Sunderland, Durham Genealogy

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England Gotoarrow.png Durham Gotoarrow.png Durham Parishes
Sunderland Holy Trinity.jpg

Parish History

SUNDERLAND-BRIDGE, a township, in the chapelry of Croxdale,parish of St. Oswald, union of Durham, S. E. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, 3½ miles (S. S. W.) from Durham.[1]

After a campaign in 1712 by local merchants, a church was built and called Holy Trinity the parish Church of Sunderland. Sunderland was separated from the ancient parish of Bishopwearmouth by Act of Parliament in 1719.

The first records date from 1719 and the church was consecrated on 5 September in that year by the Bishop of London. The church ceased to be used for worship in 1988, the final service held on 26 June 1988


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Church records

To find the names of the neighbouring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.
Durham University Library Archives and Special Collections DDR/EA/PBT/2/246 Parish Register transcripts are available to search free online at FamilySearch Historical Records which is undertaking engineering work to correct the present gaps in images and the insertion into the collection of parish records in the original image assembly for Wallsend parish Northumberland. The online images for Wallsend baptisms can be located at image 119 of 1412 in the Sunderland images and begin with the year January 1813(DDR/EA/PBT/2/259/112). The sequence then continues until image 695 of 1412 which shows burial register for 1833 (DDR/EA/PBT/2/259/715). The Sunderland transcripts then resume at image 696 with a title page and 1770 burials for Sunderland.

The dates of the post-1760 transcripts have been noted in detail and sometimes only cover years. For most parishes in the collection there are gaps in the sequence of transcripts. It is advisable to consult the original parish registers for these years and events.

The Parish Registers for the period 1719-1988 are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL (EP/Su.HT).

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Sunderland are also available at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL:-

  •  Deptford 1845-1948 (EP/Su.SA & EP/BiW).
  •  Grangetown 1907-1981 (EP/Gra).
  •  Hendon, St. Ignatius 1889-1968 (EP/SuSIg).
  •  Hendon, St. Paul 1852-1969 (EP/Su.SPa).
  •  Middle Hendon 1876-1967 (EP/Su.SB).
  •  Pallion, St. Luke 1869-1975 (EP/Pa)

FamilySearch Historical Records includes England, Durham Diocese, Marriage Bonds and Allegations (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Non Conformist Churches

Census records

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Poor Law Unions

Sunderland Poor Law Union, Durham

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Durham Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England(1848), pp. 261-271.

Contributor: add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above.

Jack Crawford

Jack Crawford (22 March 1775 – 10 November 1831) was a sailor of the Royal Navy known as the "Hero of Camperdown."

Crawford, born in the east end of Sunderland, was a keelman until 1786 when, aged 11 or 12, he joined the crew of the Peggy at South Shields as an apprentice. In 1796, he was press-ganged into the Royal Navy and served on HMS Venerable under Admiral Duncan, the Royal Navy Commander-in-Chief of the North Seas.

At the Battle of Camperdown (11 October 1797), Venerable was Admiral Duncan's flagship. During the battle, part of the Venerable's mast was felled, including the admiral's flag. Lowering the Admiral's personal flag was a sign of surrender, and even an unintentional fall was unacceptable. Despite being under intense gunfire, Crawford climbed the mast and nailed the colours to the top.

After the victory procession in London he was formally presented to the King and was given a government pension of £30 a year, and later a silver medal from the people of Sunderland. However, Crawford fell on hard times and drunkenness, and had to sell his medal. He became the second victim of the cholera epidemic of 1831 and was buried in an unmarked "pauper's" grave in the graveyard of the parish.

In 1888 a gravestone was erected in his memory and in 1890 a public memorial in Mowbray Park Sunderland commemorates him.

Outside Sunderland since the 1880's local and international historians have disputed the heroism of Crawford.