Findmypast is home to over 570 million parish records, the largest online collection of UK and Irish births, marriages and deaths anywhere. Our resident expe...
Findmypast is home to over 570 million parish records, the largest online collection of UK and Irish births, marriages and deaths anywhere. Our resident expe...
Findmypast is home to over 570 million parish records, the largest online collection of UK and Irish births, marriages and deaths anywhere. Our resident expe...
Findmypast is home to over 570 million parish records, the largest online collection of UK and Irish births, marriages and deaths anywhere. Our resident expe...

With over 570 million parish records, Findmypast is home to the largest collection of UK and Irish births, marriages and deaths anywhere.

Search the parish records

To help you make use of these amazing resources, we asked our British genealogy expert, Myko Clelland, to do a how-to webinar about parish records. It really is worth watching the whole thing, but if you don't have time to watch full webinar, check out these 15 quick tips contained within.

There are many more tips and in-depth explanation contained in the whole webinar, which you can watch below:

We also rounded up a few of the most common questions we received during the live Q&A session and put them to our resident experts:

1. Will I find my relative in the parish records?

The only way to know for sure is to search! Go to our parish records and start with a broad search, such as a name, with both "Name variants" boxes ticked, and a date +or- a few years. From there you can narrow down the results by area etc.

2. Why can't I find my relative in the parish records?

There could be several reasons for this, including:

  1. They could have been nonconformists, such as Methodists, in which case you might find them in one of our other record sets.
  2. Our parish records date as far back as 1538. The handwriting and language of older records can be very hard to decipher, especially seeing as spelling wasn't standardized in an era of poor literacy. In this case, try searching with wildcards. For example, try Fin* for the surname Finnimore or R* for Richard.
  3. With marriages, consider that some people lived together as man and wife without getting married. It was only in 1908 when the Pensions Act was brought in that many couples needed to document their marriage to get a full pension. Try looking for a much later wedding date, when they're in their late 50's.

3. Which parishes does Findmypast cover?

You can view a list of our exclusive county collections here. We also have tons of other family society records covering a variety of counties. Have a look in our A-Z of records search to see what's available.

4. What's the difference between a marriage licence and a marriage certificate?

People had to pay for a licence. Poorer people could opt to be married by Banns after their intention to marry was announced by the local parson on three consecutive Sundays. The certificate was simply written proof an official marriage had taken place.

5. I'm having trouble deciphering an old record. Where can I find help?

Why not try posting it on our Facebook page and our community can take a look - you'd be surprised what a fresh pair of eyes can do!

Explore our parish records

Continue learning

  1. Search guide: British & Irish parish records
  2. 15 quick tips for searching parish records
  3. Understanding parish records webinar and Q&A (you are here)
  4. Discovering Welsh roots in the parish records
  5. 5 must-know tips for searching Irish Catholic parish records

Strange but true: The cranky Reverend who wrote insults in his parish records