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This data collection consists of baptism records from over 10,000 Church of England parish registers (including Bishop’s Transcripts) in the Greater London area, from the original registers deposited at London Metropolitan Archives as well as those formerly held by Guildhall Library Manuscripts section.
This collection also includes registers of births and baptisms that occurred in workhouses operated by the Boards of Guardians.
Bishop’s Transcripts are copies of the original registers which were made annually and sent to the Bishop. They are particularly useful where original records either do not survive or in the case of many of the churches in the City of Westminster, are not held by London Metropolitan Archives.
About this Collection:
Records are typically arranged in chronological order and contain the following information:
- Name of child
- Baptism or birth date
- Mother’s name
- Father’s name
Additional details such as the child’s gender, residence, and whether legitimate may also be available on the original record.
In addition to birth and baptismal records, churching records have also been included in this data collection. Churching is a rite or ceremony in which a woman recovering from childbirth is brought to the church to receive blessings and prayers. This ceremony was not always formally recorded, but when it was, it was often recorded on baptismal registers.
Specific source citations, including call and microfilm numbers, are provided on the record level for each entry. Information in this source citation indicates whether the record is from Parish Registers or Bishops Transcripts. A notation such as "transcript of baptisms" indicates the record was taken from Bishops Transcripts.
Parish records--primarily christenings, marriages, and burials--are the best source of vital record information before the nineteenth century. Before Civil Registration began in 1837, key events in a person’s life were typically recorded by the Church rather than the State. Starting in the sixteenth century, parish records are some of the longest running records available.
Beginning in 1598, clergy were required to send copies of their parish registers to the bishop of their diocese. These copies are known as Bishop’s Transcripts. Bishop’s Transcripts are useful in cases where originals are unreadable or no longer exist.
In 1812, George Rose’s Act called for pre-printed registers to be used for separate baptism, marriage, and burial registers as a way of standardizing records. These standardized registers are included in this collection. For earlier registers, please see the link provided below in the Related Data Collections section.
Poor Law Records:
In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act was enacted. This law formed parishes into groups called Unions. Each Union elected a Board of Guardians, which was then responsible for the care of the poor, rather than the individual parishes.
Individuals who received relief generally included the elderly, orphaned, unemployed, or sick and afflicted. In addition to monetary relief, other daily necessities such as food, clothing, and work were provided. Children could be appointed to apprenticeships or placed in schools and other institutions.
Poor law workhouses and infirmaries kept lots of records, among them registers of births and baptisms. In many London and Middlesex poor law unions or parishes the maternity ward was in the workhouse rather than in the workhouse infirmary. The registers recorded information about the births and baptisms that occurred at these institutions.
The London Metropolitan Archives image website - Collage - The London Picture Archive provides access to over 250,000 historical prints, maps and photographs of London. The images date from 1450 to the 1980s and include all aspects of life in the capital, from the Crystal Palace to Second World War air raid damage.