Over 2.6 million Bristol parish records added to Ancestry

By Rosemary Collins, 6 September 2019 - 3:51pm

The collection of baptism, marriage and burial records spans four centuries of the port city's history

Bristol history
Bristol's riverfront in 1830 with three church spires - St Stepney, St Augustine and the Cathedral (Credit: Rischgitz/ Getty Images))

A comprehensive new collection of historic parish registers from the city of Bristol has been launched on family history website Ancestry.

More than 2.6 million baptism, banns, marriage and burial records and 322,000 pages of images have now been digitised from registers held in Bristol Archives.

Senior archivist Jo Vietzke said: “People from all over the world will now have access to them at the click of a mouse.

"Hopefully this means that the access to the registers will increase significantly.

"That’s something that we are really excited about.”

Parish records are a crucial family history resource.

Ancestry subscribers can search the indexed records and view the original images, allowing them to see new details and in some cases view their ancestors’ signatures.

Baptism records reveal the date and place of your ancestor’s baptism (usually close to their date of birth), the names of their parents and their mother’s maiden name.

Marriage records include the date of the marriage and the names and marital statuses of the spouses, together with their fathers’ names and occupations.

Burial records include the date of burial in addition to the age of the deceased.

The records date from 1538, when parish register-keeping was first introduced, to 1994 for death records.

They are available in different collections arranged by date.

Russell James, family history and DNA expert at Ancestry, said that the records “shed light on over 450 years’ worth of family history in one of the UK’s busiest cities”.

Ancestry will expand its Bristol collection with a set of nonconformist baptism, marriage and burial records, due by January 2020.

There has been a settlement at Bristol since the 9th century.

The city has been a bustling port for hundreds of years, although it also has a controversial legacy from its role in the slave trade.

Its population grew from 66,000 to 333,000 in the 19th century.

The names of many of the famous people who have passed through Bristol throughout the years can be found in the collection.

Agatha Christie marriage
The records include bestselling novelist Agatha Christie's marriage record from 1914 (top of page)

hey include the marriage record for bestselling mystery novelist Agatha Christie.

Under her maiden name Agatha Miller, she married her first husband, Colonel Archibald Christie, at Emmanuel Church on Christmas Eve 1914.

The couple were separated during the First World War while Archibald served in the Royal Air Force and Agatha worked as a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment.

However, after the war their marriage became unhappy.

In 1926 Agatha famously disappeared for 11 days after her husband told her he was having an affair and wanted a divorce.

She was found staying at a hotel under a pseudonym.

The records also include the 1902 baptism of Allen Lane, founder of Penguin Books.



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