Millions of Surrey records go online

By Jon Bauckham, 30 May 2013 - 4:09pm

More than 2.5 million parish records from Surrey are now available to explore on Ancestry.co.uk, enabling family historians to learn more about their forebears in the county as far back as the 16th century
 

Thursday 30 May 2013
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The burial record for author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - perhaps better known as Lewis Carroll - can be found in the parish register for St Mary, Guildford

More than 2.5 million historic parish records from Surrey are now available to explore on Ancestry.co.uk.

Launched this morning (30 May), the Surrey Parish Records, 1538-1987 collection provides details of baptisms, marriages and burials across the county as far back as the 16th century.

Each register has been fully transcribed, meaning that family historians can search for their ancestors by entering details such as name, spouse, parents, date and parish. Once a relevant record has been located, users can also click through to view and download a scan of the page on which the entry appears.

Already, analysis of the records has revealed trends that put the people of Surrey into a wider historical context. A closer look at data for 1915 shows that over a thousand more couples married than during the previous year – a spike probably caused by men keen to tie the knot before leaving to fight in the Great War.

Crucially, however, the fact that many of the records predate the systematic recording of births, marriages and deaths from 1837 means that genealogists may be able to take their family tree back further than ever before.

The release is the result of a partnership between Ancestry.co.uk and Surrey History Centre, where the original parish registers are held. Now that the records have been digitised, researchers from overseas will no longer need to travel to learn more about the lives of their Surrey kin.

"We are delighted that Ancestry.co.uk is helping us to make Surrey's records so widely accessible for research," says Surrey History Centre's Julian Pooley.

“Thousands of people contact us each year seeking Surrey ancestors because they feel a need to understand their history, their family heritage, their place in their community. 

"The discovery of these roots is more than simple genealogical number-crunching; it teaches new research skills, it brings scattered families together and makes new friends and it increases knowledge and awareness of the communities we live in.”

 
take it further

► Explore the Surrey Parish Records, 1538-1987 collection at www.ancestry.co.uk

► To mark the launch of the collection, Surrey History Centre is holding a free open day event on Saturday 6 July. Staff from Ancestry.co.uk will be on hand to answer questions about the records, as well as experts from several local family history societies. For more information and to book a place, phone 01483 518737 or email shs@surreycc.gov.uk 

 

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