Jersey lies about fifteen miles west of the coast of France, or the Cape of La Hague, and eighty four miles south of Portland, in Dorsetshire.
It is about twelve miles in length, and not above six broad, containing about thirty-six square miles. The number of its inhabitants are twenty thousand, having a division of twelve parishes, with only eight churches. The chief towns are St. Helier, and St. Aubin; the former of which contains about four hundred houses, and near two thousand inhabitants. The latter has a fort and harbour well defended. The Chateau de I'Islet, or Queen Elizabeth's Castle here, is reckoned the best fortifications belonging to Great Britain. French is the language of the pulpit and bar, and it is generally spoken both here and in the neighbouring islands.
It is finely watered, abounds with fish, fruit, and cattle; makes excellent cyder, has great variety of sea-fowl, the best of honey, fine wool, remarkably fine butter, but labours under a scarcity of corn and fuel, for the latter of which they substitute vraic. Here are manufactured a pecular kind of worsted stockings much esteemed; nor are they without mineral springs of a purgative quality. Its intercourse with France, supplies it with wines, brandy, etc. very easily, so that it has but little malt liquor. The partridges here are remarkable for having red feet, and among its fish is a remarkable sort called Ormer. They are governed by the Norman laws, the courts of judicature in England having no jurisdiction over any of these Islands.
- Grose's 'The Antiquities of England and Wales', 1777
- FRENCH Almanac de Jersey 1788-1839. Almanac Historique 1790-1794. L'Almanac de la Chronique de Jersey 1814-1950. Almanac de la Nouvelle Chronique 1876-1917 (then merged with La Chronique de Jersey).
- ENGLISH The British Press and Jersey Times Almanac 1862-1910 became The Royal Almanac 1911-1913. The Jersey Express Almanac 1866-1936. The Jersey Evening Post Almanac 1914-1974.
- Lists of Island and Parish Officials, Ships, Sea Captains and Shipping Companies. Advertising and Commercial Directories are incorporated from 1860s. From 1880s they also summarise the main news of the year. As a rule of thumb, the earlier the edition, the less information they contain. Available at the Société Jersiaise and the Jersey Library Reference Section and the Jersey Archive from 1864 -1997 (see below).
The Jersey Archive (part of Jersey Heritage) collects and preserves the records of the States of Jersey, States Committees and Departments, the Royal Court, H.E. Lieutenant-Governor, Parishes, Churches, Businesses, Societies and individuals relating to the Island.
9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.
There are also some What's on at Jersey Heritage sites.
Jersey Museum, The Weighbridge, St Helier, Jersey, JE2 3NG
Tel. +44(0)1534 633300
Jersey Library, Halkett Place, St. Helier.
(This text is almost certainly out of date) Has the censuses on microfilm from 1841-1891 with some indices and many local newspapers, but are not geared up to accept genealogical enquires by post or e-mail. The larger number of microfilm readers however, mean less queuing if you are visiting in person. The Jersey Library, Halkett Place, St Helier JE2 4WG.
La Rue de La Vallée, St Mary, Jersey JE3 3DL. The Centre holds a very wide range of microfiche and film of the International Genealogical Index (IGI), the Census Returns (1841 and every 10 years to 1891) and the Indices of Births and Marriages in England and Wales from 1837 to 1983. The IGI covers Britain and many other countries of the world but is very thin on the Channel Islands. The 1992 Edition contains over 200,000,000 names. Many other records are available on request. Items that can be sent from Birmingham take about 6 weeks to arrive. Items from Salt Lake City can take approximately 3 months.
Société Jersiaise, 7 Pier Road, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 4XW.
The Lord Coutanche Library has a substantial Family History section. They have an index of their Annual Bulletins from 1885 to date, which contain many family histories, complete runs of several local directories from circa 1835 and local newspapers from 1797.
The Société also has a Photographic Archive.
The CI FHS Research Room is now at the Jersey Archive. The collection is comparable to that of the Société as most of the indices were prepared by individuals who are members of both societies - however space is at a premium and there are no newspapers or microfilm readers. The Research Committee have arranged an e-mail facility for enquiries at cifhs[at]localdial[dot]com
- Published Guide: Marie-Louise Backhurst - “Family History in Jersey”(CIFHS Publications 1991).
- A Glossary for the Historian of Jersey - C. N. Aubin (Jersey Archives Service, 1997)
- John Fuller's Channel Islands Genealogy - includes many useful links and a surnames list of Channel Islands research interests.
- Books about the Channel Islands Part of Charles Picot's Pages - a book list of essential reading about the Islands.
- Published Guide: Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey (Staples Press 1948). First edition out of print but in many libraries worldwide including L.D.S. catalogue. 2nd Edition (with added illustrations) published La Haule Books 1996. Available to subscribers only, write to La Haule Books Ltd, West Lodge, La Route de la Haule, St Brelade, JERSEY JE3 8BD for catalogue.
- The Société Jersiaise have prepared a 2nd Biographical Dictionary covering prominent Islanders who have died since 1948 and others that Balleine missed - edited by Francis Corbet.
- Prominent figures, such as members of the political dynasties of de Carteret, Le Hardy and Le Geyt also feature in the Dictionary of National Biography as do a few military men with Jersey backgrounds.
Each Parish Church has a surrounding graveyard. Some are in better condition than others.
Most of the St Helier Town Church gravestones are now used as paving and are getting worn away rapidly. They have been recorded and the index is in preparation.
After 1840 many new town cemetaries opened. Green Street MIs Index and Transcript available at the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room. Mont-à-l'Abbé, Westmount, Surville (all Church of England) and Almorah Cemetaries (Non-Conformist, including Roman Catholic) are in the custody of Mr Robin Clapham, Superintendant of St Helier Cemeteries, Mont-à-l'Abbé Cemetery, St Helier, JERSEY JE2 3LE. (This next text is well dated) He has ambitious plans to computerise his card index system of all the MIs and place it on the Internet but presently lacks funding. He will reply to postal enquiries.
Trinity MI list prepared - available at the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room.
St Peter in progress and others planned for 1999/2000.
1953 Ron Davies Indices (incomplete and unchecked) part of St Saviour and St Brelade Parish Churchyards and all of St Mary - available only at the Library of the Société Jersiaise.
Macpela Cemetary St John. The Proscrits (followers of Victor Hugo) buried between 1851 and 1853 are not included - list being revised.
Philadelphia Chapel Burying Grounds in St Peter and St Ouen.
Cimetière de L'Union St Martin - available only at the Library of the Société Jersiaise.
Details of Cemeteries of the following Churches are available at the Jersey Archive: St Lawrence, St Clement, St Brelade, St Helier, St Saviour.
Jersey is included in the decennial (1841 onwards) Census for England and Wales and can be found online, see the GENUKI ENG+WAL Census page.
1841 (typed index by surname) and 1861 (full alphabetical transcript) presently only available in Jersey at the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room.
1851, 1871 and 1891 have been published - see About the Channel Islands FHS. Copies were sent to the British Library, the Society of Genealogists and the Public Record Office and have also been purchased by the LDS and various libraries around the world.
1881 available through the LDS Family History Centres worldwide,including our own The Jersey Family History Centre of the L.D.S. Church.
The 1891 Census Index is now out of print but plans are in progress to publish a working index on CD in 2000.
During the Napoleonic Wars a census was taken of all the men available to defend the Island in the event of an invasion. More information at General Don's Militia Survey of 1815.
Jersey Archive holds the microfilm for the Channel Islands Censuses 1841-1891, including a street index to all censuses, a copy of the 1881 British Isles census and copies of the indexes and transcriptions produced by the CIFHS.
A copy of General Don's Militia Survey of 1806 & 1815 is held by the Jersey Archive and can be found by searching the OPAC. An index to General Don's Militia Survey produced by the CIFHS is also available at the Jersey Archive.
The Godfray Map of 1849: An Index of House Owners by Roland de Caen
See the St Helier page.
- St Lawrence: Baptisms (godparents missing) and Burials from1654-1842 and Marriages from 1655-1888 indexed.
- St Brelade: Baptisms and Marriages indexed from 1560-1900 and Burials from 1560-1842. St Aubin (District Church for St Brelade) commenced operation after 1842 and therefore the registers are at the SuperintendantRegistrar's Office.
- St Peter: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials indexed from 1626 to 1842. St Ouen: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials indexed from 1634 to 1842.
- St Saviour: Baptisms and Marriages from 1542 and Burials from 1541 indexed to 1842 (but there are many missing years in the originals) also missing godparents, although this is being revised in 1998.
- St Martin: Baptisms indexed from 1594-1953, Marriages from 1594 to 1994 and Burials from 1593 to 1843. Gouray (District Church for St Martin): Baptisms from 1875-1996 indexed - Marriages from 1901 - Burials from 1900 at the Superintendant Registrar's Office. From foundation in 1835 until the dates above the records are mixed in with St Martin's Parish Church registers.
- St John: Baptisms from 1594, indexed from 1715-1904 - Marriages from 1583, indexed from 1715-1984 - Burials from 1594 indexed from 1715-1842. Pre-1716 in progress.
- St Mary: Baptisms and Marriages from 1648 - Burials from 1647, all indexed to 1842.
- Trinity: Baptisms from 1624 - Marriages and Burials from 1612. Indexed to 1842 except burials (to 1813) and marriages (to 1899).
- Grouville: Baptisms from 1584 - Marriages from 1598 - Burials from 1593, all indexed to 1842.
- St Clement: Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1623 all indexed to 1842 - missing godparents.
- St John's Independant Church Baptisms 1810-1900 indexed. More to follow.
- All the indices available at the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room.
- Jersey Archive now holds the original baptism, marriage and burial registers for the following churches:
- St Brelade from1 560 to 1996
- St Helier from 1596 to 1988
- St Saviour from 1540-1975
- St Mark (in St Helier town) from 1875-1970
- Grouville from 1584 to 199
- St Clement from 1623 to 1998
- St Lawrence from 1654 to 1992
Also Transcriptions of the Church registers up to 1842 for all 12 parishes.
All Methodist Chapel registers and non-conformist Churches of New Church Society, Halkett Place Evangelical Church and United Reformed Church (St John's Independent Church)
All indexes of the Parish Church Registers produced by the CIFHS are available at the Jersey Archive.
The Jersey Archive has carried out surveys of the remaining Parish Churches in the Island, and also the Roman Catholic Churches. The survey lists are available at the Jersey Archive and on-line when searching the Archive catalogue and the Register of Jersey Sources not held by the Jersey Archive.
For current details see this Citizens' Advice Bureau page
Civil Registration Surname indexes from 1842 are available on microfiche at the Library of the Société Jersiaise and the CIFHS Research Room at the Jersey Archive as there is limited access to the originals by appointment between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday to Friday. Ensure you telephone first (01534) 502335 as Jersey is once again in demand as a wedding destination!
Cour de Câtel - Criminal Proceedings from 1504.
Cour d'Heritage - Real property and Inheritance Proceedings from 1506.
Cour de Samedi - From 1535, any business left over from either of the above and Civil cases.
Cour de Billet - Petty Debts from 1648 to the 1950s.
Décrets - Bankruptcy Proceedings from 1616 to 1900.
Land Registry - Founded in 1602 to record land transactions which were previously arranged verbally after Church Services and known as “ouie de paroisse” (in the hearing of the parish). Contracts record the names of the purchaser and vendor and often their fathers' names; the location within the fief and parish; neighbours' property and roads abutting the land in question; the date and purchase price.
Common Terms/Contracts found in the Land Registry
Rentes were loans repayable in kind (the produce of the land) and were considered permanent, passing from one generation to the next, before absolute ownership of property developed. Wheat rentes were the most common, cash rentes gradually developed in the 18th Century. Hypotecs are modern mortgages. Partages are the division of property between heirs. The oldest son receiving the préciput (the largest share). Often the remaining sons and daughters would sell their share of the land back to the principal heir.
WARNING: The Land Registry ceased operations during the Civil War period, therefore leaving a gap in the records from 1642-1660.
Notes: These records are in French.
Filmed by the L.D.S. and available to order from their Family History Centre network as Microfilm Register of contracts or land registry. Cour Royale (Jersey). 461 microfilms; 35 mm. Too many to list, Index (Table) is on: 0394648 to 0394708; 0431307 to 0431308 and 20 0431318. Land registry is on remainder.
All Royal Court Records original volumes and microfilms are now held by the Jersey Archive including:
Cours de Samedi
Cours de Catel
Cour de Billet
Poursuites Criminelles - criminal cases tried in Magistrates Court from 1797 to 1981
Ecclesiastical Court records survive from 1585, but are in private hands and are not indexed. Ecclesiastical Court records on microfiche from 1557-1568 available at the Jersey Archive
- Historical Descriptions of the Channel Islands from Grose's The Antiquities of England and Wales, published in 1777 .
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 Jersey Datestones Project.
Given that space is limited on a small Island, Jersey folk have spread all over the world including, of course, Great Britain. They have travelled to America since early times - hence New Jersey! Notable families now established abroad include the Poindexters of America. Fishing the Newfoundland Banks for cod led to many enclaves being set up at the Gaspé in Canada. See also John Sullivan's Newfoundland and the Jersey Crisis of 1886. Many Jersey surnames can be found in any Australian or New Zealand telephone book.
Heritage Books are the publishers of Marion Turk's Quiet Adventurers Series which are due to be reprinted in January 1999 (two books about American and Canadian families with Channel Islands roots).
- The Jersey Family History Forum: A Beginners Guide compiled jointly by all the local Research Centres.
- Revised URL for John Fuller's Channel Islands Genealogy includes a surnames list compiled by John Fuller of the Channel Islands-related research 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 Libraries and Family History Societies plus FAQs Links Page.
- Channel Islands Family History: Reading the Records
- Useful articles in CIFHS Journals: A List of Lists and Their Locations No. 73 (Feb 1997) pp. 280-283 and Indexing Jersey's Records: A Progress Report No. 76 (October 1997) pp.363-366.
Tutelles - guardianships. Procurations - powers of attorney. These records are in French and are only available at the Public Registry in Jersey.
Payne's Armorial of Jersey was published in 1859. Contains many family trees and origin legends as well as Coats of Arms. Copies are held by all of Jersey's Libraries and the LDS. Not as accurate as it could have been, the publisher relied on submissions from the families represented, who paid to appear.
- The Société Jersiaise has a History Section.
- The Jersey Heritage Trust Index Page (for Jersey Museum details)
- The 'text book' history of Jersey is G.R. Balleine's History of Jersey, revised by Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens in the 1970s and reprinted in 1998 by the Société Jersiaise with a new chapter by Colin Powell. Published by Phillimore.
- Google 'Map of Jersey'
- The Godfray Map of 1849: An Index of House Owners by Roland de Caen
- Old Maps of the Channel Islands from 1683 and 1784.
- Detailed maps can be found in 'Jersey Place Names' by Charles Stevens, Jean Arthur and Joan Stevens. Published 1986 Société Jersiaise.
- The essential modern map to find your way around Jersey is Perry's Guide. Available from any bookseller in map form; as an A5 (black and white) booklet or the Professional Edition, an A3 size coloured book.
- The Jersey Archive holds the original of the 1795 Richmond map and copies of the Godfray map, ordnance survey maps and aerial photographs.
- The Jersey Merchant Seamen's Benefit Society. 19th Century Seamen's records page which includes links to other relevant sites.
Jersey has always had its own organised defence force, which eventually became the Royal Jersey Militia. Service was compulsory for all able bodied men from age 16 to 60. It was based on a parochial system until the 19th Century when four main Regiments were created - the Town, West, North and East Regiments, there was also a limited amount of artillery and cavalry. During the Napoleonic Wars a census was taken of all the men available to defend the Island in the event of an invasion. More information at General Don's Militia Survey of 1815.
A handful of other Militia Lists have been printed in the Annual Bulletins of the Société Jersiaise most notably St Saviour and St Peter in the 17th Centuries.The Library of the Société Jersiaise has a collection of original Militia Commissions and the Jersey Museum Service are responsible for the R.J.M. Museum at Elizabeth Castle, St Helier.
A British Garrison was nearly always present in Jersey. Lists have been prepared, which begin around the end of the 17th Century in the collection of the Library of the Société Jersiaise. One at Alderney and The British Army makes reference to many that could also be found in Jersey.
Jersey was Occupied by the German Army during most of WW II (1941-1945) see Brian Ahier Read's A Jersey Schoolboy Remembers the Occupation and the Jersey Archive site about the surviving Registration Cards and photographs from 1941.
The Jersey Archive holds all Royal Jersey Militia Nominal Rolls, Royal Jersey Militia Pay Lists, Royal Jersey Militia Pay & Mess Rolls and Royal Jersey Militia Attestation Forms from 1929-1940.
The original Garrison registers from 1784 to 1817 are also held by the Jersey Archive
A function of the Royal Court of Jersey but no indices exist, with the exception of many of the Huguenot arrivals fleeing from religious persecution in France in the 17th Century. Lists in the Annual Bulletins of the Société Jersiaise.
FRENCH Le Magasin de L'Ile de Jersey 1784-85, Le Gazette de L'Ile de Jersey 1786-1796, Chronique de Jersey 1814-1959. La Nouvelle Chronique 1855-1916 (then merged with La Chronique de Jersey). L'Impartial 1831-1845, Le Jersiais 1838-1843, Le Constitutionnel 1820-1854 at the Library of the Société Jersiaise.
ENGLISH The British Press and Jersey Times 1862-1910 now being filmed and the Jersey Evening Post 1914 to date at the Jersey Library Reference Section.
The Jersey Archive holds the admission registers for the Jersey Home for Girls/Jersey Female Orphans Home from 1862 - 1959 and the Jersey Home for Boys/Jersey Industrial School from 1867 - 1984 (Please note there are 100 year closures on the admission registers).
The States of Jersey Home Page: The States Assembly
The Library of the Société Jersiaise contains printed volumes of Ordres du Conseil 1536-1867 . They include confirmations from the Privy Council (and/or the reigning Monarch) of Death Sentences, Transportation Orders and new Laws etc.
As the repository for all of the States of Jersey records, the Jersey Archive holds States Department records, the original Ordres du Conseil, Acts of Parliaments adopted in Jersey and States of Jersey Minutes. The Jersey Archive also holds the Lieutenant-Governor's Archives and the Bailiff's Archives (specifically from the German Occupation).
The Jersey General Hospital acted in this capacity but suffered two calamitous fires in the 18th and 19th Centuries, destroying most of the records. There are a few odd items at the Library of the Société Jersiaise.
The Jersey Archive holds the original Minute Books of the Comité des Pauvres, Hospital Committee Minute Books. Also the Jersey General Hospital Admission Registers 1839-1841 and1879-1948, Pensions to the Poor of St Helier, 1864-1898 and a Baptism Register at the General Hospital, 1938-1978 are held.
See also Church Records for surviving Chapel Baptisms.
The Jersey Archive holds all wills and testaments of movable property held by the Judicial Greffe from 1660 - 1948 and they can be consulted individually, All wills and testaments have been catalogued and are indexed under name on the Jersey Archive catalogue. The Wills and Testaments 1948-1960 are held at the Jersey Archive and can be searched under name.
These are Wills of Personalty (cash and personal possessions).Wills of Realty (from 1851) fixed property (houses, land, rentes and hypotecs) are at the Land Registry (see also Court Records).
Filmed by the L.D.S. and available to order from their Family History Centre network as: Microfilm Jersey Probate records, 1660-1965. 45 reels 0431261-0431306. Unfortunately they do not have the indices.
- Victoria College - The Pupils Register from 19th Century is at the Library of the Société Jersiaise.
- The Jersey Archive holds school log books and admission registers for 30 schools and also registers of the appointment of teachers (1888 - 1927 and 1970 -1975), and apprenticeship registers (1919-1950).
Printed Rate Lists (Liste du Rât) 1858 to date, Islandwide by Parish and Vingtaine (Parish Division), are available at the Library of the Société Jersiaise. They contain all of Jersey's landowners but not necessarily their tenants before the 20th Century. The CIFHS Research Room have a small sample plus a photocopy of a special Liste du Rât of 1736 which was an Islandwide levy on property owners to pay for a ship to protect St Helier Harbour.
The Jersey Archive holds Liste du Rât 1877 to 1970.