Parish Registers – more information

 
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Still to do

  • The transcriptions still need to be more thoroughly checked, and the insights from handwriting experts taken into account.
  • The data from the Parish Register transcriptions has been analysed and transferred into the TNG pages (under the People menu), and will now be part of the on-going process of improvement.

The full list of Parish Registers for Holywell-cum-Needingworth can be found here.

Many Parish Registers are now available on FreeReg, and there has been useful discussion of some of the issues involved in Reading and Transcribing Parish Registers on their site.

Legal Background

A very useful summary of the legislation relating to Parish Registers can be found here.
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Interesting aspects of the Parish Registers in general

Older Dates

From 1087 to 1155 the English year began on 1 January, and from 1155 to 1751 on 25 March (Lady Day). In 1752 it was moved back to 1 January.

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In England and Wales, the legal year 1751 was a short year of 282 days, running from 25 March to 31 December. 1752 began on 1 January. To align the calendar in use in England to that on the continent, the Gregorian calendar was adopted: and the calendar was advanced by 11 days: Wednesday 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday 14 September 1752. The year 1752 was thus a short year (355 days) as well.

The effect of this is that Registers for dates before 1752 will list events within years running from 25 March to 24 March. For the dates 25 March to 31 December inclusive this has no effect on how they are stored or presented on this website. However, using an example, 12 February listed under 1743 in the register is stored here as 12 Feb 1744, and often displayed as 12 Feb 1743/4. This is called the “double date” format.

As another example, 15 March 1715, near the end of the year in England, was 15 March 1716, near the beginning of the (next) year in Scotland (Scotland with much of Europe was following the new Gregorian Calendar from 1582). The unambiguous way of writing this date is 15 Feb 1715/6.

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The only Holywell-cum-Needingworth Parish Register that covers the 1752 date change can be found here. Further information about the date issue can be found here.

Very occasionally a date is entered in the registers in what seems to be double date form. In the example shown here it is March 4th 1697/8 towards the top right!

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In some years after 1752 the person making the entries in the registers seems to revert to the old pre-1752 start of year. In the example shown here burials for 1778 run from March 29th to March 16th. This seems to have happened from 1766 to 1780.

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Buried in woollen

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In one register (HP44/1/3/4 pages 51-58) there are entries at the back for burials in woollen, from 1678-80. This was according to the law of the time to support the wool industry.

The Burial in Woollen Acts 1666-80 were Acts of Parliament which required the dead to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles. It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool.

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Double Entry

Besides mistakes, there are three contexts in which events are recorded twice in our Parish Registers.

  • One of the registers (HP44/1/3/4) seems to be a rough book in which entries were made chronologically, and these were transferred into another register (HP44/1/1/1) where they were entered by category.
  • This same rough register (HP44/1/3/4) has entries at the back for burials in woollen, and these were also entered into the other register (HP44/1/1/1) as plain burials.
  • One of the registers (HP44/1/3/1) has banns for 1813-1822 recorded towards the end, but the corresponding marriages were entered into another register (HP44/1/3/2).

In all these cases the events appear in both transcriptions identically, as the information from both entries has been combined.
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Month Abbreviations

Sometimes months are given as numbers, for example 7r. However this is not the modern month number – it stands for September (the Latin for 7 is septem).

Similarly 8r is October (Latin for 8 is octo), 9r is November (Latin for is novem), Xr is December (Latin for 10 or X is decem). [Note that I have no authority for this, it is just something I have surmised from this evidence.]

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Letter representation

In some of the older Parish Registers there are quite a few ways of representing letters that are unfamiliar to modern eyes. For example:

  • Ff is used to show F (indeed double letters quite often seem to replace single letters and vice versa)
  • ~ (a line or tilde above the word) is used to show m or n
  • ye is used to show the (for more on this and why it is not pronounced ye see here)
  • a long f (without the cross bar) is used to show s
  • : or a superscript are used to indicate an abbreviation
  • e can often look like an o
  • Vid is often used for Widow

You can see examples of some of these below:
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For more on reading old handwriting (palaeography) see:

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Other items

Besides the Christenings, Marriages and Burials that make up the majority of the extant Parish Registers for Holywell-cum-Needingworth, there are various other items in some of the Registers. These are included in the transcriptions, and listed here.

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Date ranges for each Parish Register

Type
Dates
DocRef
Pages
ImagesNoteTrans-
cription
Baptisms
1667-
1745
HP44/1/1/1
pp 7-34
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Baptisms
1695-
1706
HP44/1/4/1
pp 1-15
Composite Registers 1695-1706This register is in free form, and many entries are replicated in HP44/1/1/1.Composite Registers 1695-1706
Baptisms
1746
HP44/1/1/1
p 5
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Baptisms
1747
HP44/1/1/2
p 1
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Baptisms
1748-
1812
HP44/1/1/2
p 2-29
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Baptisms
1813-
1858
HP44/1/2/1
All
Baptisms Register 1813-1858This register is on prepared forms.Baptisms Register 1813-1858
Baptisms
1858-
1912
HP44/1/2/2
All
Baptisms Register 1858-1912This register is on prepared forms.Baptisms Register 1858-1912
Marriages
1667-
1742
HP44/1/1/1
pp 35-47
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Marriages
1695-
1706
HP44/1/4/1
pp 1-15
Composite Registers 1695-1706This register is in free form, and many entries are replicated in HP44/1/1/1.Composite Registers 1695-1706
Marriages
1742-
1746
HP44/1/1/1
pp 2-3
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Marriages
1747
HP44/1/1/2
p 1
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Marriages
1748-
1754
HP44/1/1/2
pp 31-34
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Marriages
1754-
1812
HP44/1/3/1
All
Marriages Register 1754-1812This register is on prepared forms.Marriages Register 1754-1812
Marriages
1813-
1837
HP44/1/3/2
All
Marriages Register 1813-1837This register is on prepared forms.Marriages Register 1813-1837
Marriages
1837-
1963
HP44/1/3/3
All
Marriages Register 1837-1963This register is on prepared forms. Note that entries for less than 84 years ago are not published here, as anyone married 84 years ago aged 16 would have been born only 100 years ago.Marriages Register 1837-1963
Burials
1667-
1742
HP44/1/1/1
pp 48-72, 75
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Burials
1678-1680
& 1704
HP44/1/4/1
pp 51-59
Composite Registers 1695-1706This register is in free form, and these "Burials in woollen" are at the back. Many of these entries are replicated in HP44/1/1/1.Composite Registers 1695-1706
Burials
1695-
1706
HP44/1/4/1
pp 1-15
Composite Registers 1695-1706This register is in free form, and many entries are replicated in HP44/1/1/1.Composite Registers 1695-1706
Burials
1743-
1746
HP44/1/1/1
p 4
Composite Registers 1667-1746This register is in free form and starts with Baptisms on page 7, then Marriages from page 35, and Burials from page 48. The last year or two's entries have been added into pages 1-5.Composite Registers 1667-1746
Burials
1747
HP44/1/1/2
p 1
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Burials
1748-
1811
HP44/1/1/2
pp 39-68
Composite Registers 1747-1812This register is in free form and starts with everything for 1747 on page 1. Then it has Baptisms from page 2, Marriages from page 31, and Burials from page 39.Composite Registers 1747-1812
Burials
1813-
1901
HP44/1/4/2
All
Burials Register 1813-1901This register is on prepared forms.Burials Register 1813-1901
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