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Thomas Cromwell ordered that Parish Registers be kept from 1538 to record baptisms, marriages and burials. Originally the parish registers were written on paper but, in 1598, parchment registers were introduced.
Researchers should remember that baptisms may occur years after birth and that there may be gaps in the recorded information during the Commonwealth period (1648-1660) as some ministers were ejected from their parishes.
From 1813 pre-printed registers were used which recorded information in a more standardised way. For baptisms both parents names were given as was their abode and the occupation of the father in addition to the name of the child and the date of the baptism (before 1813 baptism it was common only to record the fathers name and the name of child and date of baptism). Until 1813 the burial registers provided just the name of the deceased, thereafter their age and place of residence were usually included.
From 1754 marriage registers began to record the abode of the bride and groom (up until that date only their names tended to be recorded). In 1837 further changes were made when information on the partners age and occupation was recorded in addition to the name and occupation of the father of both parties.
Until 1929 girls aged 12 and boys aged 14 could get married.
The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers (2003) which is available in most large libraries shows the pre-1832 parishes.
We have archives from 1538 to date, with a number of gaps.
Sheffield Archives, 52 Shoreham Street.
We strongly advise that you book a fiche reader in advance of your visit. There is normally no need to book if you are intending only to see post 1900 registers.
We can normally supply copies for private study purposes, subject to the usual copyright regulations. Please contact us for further information.
Most of the pre-1900 registers are only available on microfiche. Post 1900 are usually original volumes.