Oxfordshire Family History Society
Parish Register Coverage
|Parish Registers, Transcripts and Indexes
- Parish Registers are a principal source of information for family
historians researching events before the introduction of civil registration
of births deaths and marriages in 1837.
In Oxfordshire we are fortunate in that the vast majority of the
surviving parish registers have been transcribed by volunteers over the
- Parish Register Transcripts for all the transcribed parishes
are available for purchase from
OFHS in the form of CD-ROMs, in which the transcripts
for a number of neighbouring parishes are combined onto a single CD.
For some parishes, individual parish transcripts are still available as microfiche
however these are slowly being phased out.
Our transcripts cover almost all the parishes of the historic county
of Oxfordshire and the former North Berkshire parishes that were
transferred to Oxfordshire in the 1974 boundary changes.
Lists of the available transcripts may be found on our
CD-ROM Sales and
Fiche Sales pages.
- Monumental Inscription Transcripts are records of the inscriptions
writen on tombstones and other monuments in churchyards. Where a readable stone
exists it can provide a wealth of genealogical information. Around a half of
Oxfordshire's churchyards have been transcribed so far and the work is ongoing,
though it is necessarily a slow process.
Like the parish register transcripts these MI transcripts are all available for purchase
on CD-ROM. The transcripts produced before 2000 are typewritten text and these are
all combined on a single CD, OXF-MON. Some of these are also still available as
microfiche covering individual churchyards but like the parish register microfiche
these too are being phased out.
Transcripts produced since 2000 include
photographs of every stone alongside the transcribed text for that stone and each of
these transcripts is on a separate CD. MI transcripts are included in the lists of
available transcripts on our
CD-ROM Sales and
Fiche Sales pages.
- Oxfordshire Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts by Colin
Harris is the definitive work of reference describing which registers
exist, where they are archived and what transcripts exist. This
invaluable book also contains details of which Hundred and Poor Law Union
each parish is in and includes a map giving the location of the parishes.
It covers all the parishes of present-day Oxfordshire. It is published by
OFHS and details are included on our
Book Sales page.
- The OFHS Search Service is a finding aid, which helps locate people
anywhere within the confines of present-day Oxfordshire.
If your ancestors obligingly lived all their lives in one parish,
purchasing the transcript for that parish will give you
all the information you need. Often however, they moved around within
the county. It is then that the Search Service can help you.
It is based around a set of computer indexes of Baptisms, Marriages
Burials and Monumental Inscriptions. People are indexed by name
and age, and the index entry identifies the parish and date for
the event. The available indexes are described in detail
Search Services page.
- Coverage of the Search Service Indexes is not yet complete and
the indexes are continually being extended. The Marriage Index is virtually
complete for the historic (pre-1974) county of Oxfordshire and also contains most
of the former North Berskshire parishes. The Baptism and Burial indexes are
approaching completion and now include coverage up to 1851 for
around 95% of parishes. The Monumental Inscription Index is complete for all the graveyards
that have so far been transcribed (about 50% of parishes), but here the limiting
factor is the rate at which the actual graveyards can be recorded. So this
index will grow more slowly.
- The Interactive Parish Register Coverage Map provides an up-to-date
picture ot the transcripts available and the search service coverage for each
of the parishes of present-day Oxfordshire.
- A Search Index Coverage Page provides the same information in tabular form
- A Details Buttons on each of thes pages provide a way of seeing the exact year-by-year
coverage of the search indexes for baptisms, marriages and burials, in graphical form.
It will eventually also provide details of the transcript coverage for the parish
but this is not yet available.
- Census Indexes are also included in the Search Service for the 1841, 1851,
1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses. These indexes are complete for all the
surviving census records and are described in full on our
Search Services page.
They are therefore not included in the Parish Register Coverage Map.
|Using the Interactive Map
- Viewing the Map is best done with a screen resolution of at least 800 x 600 pixels.
You will also find it helpful to set your browser into full screen (or "kiosk") mode. With most
browsers this can be achieved by pressing the F11 function key. A second press of the
same key restores the normal mode, with the toolbars visible.
- The Map shows all of present-day Oxfordshire with parish boundaries indicated
as they were around 1900. The parishes of the historic (pre-1974) county of Oxfordshire are coloured
yellow, whilst those of the former North Berkshire are coloured pink.
- A Drop-Down List contains all the parishes, in alphabetic order. It provides one way of
selecting a specific parish.
- The Results Table shows the transcripts and search facilities available for the
selected parish, with the data grouped together in coloured blocks.
- To Select a Parish you have a choice of options:
- Click within the outline of the parish on the map.
- Open the Drop-Down List by clicking the button, then click
on a parish name to select it from the list.
- Type the first few letters of the parish name. When you have entered enough to identify
the chosen parish uniquely it will be selected. If you pause for more than
two seconds between letters, it will be assumed that you are starting a new name.
- Use the up and down cursor arrows on your keyboard to step to the
previous and next entries in the alphabetic list. (This gives an easy way of stepping through
the Oxford City parishes for example.)
- To Identify a Parish on the Map you will find the selected parish is shown in red
if you are viewing the page with Internet Explorer. In most other browsers, a red dot will be
displayed on or very close to, the selected parish. With some older browsers, it is not possible
to achieve even this functionality. With these
you can only gauge the approximate location, from the map reference given in the title block
of the results table.
- Hover your Mouse Pointer over a parish on the map to display a pop-up box
giving the parish name. Most, but not all browsers provide this feature. Note that this feature
may cease to work if you have scrolled down the page to the point at which
the most northerly parish is no longer included in the visible area of the screen.
If you have followed the advice for viewing the map given above, you should not need to scroll
down to view the complete map.
- Geographically Small Parishes are not shown individually on the map, so cannot
be selected by clicking the map. One of the other methods described above must be used.
The same applies to any non-parochial or non-conformist churches. An extreme
case of this is the city of Oxford, which is shown as a single outline on the map, but consists
of many parishes. When such parishes are selected the red area shown on the map will include
the whole area in which the parish lies.
- Click the Details button beside the parish name to display a new page showing
graphs of the year-by-year coverage of the baptism, marriage and burial search indexes. After
viewing this page, you may return to the map either by clicking the button at the foot of the
page of simply by using your browser's Back button. Note that the graphs specifically display the coverage
of the Search Service Indexes. In most cases the coverage of the
transcribed data available on microfiche or CD, is considerably greater than this.
|Interpreting the Results
- The Heading Block shows the name of the selected parish, together with its historic
(i.e.pre 1974) county, and a map reference showing its position on the map.
- The Register Transcript Block shows whether the parish registers have been
transcribed and if so in what format or formats the transcript exists. If the transcript
is available in CD-ROM form, the Reference Number for the CD containing the transcript is
(A very small number of parishes are included on more than one CD, in which case either
one may be purchased. Each contains the complete transcript).
If the transcript is available on
CD, it may be assumed that it is also available on microfiche if preferred.
N.B. The existence of a transcript does not indicate the date range covered nor
whether there are any gaps in this coverage. For this level of detail it is necessary to
consult the book "Oxfordshire Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts" described above.
- The Search Index Block shows which of the parish registers are included in
the Search Service Indexes. The number of entries in the index gives an approximate
indication of the number of people in the parish. This often bears little resemblance to the
area of the parish on the map. Some of the larger rural parishes are often the least populated.
- The Monumental Inscription Transcript & Search Block shows whether the parish
churchyard has been transcribed and gives some idea of the number of legible monuments found.
It does not indicate whether the transcript is available on microfiche and CD or whether it is
only available on microfiche. This can easily be ascertained from the
CD-ROM Sales page. The Search Service MI index
includes entries from all the churchyards that have been transcribed. So if a transcript exists
it may be safely assumed to be included in the search index.
- The Date Range included in the Search Service Indexes is normally less
than the full range included in the transcript.
In particular, search index coverage stops at 1837 for Oxfordshire
Marriages and in 1851 for North Berkshire Marriages and for most Baptism and
Burial indexes. The displayed numbers will indicate the number of baptisms etc.
up to that cut off date. The graphs on the Details pages are derived from the search indexes,
so they too will exhibit a cut off date of 1837 or 1851, although the transcribed data
available on microfiche or CD will usually extend beyond this date.
For the majority of parishes, if the parish is included in a particular search index,
it is likely that all the transcribed entries up to the cut-off date are included in the index.
There are a few exceptions to this, where for technical reasons a partially-completed index
has been included in the search service. This can normally be seen from the presence of a
large gap in the coverage shown on the details page for the parish. Small gaps in the graphs
are more likely to indicate gaps in the actual register coverage, where parts of a register
have been lost or are unreadable, or in some cases were never recorded in the first place due
to some hiatus in the parish.
- The interactive parish map, is based on original maps at the Centre For Oxfordshire Studies.
These were researched and traced by Howard Fuller and digitised by Malcolm Austen.
- A larger version of this map with parish names and including some parishes in
neighbouring counties, is available for download, from this web site. It will be found
in the OFHS Web Resources section, where there is also a larger scale map showing
the Oxford City parishes.
- Alan Simpson created this interactive version of the map
- The Transcripts and the Search Service indexes only exist by virtue of the efforts of
a great many volunteers.
This work is on-going and more help is always welcome. So if you have a little time to spare
to help fellow family historians, why not volunteer to help? Most of the indexing can be carried
out from microfiche or photocopies, so it is not necessary for you to live near Oxford. Indeed
our volunteers come from all over the world. If you are able to help please email our Project
Co-ordinator, Hugh Kearsey at email@example.com
The Oxfordshire Baptism Index is our newest index, where more volunteers are most
urgently required. If you would like to help with this project please contact our Baptism Index
Co-ordinator, Wendy Archer, directly at
Registered Charity Number 275891
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