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Tips on Searching the
Baptism, Burial & Marriage Records

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General Search Tips

Start with a fairly general search, perhaps only including a last name, and add more information to refine your search if the number of results is too large.

The spelling of names may not be as you expect as they could be written in a number of ways. For example, the name Catherine may have been written as Catharine or Katharine. Thomas may have been shortened to Tom. If entering a particular name doesn't bring up the results you're expecting, try using a Wildcard search, described below.

Most baptisms were performed within a few days or weeks of the birth, but sometimes they occurred years after. In the latter case, an age or year of birth is often given, but be prepared for the occasional baptism that appears out of the blue in a year that you might not expect.

Filling in the Form Fields

You must enter a search term in at least one of the Name fields, the Year field or the Parish field.

Characters which you can use in the Name fields include letters of the English alphabet in either upper or lower case (A to Z, a to z), single quotes or apostrophes ('), hyphens or dashes (-), spaces, and the wildcard characters * and ? (see "Using Wildcards" below).

The Year field can only contain numbers (0 to 9).

Selecting a value in the Year Range (+/-) field will search for matches in the selected range before and after the specified year. For example, entering 1900 in the Year field and selecting "+/- 2 years" will match all results in the year range 1898 to 1902. Selecting "+/- exact" will only match results for the specific year entered in the Year field.

The Parish field represents all the ecclesiastical parishes for which parish registers have been transcribed. This field may be used as the only search item, but in this case it may not be left on the default setting of "All". The default setting of "All" may only be used in conjunction with at least one other field being filled in.

To help you select a value in the Parish field, here's a list of the villages and hamlets which were part of larger ecclesiastical parishes at one time or another:

  • Besthorpe - part of South Scarle for baptisms & burials prior to 1847, and for all marriages
  • Broadholme - part of Thorney (now in the parish of Saxilby, Lincolnshire)
  • Brough - part of South Collingham
  • Danethorpe - part of South Collingham
  • Harby - part of North Clifton prior to 1867
  • Meering - extraparochial, but tended to use Besthorpe or South Scarle
  • South Clifton - part of North Clifton
  • Spalford - part of North Clifton prior to 1875, part of Girton after 1875
  • Swinethorpe (Lincs.) - part of Harby
  • Wigsley - part of Thorney
Using Wildcards

You can use wildcards in any of the Name fields, but they must be used together with at least one other valid non-wildcard character as described in "Filling in the Form Fields" above.

There are two wildcard characters: the asterisk (*) which can be used to represent zero or more characters, and the query or question mark (?) which can be used to represent a single character. For example, searching for Ma*y would match May, Mary or Marjory, and searching for Ma?y would match Mary but not May or Marjory. Likewise, searching for *Anna* would match Anna, Hannah or Hanna, and searching for ?Anna? would match Hannah but not Anna or Hanna.

Simply entering * or ? into a Name field will not work, and neither will entering a wildcard in place of a whole name where two or more names are entered in the same field. For example, searching for "William * Charles" would not create a valid search term, but "William Fred* Charles" is valid.

If the individual should be there but isn't....

If you can't find the person you're looking for after trying as many different ways of searching for them as you can think of, there is the possibility that the register has not yet been transcribed - it may be that the register is still in use by the church. Please also note that if the person you are looking for was born less than 100 years ago, any entries relating to them will not be put on the website. Have a look at the section called "About this collection" below the search form for more information.