This section contains the core information most likely to be of use to family historians and genealogists such as parish registers and census returns. This is where most of the information about individuals living in Somerset parishes will be found.
The parish pages are the “hub” around which the rest of this website is organised. Each parish page will give access to all of the resources relevant to the parish and give full details about the OPC and the records they hold. The geographical boundary of the Anglican parish is also used as a useful way to group the places of worship, whatever their denomination or creed.
This site is slowly accumulating a comprehensive database of places of worship in Somerset.
Baptisms are possibly the most numerous of records available in the parish registers. In previous centuries families had very large numbers of children, many of whom died in infancy. It was relatively common for children to be given the same first name as their deceased siblings; an easy trap for the unwary novice family historian.
Burial records are the most straightforward to transcribe (having the least amount of information) and are a good place for a new OPC volunteer to start.
At present the database only contains marriages performed in churches and chapels. Civil marriages are being made available through the FreeBMD website, we are focussed for the time being on the parish registers.
The monumental inscriptions database is embryonic, containing only a very limited number of transcriptions to date. If you live near a Sussex church or cemetery, why not offer to improve the coverage by helping to transcribe these rapidly deteriorating monuments?
For most parishes, the earliest useful census is the one performed in 1841 which recorded the individual’s name, age, gender, occupation and address and whether or not the person was born in the county where they are recorded as living.
The earlier census returns have for the most part been lost. After 1841 the census was conducted every ten years, with more and more information being included as each year progressed. The transcriptions on this site are, where possible, cross linked to both the parish where the census took place and to the birth parish of the people listed.
As well as the main person index, in 2011 we have added the ability to examine the census records by enumeration district and property (address). There may be more than one household in a given property - the enumerator indicates this by inserting a dash under the last individual in the household. In some circumstances it has been possible to identify the type of property (e.g. church or public house) as well. These are visible on the listings - but should be taken for what they are, interpretation by the transcriber.
If you are fortunate enough to discover a will written by an ancestor, it may contain a wealth of information about the person’s relatives, their possessions and often will give clues about the sort of person they were. Sadly of course, most common folk had little need for a complicated will, having few possessions and possibly being unable to read and write. We are slowly building a library of will transcriptions donated to the scheme which are fully indexed and cross linked to the home parish of the testator and to any other parishes mentioned in the will.
We are indebted to Mark Collins coordinator of the Sussex On-line Parish Clerk project for the use of his transcription database application.