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Church Records

Registers for Anglican churches within the present-day Birmingham Diocese are held here. These include registers of churches which no longer exist and those of churches which were formerly in Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire, such as Aston, Handsworth and Kings Norton. Details of many of the registers held here can be found at calmview.birmingham.gov.uk

A large number of pre twentieth century registers have been microfilmed. The telephone number if you want to reserve a reader to view the microfilmed copies is 0121 242 4242. Please ask for the Heritage Research Area or you can email us at archives.heritage@birmingham.gov.uk
 
Many of the microfilmed registers are also now available on www.ancestry.co.uk
and Ancestry Institution Edition which available free of charge on computers in Birmingham libraries. Some other library authorities may also provide this facility.
 
Registers that have not been microfilmed may be available to view in their original format. These will be served by appointment in the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research on level 4 of the Library of Birmingham

 

Do you hold Catholic church records?

Archives Heritage and Photography hold only a small number of transcripts. Please contact the Archivist at St Chad’s for these records. Contact: The Rev. John Sharp, Archivist, Cathedral House, St. Chad's Queensway, Birmingham B4 4EU. Tel: 0121 230 6252. Email: archives@rc-birmingham.org

 

What about other non-conformist church records?

Some Baptist, Independent, Unitarian, Wesleyan and Presbyterian baptismal registers are deposited here.

Some non-conformist registers for Birmingham are also available to view on the Ancestry website.  Many non-conformist records are also available atwww.thegenealogist.co.uk (this website is subscription based).

 

How far do parish registers go back?

Parish registers were introduced in the mid C16th. We hold registers from this date for some churches such as St. Martin's (Birmingham's Parish Church). However, not all registers date back this far.

 

What does a baptism register show?

This varies between churches, but the standard format is that prior to 1812 registers contain very little information other than the date of baptism, the child's name and the names of the parents (sometimes only the father's name is given). From 1813 registers also include the full names of the parents, where they were living and the father's occupation. Some incumbents included the date of birth but this was not a requirement. Baptismal records do not include the mother’s maiden name.

 

What does a marriage register show?

Until 1753 the register will normally shows the date of marriage and the names of both parties.

  Between 1754 and 1st July 1837 the register shows: Date and place of marriage, Names of the bride and groom and their marital status, Whether or not they are of the parish (this quite often appears as otp), Whether the marriage is by banns, licence or with consent of parents (if either party is a minor) and the signature/mark of the bride and groom and witnesses (usually two).

During this period marriages other than for Jews and Quakers had to take place in a parish church performed by an Anglican vicar.

From 1837 marriages could also take place at register offices and non-conformist churches, although at the latter a registrar of marriages had to conduct the civil part of the ceremony until the late1890’s (at least 1898). To obtain a certificate of a Register Office marriage you will need to contact the local Register Office.  

What does a burial register show?

Up to 1813 a burial register generally shows the date of death, name of deceased and very little other information (the age of death is not necessarily shown.)

From 1813 onwards the register shows: date and place of burial, name of the deceased, age at death - if a child is being buried the parents names may be given, and address.

Some burial records are available in the National Burial Index – this will be  available on CD Rom in the Library of Birmingham and on http://www.findmypast.co.uk (this website is subscription based).

How do I book an appointment in the Wolfson Centre?  

To use the Wolfson Centre it is essential to pre-book a session and to order material in advance. You will need a valid CARN ticket or suitable means of identification showing your name, address and signature. Appointments for the Wolfson Centre can be made via email to archives.appointments@birmingham.gov.uk   Alternatively please telephone the Library of Birmingham on 0121 242 4242