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, March 20, 2013

Wisdom Wednesday: UK Jurisdictions

If you use www.maps.familysearch.org , you can see an English village’s 1851 jurisdictions or in other words, the areas where a level of government or the church has authority. The first lesson in a series called ‘England Beginning Research’ at www.familysearch.org explains the meanings. Access this video by clicking the ‘Learn’ button on the home page, click ‘England’ in the left column and find the fifteen minute lesson.

The presenter, Margo McKinstry helpfully divides the possible jurisdictions into two groups, civil and church. In the example above the town of Swaffham is in the county of Norfolk. A county is a civil jurisdiction. England was divided into 40 counties until a major realignment in 1974. After 1837, births, marriages and deaths were recorded by the government and not the Church of England so each parish in the country was assigned to a ‘civil registration district.’ Swaffham is a medium sized market town and was grouped together with several of its smaller neighbors into the Swaffham Registration District.
The Civil Parish is the smallest form of local government and the center of English community life. In some cases, it has little relation to an ecclesiastical parish. A civil parish can consist of part of, one entire, or more than one ecclesiastical parish. There can also be villages or hamlets within a parish.

The Church of England provided leadership in religious and civic matters for centuries. Some of the divisions of the COE directly impact genealogy so here are the church jurisdictions. The country is divided into two provinces – Canterbury and Kent, each overseen by an Archbishop. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the Anglican Church. 
A diocese was the next smallest division of a province and was headed by a bishop. It was made up of several smaller areas called archdeaconries. An archdeacon headed this union of several rural deaneries which each contained a number of ecclesiastical parishes. The parish clerks sent copies of their registers to both the head of the diocese and the archdeaconry, thus creating Bishop’s Transcripts (BTs) and Archdeacon’s Transcripts (ATs).

The ecclesiastical parish of Swaffham, Norfolk is in the province of Canterbury, in the diocese of Norwich, in the archdeaconry of Norfolk in the rural deanery of Cranwich.

No comments:

Post a Comment