View Full Version : Alternative sources to Parish registers?

07-09-2013, 12:43 PM
What other sources can you recommend, other than wills, for identifying the maiden names of wives when the parish marriage register (of Bardfield Saling, Essex) for the period 1713-1790 is missing and assumed deceased and unlikely to be resuscitated?

I'm pretty new to the early Georgian period so, any good books about useful documents, or recommended websites would be appreciated!


07-09-2013, 1:32 PM
Usually the first alternative to consider would be Bishop's Transcripts. They don't always survive, but in theory they are an exact copy of the register, produced each year for submission to the diocesan authorities. However, having checked, I see that there are virtually none surviving for Essex for that period.

Some parishes had transcripts of their registers published 100 years or more ago - worth looking into in case the registers went missing more recently than that? For many counties there are also Phillimore's transcripts of marriage registers, but without checking, I can't tell you whether this covers Bardfield Saling. There are also Boyd's Marriage Index and Pallot's Marriage Index - I think both are online somewhere, but I can't remember where. And again, I don't know details of the coverage, or whether they might have been produced when the registers were still around.

You could also try marriage licences and the associated paperwork (bonds & allegations). These were issued either by the officials of various diocesan bodies (or occasionally other local bodies - "peculiars"), or by central church authorities such as the Faculty Office and the Vicar General. Records for the local ones are likely to be in the diocean record office, but as Essex was in the Diocese of London, you might also need to check with the LMA. The Faculty Office and Vicar General licences are at Lambeth Palace Library.

Not all couples married by licence, so these won't tell you everything, but they ought to help a bit. A lot of the indexes to licences have been published, both in book form and online, and record offices sometimes have their own unpublished index too.


Sue Mackay
07-09-2013, 2:16 PM
The Genealogist has the following:
Bardfield Saling St Peter & St Paul, Essex Baptisms 1561-1732
Bardfield Saling St Peter & St Paul, Essex Burials 1561-1713
Bardfield Saling St Peter, Essex Marriages 1694-1735
Bardfield Saling, Essex Marriages 1561-1733

07-09-2013, 2:53 PM
Thanks, I will have a look at the Genealogist, but I wonder if they are just taken from SEAX's list of registers, which at first glance appear to cover the time period. It's only when you look at the actual register (images through SEAX) that you realise that the actual register do not actually contain the marriages! And a large chunk of baptisms, and I assume burials are missing between 1712 and 1743.

I can get around the births and baptism with the wills that I have ordered, and the fact that two of the children, dying in adulthood had their parents listed as Abraham & Mary OWERS when buried. Another son, born in 1745 was baptised 1775, naming his parents Abraham & Mary OWERS.

Of the three children baptised 1706-1710 at Bardfield (Little) Saling born to Abraham & Elizabeth OWERS, one married at Great Saling in 1734 (the marriage register for Great Saling prior to 1734 also missing from SEAX) , but the other two children I suspect married at Bardfield (Little) Saling about 1730-1735.

I'll see if I can locate Boyds or Phillamore's marriage indexes to check Coverage, but I don't think the coverage of Essex was that good.

I believe my ancestor John Owers was also the son of Abraham & Mary OWERS, born about 1745, so if I can find a missing baptism register, then it would be a bonus!

07-09-2013, 3:25 PM
I believe BOYD's is on FMP, but I can not see a way to search Boyd's selectively. But searching FMPs Parish Marriage's on Saling Little, you have to put a surname in, otherwise it won't search, so you can not find out what the real gap in the marriages is. By putting in the name OWERS with varients checked, it gives me a gap between Abraham marrying Elizabeth RUFFLE in 1705 and Abraham marrying Susan WIPPS in 1767, when I am sure there were more!

07-09-2013, 3:35 PM
Actually the Marriages on FMP (which I assume is Boyds) which I missed earlier as it is under Saling Little instead of the correct name of either Little Saling or Bardfield Saling (I'm getting so confused with Bardfield Saling, Little Saling, Great Bardfield and Great Saling!)

The marriages listed between 1761 and 1800 could all be children that were born in the 1730-1750 period whose baptisms I can not find! So it is proving useful anyway!

07-09-2013, 4:09 PM
Sue, Looking at the Genealogist, the only essex marriage register I could find was

Online access to our Essex Parish Records (Marriages unless otherwise stated).

Volume 1: Ashdon 1557-1812, Boxted 1559-1837, Great Horksley 1538-1836, Little Horksley 1568-1835, Navestock 1538-1812, Wormingford 1559-1837; Volume 2: Chelmsford 1539-1770; Volume 3: Chelmsford 1771-1837, Widford 1619-1837, Writtle 1634-1837; Volume 4: Great Leighs 1560-1837, Little Leighs 1680-1837, Roxwell 1559-1837, Walthamstow 1650-1837;

This product uses credits for viewing images/full records (see panel on right for details of viewing credits included).

And this was available on a 30 day, 90 day and 1 year subscription.

All the other parish registers look as though you have to subscribe for a full year , but it is not clear which subscription package is required to cover the parish registers of Bardfield Saling and whether they are original scanned images, transcripts or just indexes.

If you have a subscription to the Genealogist, would you please be able to check the parish register of Bardfield Saling to see if the ones that says they cover marriages from 1712 to 1733 and 1735, actually do contain marriages to those dates? As I already have full subscriptions to Ancestry and FMP, I don't really want to take out a full years subscription to The Genealogist if there are no marriages at all , although the other parish registers may be useful to me. I can not see any options to take out a month's subscription, or a trial subscription like at Ancestry.

07-09-2013, 5:48 PM
arthurk, as far as I can tell, Phillimore doesn't cover Essex according to http://ukga.org/Registers/ but another site says it covers 14 Essex parishes. Pallot's marriage index only covers the period 1780-1837, and even during that period, is mainly for London, but does seem to cover Cambridge and some parishes of Essex, but I can't seem to find a comprehensive list of parishes it covers!

Ancestry has Pallots's marriage index, and searching Owers only gives me Chelmsford & Great Leighs hits from the late 1700s and early 1800s, which is too late ( and I already have all the Great leighs entries from previous research).

So it looks like it will be down to "The Genealogist" and the 5 wills I have ordered.

07-09-2013, 5:59 PM
I just realised that the Genealogist has a free 14 day trial ,so will give it a shot!

edited to say I have started free trial. I have now found that the "parish registers" are not actual parish registers but transcripts of parish registers, but still better than no parish registers!

edited to say that I have just searched their "Transcripts of the Bardfield Saling parish Registers " for marriages 1720 +/- 20 years, and came up with just the one marriage I already had Abraham OWERS to Elizabeth RUFFLE in 1705!

So no...the Genealogist doesn't have any more than SEAX, who have the original registers!

07-09-2013, 6:14 PM
And searching Bardfield Saling for baptisms 1730 +/- 20 years came up with just one OWERS who I had, baptised in 1710.

So again, no more than SEAX. And again, like FMP, you can not search without putting in a name, to get a general list of batisms or marriages in the parish to see the actual gap.

07-09-2013, 7:12 PM

I've also been through Genealogist looking for Owers in Essex.

There are 2 options to search:
Parish Records (printed Books)
Parish Records (transcripts)

I did the search without dates, just Owers and Essex:
- out of 62 baps, only 2 for B/Saling
- 26 marriages, again 2 for B/Saling
- 40 burials and all for Aythorpe Roding
As you say, there is nothing there for you.

You haven't yet mentioned this 1 marriage!!
John Owers and Ester Taylor
24 May 1698 Bardfield Saling, St Peter.


07-09-2013, 7:57 PM
Thanks Rebecca, I had already found the marriage for John (who I believe is Abraham's brother). I have subscription for SEAX, so have access to all the original parish registers that have been scanned, which is the majority of the parish registers. The later, non-conformist registers are yet to be scanned.

The parish in question Bardfield or Little Saling, appears to have a perfectly kept register until 1712, so I have had no problems with locating the 2 marriages and 3 baptisms prior to 1712. But then there are no entries till 1719, where only one baptism is entered in the register, then there are no entries untll 1732, when again, only one baptism entry is made. There has been no separate marriage register scanned, the one on SEAX listed as a baptism, marriage and burial register from 1743 is wrongly labelled because it has one erroneous marriage by licence entered in 1751, apart from that one marriage entry, the rest of the register is baptisms and burials to 1788 /1790.

So that is why I am stuck! The neighbouring parish of Great Saling also has a marriage register missing, and I'm trying to work out if te same Curate was responsible for both parishes. The register of Great Saling which has marriages from 1712-1743 is actually a copy of an early register which hasn't been scanned (a note made by the new curate when copying across some of the baptisms highlighting mistakes made in earlier register brought my attention to the fact this was a copy!)

So, I have sent an Email to Essex record office to ask for confirmation, but the fact that The Genealogist is propagating the misinformation that marriages exist for this period for Bardfield Saling is worrying! This is the problem of Transcripts and indexes that cover a blanket period which do not specify gaps in coverage.

08-09-2013, 12:12 PM
Doh....I think I have partly solved the problem. I keep forgetting to check the marriage index on FMP! There is a John OWERS who married Fran ALLISTON in 1725 at Stebbing (John would have been 17) and Abraham OWERS married Mary SUCKLING at Stebbing in 1732!

So it is quite possible, and very probable that this is the John OWERS and Abraham OWERS that I was expecting to have been married at Bardfield (Little) Saling whose marriage register is lost and baptisms is sketchy.

I'm just hoping that their children were baptised at Stebbing, so i'm off to have a look now.

Stebbing was only about 1 and a half miles away from Bardfield (Little) Saling!

08-09-2013, 12:26 PM
Yep, it's all starting to fall into place now. I had previously transcribed all Stebbing OWERS entries from 1735! And indeed John & Frances were having their children baptised there from 1735 to 1742 when John was buried at Stebbing, but John's will dated 1742 said he was a yeoman of Bardfield Saling which confused me, as I couldn't find his burial at Bardfield Saling.

But Abraham & Mary don't appear to have had their children baptised at either Stebbing or Bardfield (Little) Saling, and the Youngest sibling Richard doesn't appear to have had his children baptised between 1734 and 1745 either.

23-09-2013, 1:06 PM
I have finally received my batch of wills, and fortunately they have helped to fill in some of the missing gaps.

John OWERS who died in 1742 named his wife Elizabeth, daughter in law Francis OWERS, married daughter Esther LEWSEY, unmarried daughter Sarah OWERS and about 5 of his grand children.

Abraham OWERS who died in 1760, was indeed the father of eldest son Abraham OWERS (born 1706) and youngest son Richard OWERS (born 1710) but also named a daughter Elizabeth wife of Clement BOREHAM...so she was probably born during the period the register was poorly kept between 1712 -1719. The fact that he didn't mention his other son John (born 1708) or any children from John suggests he had died (probably during the period 1712-1743 when the register was poorly kept or lost) He also named his cousin John LEWSEY of Stebbing.

and both Abraham's sons provide very descriptive wills.

Abraham in 1779 names his wife Mary and lists his children: James, Abraham, John, Richard, Elizabeth, Jane, Esther & Mary and also one grandchild Ester WHIPPS. Of those 8 children only one baptism was found (as an adult!)

and Richard in 1766 names his wife Elizabeth and his children: Richard, Elizabeth, Mary, John, Abraham, James & Clement.

So I can be pretty certain my John OWERS who married Elizabeth BOREHAM (father of Abraham OWERS b.1780) is either son of Abraham or Son of Richard....I just need to work out which one!

Peter Goodey
23-09-2013, 2:28 PM
parish marriage register (of Bardfield Saling, Essex) for the period 1713-1790 is missing

But the SEAX catalogue specifically shows, among other...

Register of Marriages 1743 1751 D/P 297/1/2

You don't expect a catalogue to show all the gaps but this is a specific unique catalogue entry and would hardly be there if they didn't have it!

23-09-2013, 3:49 PM
But the SEAX catalogue specifically shows, among other...

Register of Marriages 1743 1751 D/P 297/1/2

You don't expect a catalogue to show all the gaps but this is a specific unique catalogue entry and would hardly be there if they didn't have it!

But they are not unique catalogue entries as in unique registers. Each composite register has been given a code as in D/P 297/1/2 and this code applies to the Baptism,Marriage and Burial register, but when they created the catalogue, they decide to create individual links for baptisms, marriages and burials seperately, even though each link takes you back to the same register!!

It is down to the individual to then go through the register and find which pages contain the baptism, marriages or burials. Some registers are nicely ordered, some are not.

I have been working with the people at SEAX, informing them of missing parts of registers, parts where I have found marriages that appear to be missing (i.e. not in the catalogue) because they are sandwiched randomly between baptisms so they can update their catalogue descriptions.

23-09-2013, 3:59 PM
But for that register in particular (D/P 297/1/2 ) SEAX did inform me "In D/P 297/1/2 if you look at Image 3 you will see that amongst the baptisms and burials there are two marriages in 1744. On Image 4 there are marriage entries for 1746 and 1748 and in Image 5 there is the marriage entry which you noticed for 1751"

And although the front of the register did say Baptisms & Burials, inside, squeezed in amongst the baptisms & burials was indeed the 4 additional marriages I hadn't noticed.

I also had confirmation from them that the Great Saling register for 1712-1743 is completely missing, and I suspect the same curate may have been in charge of both parishes.