place (by county)
  • record group (RG 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8) view (full details of a transcript or the page image)


How to Use the Record

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.

Record History

The National Archives in 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.)

Why This Record Was Created

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/.

Record Reliability

The index is highly reliable for the collections.

Related Websites




Related Wiki Articles

England Nonconformist Church Records

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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Style Guide

For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages.

Sources of Information for This Collection

"England and Wales, Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8)," database, FamilySearch; from Her Majesty's Stationery Office (Great Brittain). "Index to the Non-conformist record classes RG 4-8." National Archive, London (England). Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

We welcome your assistance in adding source citation information for individual archives when collection data was collected from various sources or archives. The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

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Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Examples of citations:

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023

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