Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Finding Nonconformist Records

By the mid-1800s, non-conformity reached the height of its popularity in England. In fact, in the 1851 Religious Census described in a previous post, I neglected to detail the interesting results. About half the population attended church on census Sunday, and of those who did attend, half went to a non-conformist service.

As civil registration was beginning, the non-Anglicans wanted there BMDs to be recognized as equal to those rites celebrated in the Church of England. In 1837 and again in 1858, a commission was appointed to study the non-Anglican registers.  The protestant non-conformists cooperated with the commission and submitted over 6000 registers. After being inspected and accepted, they became legal documents. They were transferred to the Public Records Office, Kew, now part of the National Archives. The LDS Family History Library has microfilmed almost all of them.

To learn more about nonconformist records, try the familysearch.org wiki:


To view images of nonconformist records, go to www.BMDregisters.co.uk, a pay-per-view site run by www.thegenealogist.co.uk in association with the National Archives.

Note: The registers are catalogued under the name of the congregation that submitted them. For example, if a minister remained with a congregation but changed affiliation from Wesleyan to Primitive Methodist, he might have kept the same register. It helps to know the history of the congregation to find the register.
Jews and Catholics did not respond to the commission.  Watch for information about the records of these two groups and the Quakers in a later post.

©2012, Susan Lewis Well

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