Sunday, November 30, 2014

FamilySearch - English datasets

The main article in this month's Who Do You Think You Are magazine concerns FamilySearch.

The article, written by Sharon Hintze of the London Family History Centre, highlights some startling figures

  • 3.2 billion records in total on the FamilySearch website
  • 100,000 volunteer transcribers
  • 4,700 Family History Centres around the world.

The vast majority of these records - 3 billion of the total 3.2 billion - relate to the USA, which indicates that USA records are particularly strong, as are those for the UK (see below).  A particularly large ongoing American project is being undertaken to catalogue obituaries in newspapers.  However, despite the huge numbers of records online, it is estimated that only 7% of the total available records have been digitised. The undigitised records can be viewed at any of the LDS Family History Centres around the world.

For England and Wales the 1841-1891 census returns are available online, as are about 50 datasets (listed below), some county based (such as for Cheshire) and some are thematic, such as BMD records. The total for England alone comes to 688,707,267 records, with the single largest dataset being the birth registration index with over 132,000,000 records.

Scotland also has the same census returns and a large collection of BMDs from Scottish parish registers.  In Ireland the most popular records on FamilySearch are the civil registration indexes.  In Ireland some of the BMD certificates have been microfilmed and can be seen at the local Family History Centres.

And, unlike payment websites such as Ancestry or Findmypast, all this data is for free!

The reason that FamilySearch is free is that it is sponsored by the Church of the Latter Day Saints (sometimes known as The Mormons - after The Book of Mormon - or LDS Church). Family history is supported by the LDS Church for two main reasons, the first is theological and the second is that the Church is very family orientated and so it is promoting family history as a 'lifelong involvement for family members of all ages' (to quote the WDYTYA article).

I have listed the current FamilySearch English datasets below and I am entering them into the Family History Records Online website ( At the same address for FamilySearch - - there are also a large number of collections that haven't been indexed yet but which can be viewed as images to scroll through.

The useful WDYTYA overview article on FamilySearch has the following sections:

  • The World of Family Search
  • 10 Steps To Get The Most Out Of FamilySearch's Family Tree
  • How To Find Relevant Records on
  • 5 reasons You Should Visit the FamilySearch Research Wiki
  • 12 Countries Worth Visiting on Family Search
  • Why You Should Visit the London Family History Centre

Note: These are the current indexed English datasets on the FamilySearch website.

BillionGraves Index 10,376,845
England and Wales Census, 1841 15,806,949
England and Wales Census, 1851 18,341,933
England and Wales Census, 1861 19,178,973
England and Wales Census, 1871 23,156,779
England and Wales Census, 1881 26,127,203
England and Wales Census, 1891 31,782,845
England and Wales Census, 1901 34,138,362
England and Wales Census, 1911 36,354,828
England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977 3,920,183
England and Wales, Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008 132,174,314
England and Wales, Death Registration Index 1837-2007 87,446,270
England and Wales, Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005 95,810,909
England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 68,947,926
England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991 14,841,089
England Marriages, 1538–1973 16,110,141
England, Bristol Parish Registers, 1538-1900 724,809
England, Cheshire Bishop's Transcripts, 1598-1900 2,179,329
England, Cheshire Non-conformist Records, 1671-1900 204,049
England, Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000 4,109,013
England, Cheshire Probate Records, 1492-1940 107,290
England, Cheshire Workhouse Records, 1848-1967 99,363
England, Cheshire, Land Tax Assessments, 1778-1832 2,011,948
England, Cheshire, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1606-1900 451,783
England, Cheshire, Register of Electors, 1842-1900 4,332,903
England, Cheshire, School Records, 1796-1950 435,681
England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538-2010 171,083
England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1910 1,474,822
England, Devon, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 1,176,905
England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-1936 1,288,325
England, Essex Parish Registers, 1503-1997 1,026,155
England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911 454,798
England, Kent, Register of Electors, 1570-1907 2,956,498
England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910 993,246
England, Lancashire, Parish Registers 1538-1910 913,314
England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913 14,886,274
England, Manchester, Miscellaneous Records, 1700-1916 853,243
England, Middlesex, Westminster, Parish Registers, 1538-1912 1,223,754
England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941 1,161,877
England, Norfolk Register of Electors, 1844-1952 4,557,906
England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997 188,222
England, Sussex, Parish Registers, 1538-1910 770,864
England, Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538-1900 1,196,651
Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988 69,278
Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988 11,115
Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977 21,550
United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913 933,943
United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933 42,183
United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941 2,607,986
United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915 555,558

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