Leicestershire & Rutland records online
A big boost for those interested in families in the heart of England! Over 3.4 million records from parish registers, wills and marriage licences have been launched in the FindMyPast website. Each manuscript has been scanned and the names of the key parties for each event indexed.
As well as searching for people of interest in the indexes, you can browse through the images of each page of the parish register and the other types of sources included. As well as revealing more about important dates, places and events in the history of our families, ready access to clear copies of original documents can sometimes allow us to identify individuals by their distinctive handwriting and signatures.
The number of index entries for each of the newly launched Leicestershire collections are:
- Banns = 319,233
- Baptisms = 1,115,559
- Burials = 796,112
- Marriages = 671,846
- Marriage licences = 79,700
- Wills & probate = 173,742
Those for the much smaller county of Rutland amount to:
- Banns = 24,766
- Baptisms = 137,824
- Burials = 104,034
- Marriages = 59,739
The time spans covered for each type of event in the registers available for each parish are set out in separate lists for each county:
The marriage licence records are useful not only to detect marriages that do not appear in a surviving register but may also supply otherwise absent details such as the marital conditions and ages of bride and groom and the identity and signatures of those applying for the licence.
The types of documents relating to probate vary and may feature any combination of wills, grants of administration, inventories and entries in "act books". Wills and other probate records are a treasure chest of information. They not only disclose family relationships but also provide evidence of the possessions and priorities of the person concerned. Unfortunately, surnames are not included for many of the names that appear in the online index, often because of totally missing portions of original documents. Nor are place names standardised or easy to search. This means that the result of a surname search is liable to be incomplete and it is hard to pick out all the records that relate to a particular parish. Consulting these publications by the British Record Society which reflect the condition of the documents many years ago may help:
- Vol. 27 - Leicester Wills & Administrations 1495-1649
- Vol. 51 - Wills & Administrations at Leicester 1660-1750
You can view and download scanned images of the two books by using the relevant links.
Bishops transcripts are not among the images at present available in the FindMyPast collections for the two counties. This is a pity as BTs can bridge gaps in the parish registers and sometimes provide alternative details - which may be fuller or more accurate. The places where you can consult the bishops transcripts for Leicestershire on film are:
- Leicestershire Record Office
- Your local Family History Centre (it will probably be necessary to pre-order the item of interest).
Scanned and indexed images of the parish registers and bishops transcripts for Rutland are available on the Ancestry website.
Now is an good time to start or resume research into East Midlands families. An excellent way to share your enthusiasm and discover more about the full range of resources available is to join the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. Its large programme features a range of meetings, publications and projects.
FFHS Archives Liaison
17 January 2017