Parish Register copies – Microfilm, Fiche, Transcripts, Abstracts and Indexes

For this week’s 50 Marriage Mondays post, we go further back in time.  Back in 2001, I received some annotated charts and notes from a second cousin (cousin E).

Extract of annotated chart from cousin E - 26 March 2001

Extract of annotated chart from cousin E – 26 March 2001

Bride: Mary ?Diaper
Groom: Edmund Coulson
Date: 3 October 1750
The annotation indicates that the marriage occurred at Hitcham, Suffolk.

The date of this marriage precedes the commencement of English civil registration in 1837.  So, I turned to the parish register instead of seeking a marriage certificate to verify this information.  The Hitcham parish register for the 1740-1760 period is mixture baptism, marriages and burials squeezed on the pages in approximately sequential order.  The Bury St Edmunds branch of Suffolk Record Office makes this register available on microfiche, but unfortunately the relevant pages are scratched, faded and only partly legible.  I could discern just two marriages in 1750:

April 17th Robert Prick and Margarett _a_erman by Banns

22nd Edwar_ J___n & Rebrecca Lord by Banns

Faced with the legibility issues, I checked for copies or transcripts and found an abstract or index of the marriage register, inaccurately described as a transcript (exact copy).  The handwritten abstract, ‘Transcribed and presented to Ipswich Public Library by C Partridge’, is dated June 1931 and is available on microfilm at Bury St Edmunds.  It lists five marriages for 1750:

Prick, Rob. & Jackerman, Marg’t

Farding, Edw. & Lord, Reb.

Scott, James & Stewart, Brid.

Clover, James & Knock, Mary

Barton, Will. & Spark, Sar.

The first image on the microfilm tells me it was photographed by the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) (Suffolk Marriages Vol IX.  film no 035-8050-15-01, roll 43, volumes 378, 1600-1754, item 18, Vol D (1728-), p.267).  In theory the microfilm should be listed in the LDS catalogue on the FamilySearch website.  A transcript of Hitcham parish registers (BRITISH Film 991939 Items 17-18), is included but the film numbers do not match, so there may be more than one transcript.

Indexes are not always completely accurate as the originals may present palaeographic and legibility challenges.  Boyd’s Marriage Index, (available online at findmypast), was compiled between 1925 and 1955 from Bishop’s Transcripts (copies of parish registers sent to the diocese at regular intervals).  A search of this index turns up a marriage between Edmund Coulson and Mary Diaper in 1750 at Buxhall.  The original Buxhall parish registers have been microfilmed and indexed by the LDS, so the marriage also turns up on FamilySearch.

So, cousin E’s annotation regarding the location was wrong.  I am now happy to conclude that the marriage took place at Buxhall, not Hitcham, but should still check at least the microfilm of the parish register if not the original.  Along the way I have accessed copies of parish registers in several different forms – microfiche, microfilm of a handwritten abstract, published index, and online index.

One Comment on “Parish Register copies – Microfilm, Fiche, Transcripts, Abstracts and Indexes”

  1. […] Parish Register copies – Microfilm, Fiche, Transcripts, Abstracts and Indexes […]


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