York Parish Registers, Introduction: Layout.

Colin Blanshard Withers'
Yorkshire Parish Registers




The information brought together for each parish and chapelry is as follows:

Name of Parish / Chapelry

The names of parishes and chapelries as they were commonly known before 1832 have been used. The organisation is strictly alphabetical, within each Riding. Names which have qualifiers within them, such as Great Driffield, North Dalton, Upper Helmsley, etc., have all been entered under "G", "N" and "U", respectively. I know the arguments for keeping places such as East Ardsley and West Ardsley together, as Ardsley East, and Ardsley West, but not all places that have opposite descriptors are contiguous, so this could be misleading. I also felt that the disadvantage of not knowing what to do with grey area descriptors, such as Cold Kirby, Long Preston, etc., was too cumbersome, especially when there are no corresponding places such as Warm Kirby, or Short Preston. Names such as Hutton Magna, where the descriptor follows the name, (Magna' is Latin for 'Great'), rather than preceding it, complicates the matter further.

Description of Parish / Chapelry

The parish descriptions have been distilled from several sources, but principally from: "A Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire", Thomas Langdale, 1809 and 1822 editions; "History, Directory & Gazetteer of the County of York", Volume I - West Riding, Volume II - East and North Ridings, Edward Baines, 1823; "National Commercial Directory of Durham, Northumberland, and Yorkshire", 1834, Pigot and Co.; and "Collections Relative to Churches and Chapels within the Diocese of York. To which are added, Collections Relative to Churches and Chapels within the Diocese of Ripon", George Lawton, 1842.

The population figures quoted are those returned to Parliament on the 28th May 1821, and repeated in both Langdale and Baines. Those parishes and chapelries which do not have a population figure are either those for which no separate population returns were made, being part of some larger township (or divided between two or more townships), or those parishes and chapelries that were formed after 1821. In the latter case, the population returns for the 1831 census have been given, and this is clearly marked in the text.

Deposited Registers

This section deals exclusively with deposited original registers. Wherever possible, the dates shown for deposited registers show all gaps, however small.

Gaps in a parish register sequence are normally due to the ravages of time, fire, flood, theft, mice and other mishaps, but not always. In parishes with only small congregations it is not unusual to have gaps in the marriage register, simply because no-one got married during that period. There will have been occasions where a church was unfit for use, and later, after repairs or alterations had been carried out, the register resumes. So do check if a gap is within a register, or if a whole register seems to be missing. If there is a gap within a register, affecting baptisms, marriages and burials, then this strongly suggests that the church was not being used for some reason, and entries should be sought in the registers of surrounding parishes or chapelries. There were also the occasional disputes over the right to nominate the next incumbent on the vacancy of the previous incumbent (this right is called the 'advowson'), and this may also explain a gap in a parish register sequence. It would be well worth checking any printed history of the parish to see if any such incidents had taken place, or alternatively, recourse may be had to the churchwarden accounts (normally filed with the parish records in the relevant Record Office), to see if they can throw light on the matter. For example, if a gap in parish register sequence occurs, but the churchwarden accounts continue to show expenses for communion wine etc., then it is likely the gap is due to the loss of the relevant register.

One last thought on gaps. It will be seen that some Chapelries have a gap in their marriage registers after 1754. This is because most Chapelries were not legally entitled to perform marriages, though many did, (see Wortley, in the West Riding, for example). In 1754, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act outlawed unlicensed Chapelries and other establishments from performing marriages. Later, some Chapelries obtained a license, or were elevated to the status of parish, and the marriage registers resume.

Following the sub-heading 'Deposited Registers', is, in parentheses, an abbreviation showing the current location for the deposited original registers. Very often, Record Offices hold microform copies of registers held by other Record Offices, in addition to their own holdings of original registers, so do contact the Record Office and check, and maybe save yourself a journey. The Bibliography contains a list of published guides, issued by the various Record Offices to their holdings. These guides will invariably contain material supplemental to the data produced here. For example, parish registers for parishes formed post-1832, banns, copies of registers held elsewhere, microfilm reference numbers, etc.

Bishop's Transcripts (BTs)

These are copies of parish register entries, returned variously by the incumbent, his parish clerk, or by the churchwardens, to the Bishop's Diocesan Office (usually). This was commonly done by handing them in during the Archdeacon's Visitation, or during the Bishop's Visitation, or directly to the Diocesan Registrar. The practice began in 1598, but in a few rare instances can go back as far as the start of parish registers in 1538, (see Rossington, in the West Riding, for example).

The BTs for Yorkshire parishes are held principally at the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, in York, but a large number are kept at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds, principally for the Archdeaconry of Richmond, (Diocese of Chester), and for parishes transferred to the Diocese of Ripon, which was created in 1836. A small handful are kept at Record Offices outside of Yorkshire, mainly for Yorkshire chapelries which were part of parishes which were extra-comital. A few transcripts were copied onto the back of Glebe Terriers, (returns to the Bishop of the land holdings of the parish church), and this explains why they are located in Record Offices other than the Record Office that contains the main run of transcripts for that parish.

It should also be noted that a few places did not return any BTs. Some peculiars (parishes outside the jurisdiction of the archdeacon, and sometimes even the bishop) did not return any BTs, and some churches which were non-parochial, such as York Minster, or collegiate, such as Ripon Minster made no returns either.

All years quoted for BTs should be treated with some caution. This is because returns were made from March to March, January to December, June/July to June/July at differing periods, and by different people. When the returns reached the Diocesan Registry, some Registrars dated the returns according to the year they covered, others according to the year in which they received them (even if they received more than one year's returns). That is why there are several examples at the Borthwick of (apparently) two differing copies of the same year.

IGI Coverage

The International Genealogical Index, or IGI, is a worldwide index of baptisms and marriages, containing millions of entries, compiled by the Genealogical department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. There is varied coverage of parishes throughout Britain, but Yorkshire has been particularly well covered, in part or in whole, with only a handful of parishes not covered at all.

The index is on microfiche, and can be viewed at any Family History Centre (a list for Yorkshire is included in the Appendix, Useful Addresses), or at many Record Offices and larger Libraries. The coverage for each parish, showing which years have been extracted and indexed, is contained within "Parish and Vital Records List", 1988, Genealogical Society of Utah, on microfiche. The coverage for Yorkshire is extracted, by permission, and reproduced here.

Years in regular type are taken from parish registers or printed sources, and those in italic type are taken from available bishop's transcripts. Only the outside years are given, most small gaps in the registers or transcripts are not shown in the IGI coverage years. However, by looking at the gaps in the Deposited Registers', or BTs' for the parish, the extent of the IGI coverage for that parish can be seen.

Transcripts and Indexes

Transcripts in this sense does not refer to bishop's transcripts, but to Printed, Typescript, or Manuscript copies of parish registers, (but not filmed or photocopied original registers), sometimes using bishop's transcripts to fill gaps in the register sequence, and with or without indexes. Sometimes, an index alone has been made with no corresponding transcript (I), and sometimes a transcript has a separate index volume (TSI), or is included in a card index (CI). I have made no distinction between transcripts with indexes (TI), and transcripts that have been arranged in alphabetical order.

The order in this section has been to place the type of event (C, M, B, or any combination of these) and the coverage years, first. Next is the abbreviation for the kind of transcript and whether it is indexed or not. If the transcript is printed then the Title, Volume Number, Author and Date of Publication follow, where known. Some authors do not put any title on their transcript, or even a date. Transcript series have their volume number following the abbreviation for the series, e.g. YPRS 56, is Volume 56 in the Yorkshire Parish Register Society series. Many transcripts have no stated author, having been done by volunteers and donated to the Record Office which holds the original records. Finally, at least one location is given where the author has noted a copy of the transcript.

In addition to the above, I have included details of the major indexing projects for the county, and they are described in the following section.

The above copyright data was taken from the book
Yorkshire Parish Registers
and was presented to Genuki by the author:
Colin Blanshard Withers.