Prior to civil registration in 1837, most births, marriages, deaths as well as burials, baptisms and banns, were recorded in the Church of England church or parish register (irrespective of religious belief). We normally turn to parish registers when we have gone as far back as we can through General Registration records and census returns. These will indicate which parish you need to search.
Ancestry does have many of these records online. Try searching directly on these records by selecting UK Parish Baptism, Marriage and Burial Records.
Parish registers in Local History and Archives Centres
These will usually be the records for the area that they cover. But many London and Kent area records are held by the London Metropolitan Archives. As well as original registers, many registers are available on microfilm or transcripts (written out in book form). The same register in a different format may well be housed in different archives.
How to identify the parish register you need
You will need to identify where the individuals lived and which church holds their records. This is not always easy as there will be several churches in any given area, so you may have to look through several church registers to find what you are looking for.
To find out if Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre has the register you want to see
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
• type of register (e.g. marriages, baptisms, burials)
• dates (e.g. 1826-1842)
• full name of Church (e.g. St Paul, Deptford; St Paul’s Lewisham, Forrest Hill)
We will check our records and then get back to you to arrange an appointment or invite you to a drop in day. If we do not hold the register(s) you seek, we will try and identify who does hold them for you and let you know. If you drop in without checking with us first, please note that we may not have the register you wish to see or it may be in the archives (not produced on demand).
Parish registers on the Internet
Family Search https://www.familysearch.org/
Parish Registers Online https://www.parishregister.co.uk/online
The Genealogist https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/
Julie Robinson, Local Studies Librarian