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Bishops Transcripts

In 1589 the clergy were ordered by Queen Elizabeth I to keep transcripts of their registers including Births, Marriages and Deaths. Burials were also record in loose slips of paper. Within a month of Easter, the clergy were required to send the transcripts of the previous year to the bishop of their diocese.  This was done until 1837 when civil registration started, although many still continued to transcribe their registers for quite some time.

Bishops transcripts can be useful as they are effectively a second record to the original parish record. Sadly many parish records have not survived so finding an original transcript might answer some questions. Also Bishops Transcripts were not used as much as parish records so their survival rate is much higher.

There is a gap in the Bishops Transcripts like most Diocesan records; the Commonwealth period (1648-1660) these were abolished until the Restoration along with other Diocesan authorities.

Many Bishop Transcripts can be found at local record centres or family history centres. Most record centres will have the transcripts on microfiche but you might lucky enough to handle the original transcripts.

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