Research tips – parish registers
Hi to all our researchers and volunteers from all the archive staff who are now working from home – we hope that everyone is keeping safe and well in these uncertain times.
Before we closed to the public, several of you mentioned that you have relatives who were planning to start looking into their family history during their time at home. We thought that this was a brilliant idea, as many of the resources necessary are now available online. We have therefore put together some guidance on beginning researching your ancestors. We hope that you may enjoy spending time keeping your brain active, alongside joining in the huge range of online fitness sessions that are now proving so popular! We look forward to welcoming you back to a full archive service soon.
The parish registers for Shropshire will probably be one of your main sources for family research. They list baptisms, marriages, and burials dating back hundreds of years.
The pages of the registers have been digitised for the period pre-1900 and are searchable on the Find My Past website. This is a subscription website which also holds many other records which will be useful for research.
They often have subscription offers, and when we do re-open it is available free of charge at Shropshire Archives. If you have a Shropshire Library card, then you can access FindMyPast through your library log in: http://shropshire.gov.uk/libraries/find-a-book/e-library
You can search across all the records on the site, but to find our registers…
- Under ‘Quick links’ choose ‘A-Z’ of record sets
- Start typing in Shropshire
- You’ll then see categories for Shropshire Banns, Shropshire Baptisms, Shropshire Burials and Shropshire Marriages
- If you click on any of these, you can do a name search within this type of register
- Of course, the name search is only as good as the index and there are sometimes errors.
- If you want to browse through a register page by page, use the option ‘Shropshire Parish Register Browse 1538-1900’
- Then search for the name of a particular parish
- You’ll see what registers we hold and you can click on the image link to browse through page by page.
- Really good colour images of the actual pages should appear.
The system of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths only began in 1837. If you are starting with more recent twentieth-century research, you can search the civil registration indexes on websites such as Ancestry and Find My Past. These indexes will give the quarter in which the birth, marriage, or death occurred. You will then need to contact the Shropshire Registration Service or Telford Registration Service. to obtain certificates. Please be aware that currently there may be a delay in issuing such certificates.
We often also hold fairly recent parish registers at Shropshire Archives – there is a list of the registers that we hold on the registers of baptism, marriage and burials page. There is also background information on registers and certificates on our printable short guides page.
Staff are dealing with enquiries remotely, so do email us if you have specific queries, though we do not currently have access to our usual resources:
We hope this will be a useful start for your research – more advice will follow so watch this space! Good luck, and do let us know how you get on! Or if you’ve got tips for other researchers, please share them.