Discover your ancestors in the Church of England parish registers of the historic Diocese of Chester from 1538 to 1931. Search almost 2 million records to find your Cheshire roots.
Each record contains an image and a transcript of the original Church of England parish registers. The information contains varies but you can find some or all of the following information about your ancestor:
Year of Christening
Date of Christening
Year of birth
Date of birth
Place of birth
City or town
The Anglican records in this collection cover the Diocese of Chester which covers the historic County of Cheshire in its pre-1974 boundaries. Cheshire Archives and Local Studies also holds registers from parishes in the Diocese of Liverpool which fall within the areas of Halton and Warrington Boroughs.
Before the introduction of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1837 all such events were recorded in the local parish.
Parish records generally begin from 1538 after the Church of England mandated the keeping of parish registers in 1537. Baptisms, marriages and burials were all recorded in a single volume until 1774, when the law changed to require a separate marriage register and another one for Banns (or proclamations of an intent to marry). Standardised forms for these registers appeared in 1812.
Banns had been introduced in the Act for the Better Prevention of Clandestine Marriages of 1754. They were read out on three consecutive Sundays to allow anyone with a reason that the marriage should not go ahead to come forward. The alternative for the couple was to get married by Licence when, on payment of a fee, they could swear that no impediment to their marriage existed.
Other religious denominations, with the exception of the Quakers and Jews, often registered these events in their local Church of England parish even after the Toleration Act of 1689 although between 1754 and 1837 it was illegal to marry anywhere other than a Church of England parish.
Cheshire is situated in the North West of England. On the west it borders Flintshire and Wrexham in Wales with Merseyside and Greater Manchester to the north, Derbyshire to the east and Shropshire and Staffordshire to the south.
Images reproduced by courtesy of the Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service, Chester, England and a small number of images have been provided by the College of Arms, the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth including Australia and New Zealand.
The Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service gives no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use of images which are copyright of the Cheshire Archives should be made to Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service, Cheshire Record Office, Duke Street, Chester CH1 1RL. Infringement of the above condition may result in legal action.