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Help and advice for Guernsey

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Guernsey

"Guernsey is 6o miles s. w. of Weymouth, about 26 W. of Normandy, 21 from Jersey, 5 from Alderney, and six from Sarke. It is about 12 miles long, nine broad, and 30 in circumference, containing 50 square rniles or 32,000 square acres. It has 10 parishes. The air is healthy, and its soil, like Crete and Ireland, is said to admit no noxious animal. It abounds with fish, particularly a fine sort of carp; and its rock produces a kind of emeral, very hard. The island is plentifully supplied with corn and cattle. Nature has defended it with a ledge of rocks, and art with an old castle, and a pier constructed of vast stones, thrown together with great art in the days of Edw. II. Here is a great scarcity of wood for fueling, which is supplied by the sea vraic."

from Grose's 'The Antiquities of England and Wales', 1777

Guernsey Parishes

Guernsey's Islands

  • Alderney is about 8 miles in circumference. It lies the nearest to Normandy, and is remarkable for its Strait, called the Race, so fatal to shipping. It is famous for its cows. Its (single) parish is St Anne.
  • Sark is about five miles in length, and not above three broad, fortified on all sides by cliffs, which render it almost inaccessible, containing only two entrances, one of which is cut through a soft rock, and fortified with gates and cannon. Here are the remains of a convent of St. Maglarius. Sark has a single parish with its church dedicated to St Peter.
  • Herm
  • Lihou
  • Jethou
  • Brecqhou

Bibliography

  • Published Guide: D.W. Le Poidevin - “Tracing Your Ancestors in Guernsey”(Taunton 1978). Now out of print and seriously out of date!
  • John Fuller's Channel Islands Genealogy - includes many useful links and a surnames list of Channel Islands research interests.

Biography

  • Published Guide: James Marr's “Guernsey People” (Phillimore 1984)
  • Stephen Foote's Index of 'Guernsey As It Used To Be' by G.W.J.L. Hugo (St Peter Port 1865-1880)

Census

  • Guernsey, Alderney and Sark are included in the decennial (1841 onwards) Census for England and Wales and can be found online, see the GENUKI ENG+WAL Census page.
  • 1841, 1851, 1861, 1881 and 1891 indices presently only available in the Channel Islands at the Priaulx Library; the Archive Room of the The Family History Section of La Société Guernesiaise in Guernsey; the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room in Jersey.
  • 1871 underway see The Family History Section of La Société Guernesiaise.
  • 1881 also available through the LDS Family History Centres worldwide.

Church Records

Parish Register Copies in the Library of the Society of Genealogists: Channel Islands (Bailiwick of Guernsey records including Sark).

Mike de Carteret's Index to The Strangers Cemetery (St Peter Port) - as the name implies, mostly non-natives (18th and 19th Centuries).

St Peter Port: The Town Church

Baptisms from 1563 - Marriages from 1565 - Burials from 1566.
Semi Indexed (by surname and page number only)

St Peter Port: Later Parishes

(created when the Town Church was no longer big enough)

  • St Johns: Baptisms from 1840 - Marriages from 1858
  • St Stephens: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1865
  • Holy Trinity: Baptisms from 1847 - Marriages from 1858 - Burialsfrom 1858

Other Miscellaneous Registers

  • The Marriage Chapel at St James-the-Less: Marriages 1915-1970
  • Candie Cemetery: Burials 1847-1986

Country Parishes

  • Vale: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1577
  • St Pierre-du-Bois: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1625
  • Castel: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1674. Early records indexed.
  • Castel: St Matthews: Baptisms from 1854 - Marriages and Burials from1855
  • St Sampson: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1713
  • St Saviour: Baptisms and Marriages from 1582 - Burials from 1609
  • St Martin: Baptisms and Marriages from 1660 - Burials from 1728
  • Forest: Baptisms and Marriages from 1700 - Burials from 1704
  • St Andrews: Baptisms from 1575 - Marriages from 1573 - Burials from 1574
  • Torteval: Baptisms from 1684 - Marriages from 1721 - Burials from 1739

Civil Registration

Began in 1842. Records at H.M. Greffier, The Royal Court House, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PB. Telephone (01481) 725277. Office Hours 9.00 a.m.to 5.00 p.m. Schedule of charges at the Greffe. Public access to the Strong Room between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. for a nominal £1.00 charge and details can be copied from their records. The Priaulx Library also have the indiceson microfilm.

Note: Guernsey Marriages were not subject to Civil Registrationuntil 1919 - so the coverage is incomplete prior to that date. Go to the Parish Registers instead.

For the smaller Islands see Alderney Ancestry & Sark Ancestry

Court Records

  • Property Transactions: Date (spoken - but copied out) and Lire (written) contracts that went before the Royal Court are in the Greffe. They date from 1576 and indexed both by the surname of the vendor (Bailleurs) and the purchaser (Acquéreurs).

Dwellings

(see also Court Records and Land and Property)

  • Many older Channel Islands houses have dated stones including the initials of the owners - these are in the process of being located, identified and indexed at the Guernsey Datestones Project. Tracing the history of houses can also be underaken through the Livres des Perchages: Guernsey.
  • Published Guide: John McCormack's “The Guernsey House” (Phillimore1987)

Genealogy

  • John Fuller's Channel Islands Genealogy includes a surnames list compiled by John Fuller of the Channel Islands-relatedresearch interests of a number of Internet and CompuServe users and many useful links.
  • Research in the Channel Islands FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Civil Registration Details, Research Librariesand Family History Societies plus FAQs Links Page.
  • Peter Guilbert's Guernsey Genealogy Interests Site

History

Land and Property

(see also Dwellings and Court Records)

  • From 1924, property records are at the Cadastre Department, Nelson Place, Smith Street, St Peter Port. This department is very busy, dealing with rating matters and rent control, and has little time to undertake research requests. If visiting in person, make an appointment (01481) 721239. However, your enquiry stands a better chance of being answered if you refer it through the States of Guernsey Island Archives Service.
  • Livres des Perchages are surveys undertaken at intervals by the representatives of the Seigneur of a fief recording details of his holdings and tenants - most are in private hands. States of Guernsey Island Archives Service has a selection and access to many others not actually on their premises.
  • Published Guide: John McCormack's “The Guernsey House” (Phillimore1987).

Language and Languages

Guernsey Norman French

Merchant Marine

  • Stephen Foote's Guernsey Crew Lists Index

Newspapers

  • GuernseyWeekly Press Internet Edition Guernsey Press Online

Occupations

  • Stephen Foote's History of Guernsey Butchers Freddie Cohen's Makers and Dealers of Channel Islands Silver and Their Marks. Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.
  • The records of the Town Hospital (Guernsey's Poorhouse 1743-1900 ) are at the States of Guernsey Island Archives Service for more information go to St Peter Port Town Hospital Journals.

Probate Records

  • Wills of Personalty (each book indexed individually in Greffe - see Civil Registration) and Wills of Realty (one big card index in Greffe). The former are the responsibility of the Ecclesiastical Court from whom permission must be sought before copies are made. The Greffier can do this for you.

Societies

  • The Channel Islands FHS PO Box 507, St Helier, Jersey JE4 5TN. Information, Officers of the Society, Subscriptions, Programme of Events 1998-99, CIFHS Publications - Current and Forthcoming, Links. CIFHS Journals - Contents List 1996-98.
  • La Société Guernsiaise (which includes the Family History Section)
  • The Guernsey Society
  • The Channel Islands Occupation Society (Guernsey Branch)