Source Information

Ancestry.com. Devon, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2021.
Original data: Devon Anglican Parish Registers. Taunton, Somerset, England: Indexes created from Anglican Parish Registers held at South West Heritage Trust.

About Devon, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

General Collection Information

This collection includes Church of England parish indexes of registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials between 1538 and 1812 from the historical county of Devon, England.

Parish records—primarily baptisms, marriages, and burials—were the first sets of vital records kept. Before civil registration began in 1837, key events in a person’s life were typically recorded by the church, rather than the government. Dating back to the 16th century, parish records have become some of the longest running records available.

Using this Collection

This collection includes the following details:

Baptisms

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Baptism date
  • Baptism place
  • Names of parents
  • Father’s occupation
  • Parish

Marriages

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Ages
  • Marriage date
  • Names of witnesses
  • Names of fathers
  • Residence
  • Parish

Burials

  • Name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Age
  • Burial date
  • Burial place
  • Parish

Parish records are some of the best resources you can use in tracing your family roots. These records were taken by church officials to mark important milestones in people’s lives. They often include information about other family members such as parents, making it easy to jump back an additional generation in your family tree with a single record.

History of the Collection

When Henry VIII established the Church of England, he mandated parishes to keep handwritten records of baptisms, marriages, and burials. Beginning in 1598, clergy were required to send copies of their parish registers to the bishop of their diocese. These copies are known as Bishop’s Transcripts and are useful in cases where original records are unreadable or no longer exist.

 

In 1812, George Rose’s Act called for pre-printed registers to be used for separate baptism, marriage, and burial registers as a way of standardising records.

Bibliography

Parishregister.co.uk. “A History of Parish Registers.” Last Modified 2021, https://parishregister.co.uk/about/history

“Use England Parish Registers To Research Ancestors Pre-1837.” Ancestry Blog. 11 April 2014. Accessed 16 February 2021. https://www.ancestry.com/corporate/blog/uk-parish-registers-and-you