A guide to accessing Derbyshire Anglican church registers from 1538 online via Ancestry.
What are parish registers?
Parish registers have been, and still are, created by all Anglican churches. They record ceremonies of baptism, marriage and burial. Between 1538 and 1753 all ceremonies were recorded in the same register, usually, though not always, chronologically. From 1754, marriages were recorded in a separate pre-printed register, and from 1813, separate pre-printed registers were required for baptisms and burials as well. For many parishes from 1754 there are also banns registers that record the reading of banns for three weeks prior to a marriage ceremony taking place. The banns are read in the bride and groom’s parish not just the parish in which the ceremony is taking place.
Especially before the establishment of civil registration for births, marriages and deaths in 1837, the parish registers are the key source available to family historians.
Which parish registers are available on Ancestry?
Images of the original parish registers are arranged into four ‘record collections’ as follows:
- Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 (note: this only includes marriages to 1754)
- Derbyshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932
- Derbyshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1916
- Derbyshire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1991
In addition to these collections which have been provided in association with Derbyshire Record Office, there are also the following categories which do not include any images or refer to all entries in the original registers as they are transcripts from published sources:
- Derbyshire, England, Select Church of England Parish Registers 1538-1910 (similar to IGI)
- Derbyshire, England, Extracted Church of England Parish Records (taken from published sources including Phillimore’s Derbyshire parish registers: Marriages and Derbyshire Record Society’s Chesterfield Parish Register 1558-1600 and 1601-1635.
Searching the Derbyshire parish registers
You can search across all the records and categories available on Ancestry using the general search from the home page. Alternatively, if you know your ancestor was baptised, married or buried in Derbyshire, we recommend specifically searching the Derbyshire parish registers.
1. From the top menu, click ‘Search’ and then select ‘Card Catalog’:
2. In the title field, type Derbyshire, followed by the type of record you are searching for (i.e. baptisms, marriages or burials) and then click ‘Search’:
3. Select the collection covering the date range you wish to search:
From here you can then enter the details of the person you are searching for, including specifying a particular place, or just simply typing Derbyshire.
Alternatively, you can also browse a specific register without using the search facility at all – this is particularly useful if the search has not returned any relevant results but you are sure the event did take place in Derbyshire (unfortunately, it is never possible for the transcripts in the searches to be completely free from human error). To browse, select the parish name from the list on the right:
Once you have selected the parish name you are interested in, you then need to select the date range you wish to browse. Some of the date ranges do overlap, and you may find you need to check both. Particularly if the date range is very long, you may want skip ahead rather than clicking through each page one at a time. You can do this using the small tool at the bottom of the page and jumping ahead to a different page number (this may take a bit of guess work).
Unfortunately, many of the earlier registers are not arranged in an obvious chronological order and identifying the correct page is therefore awkward. In these cases we recommend browsing the register page-by-page until you find the correct date and entry type (i.e. baptism/marriage/burial).
Errors on the databases
Unfortunately, as thousands of registers were added across the four collections in one go, there have been some errors in the labelling on the Ancestry site. We have been meticulously working through each register on the four datasets to identify the errors so that Ancestry can correct them. Most of the errors are minor and concern the links for the ‘date ranges’ covered for each parish. However, some of the errors are much more significant as the register has been labelled up as the wrong place. The process of correcting the errors is taking much longer than we had anticipated, so please continue to bear with us. In the meantime, here is the list of post-1813 baptism registers that are mis-labelled:
|For Baptisms in the parish of …||see under …|
|Chesterfield, Christ Church (Stonegravels) 1876-1886||Holy Trinity (Stonegravels District) 1839-1886, pages 211-264|
|Chesterfield, St Augustine (formerly Iron Church) 1876-1896||Chesterfield St Mary and All Saints for baptisms 1876-1896|
|Chinley with Buxworth 1873-1916||Glossop 1874-1916|
|Cotmanhay and Shipley 1885-1904||Codnor 1881-1904, pages 109-263|
|Derby, St George (mission) 1886-1916||Derby St Luke|
|Derby, St Christopher 1903-1916||Derby, St Thomas 1903-1916|
|Derby, St Dunstan 1900-1904, 1907-1916||Derby, St James 1900-1904, 1907-1916|
|Derby, St Werburgh 1896-1916||Derby, St Osmund (Osmaston by Derby), pages 56-144|
|Eckington 1813-1832, 1869-1890||Derby, St Paul 1813-1890|
|Elton 1813-1861, 1862-1914||Etwall 1813-1861, 1862-1914|
|Handley 1871-1897||Staveley 1865-1897, pages 270-292|
|Hartington 1813-1900||Monyash 1813-1899, pages 1-106|
|Hatton 1886-1916||Marston on Dove 1887-1916|
|Hulland 1838-1896||Snelston 1838-1896|
|Long Eaton 1813-1852||Sawley 1813-1852|
|Osmaston by Ashbourne 1813-1901||Norbury 1813-1916, pages 109-162|
|Peak Dale 1890-1916||Wormhill 1891-1916|
|Renishaw 1887-1913||Eckington 1887-1913|
|Rosliston 1875-1916||Newhall 1833-1916, pages 1-35|
|Shirebrook 1844-1897||Staveley 1844-1897|
|Smalley 1813-1916||Longford 1813-1916, pages 159-end|
|Tansley 1840-1890||Middleton by Wirksworth 1840-1889, pages 68-121|
|Twyford 1852-1911||Barrow on Trent 1852-1911|
13 thoughts on “Derbyshire Parish Registers Online”
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THANK YOU so very much for agreeing to partner with Ancestry and digitizing the Derbyshire Parish Registers! I live in Canada and my family came from around Chesterfield, Derbyshire so being able to easily access these is amazing! I do have a question – my Widdison’s look to be baptized in 2 registers – Hasland Chesterfield All Saints and also in Heath in 1720/21, Do you have any idea why? Tome Widdison father of Bernard and Thomas in both.
Hi Lesley, this discrepancy has come about due to the errors that Nicholas has highlighted in his comments, i.e. that the Chesterfield register has inadvertently been identified on Ancestry as being the Heath register. The reason there are two entries is that for Chesterfield St Mary and All Saints covering the period in question, there is a register in Latin (this is the one incorrectly identified as Heath) and the other giving the same information in English. The same has happened for Thomas son of Robert Widdison junior on 7 November 1722. Please accept our apologies for the confusion caused – unfortunately, there is currently no quick easy way to be sure that Ancestry have identified the correct parish, but I would recommend checking the first few pages (using the “Go to Page” tool as in the image above) as that ought to have the parish name on a cover image or on the cover of the original register. You can also scroll through a few pages at a time until you reach the end of a register (but not necessarily the last page identified in the “Go to Page” tool) as usually the last inside page of the register will give you the original document reference number that you can then check in our online catalogue: https://calmview.derbyshire.gov.uk/CalmView/Advanced.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog
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One of the problems with the Derbyshire Parish Records on Ancestry is that some of the transcriptions have been attributed to the incorrect parish, probably because a number of parishes were included on the same microfilm when photographed by the Mormon church (LDS) some years ago, and this was not noticed when the microfilms were scanned. Hence, everything on the microfilm is attributed to the first parish thereon.
I know of a few of these errors, from my own research, but is there a comprehensive list anywhere?
Hi Nicholas, you are quite right, and it is something we have been incredibly frustrated by. One of my colleagues has been working for quite some time to identify every single one of these issues, diligently checking all 400+ years across all 400+ parishes so that we can advise Ancestry and get all the issues corrected. I appreciate that it is frustrating and that it has been this way for a long time, but please be assured it is something we are working on
Please don’t think that I am criticising the DRO, just stating what has occurred on Ancestry and how it might mislead researchers. I appreciate the methodical approach you are taking, but please don’t let the excellent become the enemy of the good; if you have a partial list of errors available (particularly when a whole register has been attributed to the wrong parish) could you make the list available as “work in progress”? The genealogical community might be able to help by offering the additional errors we have found.
Thanks Nicholas, I’m pleased you did point it out, as it is a real issue for family historians (and indeed anyone else) as you expect the information you find to be accurate – and as Lesley’s comment and my reply shows you might not always realise the error. You are quite right that it is important to get information out sooner rather than later given that getting it perfect is time consuming. It is quite difficult to share the current list of errors, certainly with the wider community using Ancestry as that will mean Ancestry making the changes – the original plan was to make the corrections in batches, but I’m afraid this didn’t come to pass. I’m hoping that with the current lockdown situation we will have more time to make good progress with this, and particularly I shall look into making the known errors list available via the blog. Of course this will only help the small number of people who come across the blog, though perhaps that is something I can follow up with Ancestry while we wait for the corrections themselves to be made. I shall keep everyone updated via the blog either way. Thanks again for raising this issue, it is always good to know people are reading the blog and using the records online, and we certainly do aim to be responsive to any feedback we receive. Best wishes, Becky
In the case of a parish being transferred into or out of Derbyshire from/to another county in the parish restructuring of 1897, will that parish be listed in its current or former county?
There is no hard and fast rule about this, in general the parish registers tend to be with the county record office where the parish is currently located. Our Parish Register Guide (www.derbyshire.gov.uk/site-elements/documents/pdf/leisure/record-office/parish-register-guide.pdf) gives a brief summary of Derbyshire parishes including those that are no longer in Derbyshire, and those that transferred to Derbyshire, along with a note about where the original registers are. It is also very useful for identifying which of the ancient parishes the new 19th century parishes were created from