• Boyd's Marriage Index
  • Chancery Records
  • Clergy
  • Commissariat Records     (Scotland)
  • Guild Records
  • Hearth Tax
  • Medical Professions
  • Military Records
  • Keeping Records
  • Nonconformist records
  • Parliamentary Survey of     Durham 1647
  • Photo restoration
  • Poll Books
  • Poor Law Records
  • Probate records
  • Protestation of 1642
  • School Records
  • Scottish Records
  • Solicitors & Barristers
  • Sources on Internet
  • Boyd's Marriage Index

    This is an index of marriages in England produced by Percival Boyd. The full index is held in the Society of Genealogists at London but local indexes are often held in public record offices and major libraries. You may also find a copy of the full index at the genealogical libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Boyd's Marriage index indexes the marriages in 4211 parishes - 37% of all England.

    Durham index covers 71 parishes (69% of the county)
    Northumberland index covers 84 parishes (73% of the County)
    Yorkshire index covers 170 parishes (22% of the County)

    The index is in 25 year periods by county. Sometimes there is a separate index for male and female entries, sometimes a single index.

    A typical entries in the index are as follows:

    Index - 1776 - 1800 Men Northumberland
    1776 Bainbridge Jn & An Huchinson N'cle A.S.
    Index - 1751 - 1775 Men Northumberland
    1775 Bainbridge Ralf & Eunice Wite Alston

    These entries would also be listed in the female Northumberland index under Huchinson and Wite

    Note all entries are spelt phonetically thus:

    White = Wite
    Scott = Skot
    Dickson = Dixon
    Thompson = Tomson


    Ann = An
    John = Jn
    James = Jas
    William = Wm
    Margaret = Mgt
    Charles = Chas

    Example of use
    You have found a baptism entry in All Saints Parish Register, Newcastle as follows:

    "1805 Ann (born Nov 30) 5 dau of John Bainbridge, pitman of Washington, Durham by his wife Hannah dau of Wm Stephenson, yeoman of Simonburn"
    Using the 1776-1800 Boyd's index you look up John Bainbridge and Hannah and find:
    1794 Bainbridge Jn & Han Stephenson Ncle A.S.
    Looking up this entry in the All Saints, Newcastle Parish Register gives:
    John Bainbridge & Hannah Stephenson both of this parish were married by banns 3rd March 1794
    Boyd's marriage index is a very useful tool but it's limitation is the limited number of parishes covered. A very useful extension to the index, however, is available for the parishes of Northumberland, Durham and North Yorkshire not covered by Boyd's Marriage index has been set up online by Paul Joiner of the Cleveland, South Durham and North Yorkshire Family History Society. You can find Paul's index of marriages here.

    Probate Records

    Probate records are wills. Once the maker of the will has died his/her executor/s must take the will to the local Archdeacon's Office, the Bishop's Court or either the Prerogative Courts of York or Canterbury and have the will 'proved'. A copy was made of the will into a register and a fee was generally charged for this. In some cases where the executor was reluctant to pay this fee the will was still deposited but was then known as an 'unregistered' will - equally valid in law. In general the more wealthy the deceased, the higher the court asked to prove the will. Once proved the executor must carry out the bequests made in the will. Wills can be a valuable source to the genealogist since they need to identify the beneficiaries.

    All wills proved since 1858 are kept at the principle Probate Registry, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2. In addition either the original will or a copy will be kept at the district Probate Registry which you can find by looking it up in telephone books. Scottish wills may be found at the Scottish Record Office, PO Box 36 H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland.

    For wills of an earlier date normally you would look for them at the county record office. For Northumberland and Durham, look for wills earlier than 1858 at the Department of Palaeography, Durham University, Durham. For Yorkshire wills check at the Borthwick Institute, York or see http://archives.wyjs.org.uk/wills.htm

    To find a will check indexes at County Record Offices or at the Public Record Office.

    If a will was disputed then it was adjudicated by the Chancery Court.

    What you may discover:

    Children over the age of 14 (boys) and 12 (girls) could make wills to dispose of personal property until 1837.
    Lunatics, slaves and prisoners (other than debtors) could not make wills.
    Wives could not make wills except with the consent of their husband. Widows could make wills however.
    Traitors and suicides could not make wills, their property was confiscated by the state.
    Roman Catholics could not make wills from 1700. This law however gradually lapsed.

    Wills may be the only source of information available before the commencement of Parish Registers and can be invaluable in determining relationships as in the following example:

    Freemen, often mentioned in parish registers, were qualified apprentices or the sons of freemen. They had certain benefits such as toll exemptions, business protection and the vote. Freemen had to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown.

    Poll Books
    These were the equivalent of the modern electroal list. Guildmen and land owners could vote. The poll book of 1761 gives:

    Look for poll books in the Public Record Office and county record offices.

    Military Records
    For local militia, see country record offices for mustar lists. For other Army records, consult the Public Record Office. Army records date back to between 1642 and 1649 when the standing army was formed.

    To know the date of a particular war would be of use.

    Killed or wounded have been listed from 1799. A useful reference book is "A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army".

    Parliamentary Survey of Durham, 1647
    The Bishop of Durham, Thomas Morton, was a Royalist during the Civil War and had church lands sequestered, 'because of his attitude'. Parliament ordered a survey of it. The survey covers many large manors in Durham and gives genealogical description of the pennants. For example, "Mary wife of Robert Cooke deceased, one of the co-heirs and daughters of Robt Humble deceased." The Parliamentary survey of Durham was published by the Surtees Society in volumes 183 and 185.

    Records of Nonconformists
    Religious toleration was unknown in the UK before 1650. The law allowed Protestant dissenters after the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 and the Toleration Act of 1689. The Penal Laws against Roman Catholics were continued until 1827. Nonconformists kept parish registers similar to Church of England records. Quakers kept a birth register, rather than a baptism register. In 1754, only Church of England ministers could conduct marriage except for Quakers and Jews. In 1880, Nonconformists ministers were allowed to conduct burials in parish churchyards. In 1837, approximately 16,500 registers of Baptists, Congregational lists, Prespetrians, Wesleyans and Quakers were collected and held by the Registrar General. Theses are not in the Public Record Office. Jews and Roman Catholics would not part with their registers. All Quaker registers surrendered are indexed and a copy is available at the following address: The Society of Friends, Friends' s House, Euston Road, London NW1.

    Roman Catholics suffered religious persecution and few registers survived before 1829. Roman Catholic churches date from 1832. Roman Catholics were often recorded in parish register as, 'Papist'. For example, "1767 John of George Chapman Lartington born a Papist Dec 15th", Romaldkirk Bishops Transcripts, North Yorkshire.
    Recusant Rolls - Give names and residence of Nonconformist in August 1677, search for them at the country record office.
    Protestantion Oath Rolls - 1641 to 1642 - List people holding public office who were required to affirm loyalty to the Crown. These are often found in country record offices.

    Scottish Records Civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths started on 1st Jan 1855 In 1875 penalties were introduced for failing to register an event. (registration commenced in England and Wales on 1st July 1837 with penalties being introduced in 1872 for non-compliance). More details of use to the genealogist were required however.
    Births give the date and place of the parents marriage.
    Marriages include the names of both parents and the mother's maiden name rather than the father's name only.
    Deaths required the names of the parents of the deceased, the mother's maiden name and whether they were alive at the time the certificate was registered.


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