Birkenhead (city), Cheshire Genealogy

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Guide to Birkenhead history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Cammel Laird shipyards.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Flag of Cheshire
Cheshire Coat of Arms
Location of Cheshire in England

BIRKENHEAD, is a seaport town, a market town, and a township, and seven chapelries, in the district of Wirral, Cheshire. The town stands on the Mersey, opposite Liverpool, about a mile by water W of Liverpool, and 14 3/4 miles by railway NNW of Chester. Anciently the place was called Bircheved, Birkete, Birket-wood, and Birkenhedde.

The recorded history of Birkenhead began with the establishment of Birkenhead Priory and the Mersey Ferry in the 12th century. During the 19th century Birkenhead expanded greatly, becoming a town as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, with Birkenhead Park and Hamilton Square being examples of the era. Around the same time, Birkenhead gained the first street tramway in Britain. Later, the Mersey Railway connected Birkenhead and Liverpool, with the world's first tunnel beneath a tidal estuary. Birkenhead is perhaps best known for the shipbuilding of Cammell Laird, and for the town's seaport. [1]

On 1 April 1974, the UK Government reorganized the counties of England, and Birkenhead is now in the new county of Merseyside.


Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Flaybrick Hill Cemetery
Tollemache Rd
Birkenhead CH41 0DG, UK
Phone: +44 151 677 2361

Landican Cemetery and Crematorium
Arrowe Park Road
Woodchurch
Wirral CH49 5LW
Phone: 0151 666 3001
Email: landicancemetery@wirral.gov.uk

Other sources follow:

Parishes[edit | edit source]

  • St. Oswald Bidston. The ancient parish church for Birkenhead.
  • Birkenhead, St. John the Evangelist (C of E), Grange Road. A separate parish from 1859; closed in 1971. Registers of Baptisms 1859–1971 and Marriages 1859–1968 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Birkenhead, St. Paul (C of E), Argyle Street. Built in 1864 as a chapel to St John, becoming a separate parish in 1922; closed in 1948. Registers of Baptisms 1863–1948 and Marriages 1864–1948 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Birkenhead, St. Peter (C of E), Cathcart Street. Built in 1867 as a chapel to Holy Trinity, becoming a parish church the following year. Registers of Baptisms 1867–1991 and Marriages 1868–1991 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Claughton, Christ Church (C of E). Serving part of Birkenhead from 1876.
  • Birkenhead, St. Matthew (C of E), Park Road East. Built in 1882 in Claughton Road as a chapel to Holy Trinity; rebuilt in 1889 on Park Road East, becoming a separate parish in 1914; closed in 1970. Registers of Baptisms 1889–1969 and Marriages 1914–1969 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Birkenhead, St. Bede (C of E), Built in 1888 in Park Road West as a chapel to Claughton, Christ Church, becoming a chapel to Birkenhead All Saints in 1911. Closed in 1941 after air-raid damage, and replaced by a new building in Upton Road in 1960 which has been attached to St James since the closure of All Saints in 1971. Registers of Baptisms 1888–1907 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Birkenhead, St. Mark (C of E), Devonshire Road. Built in 1891 as a chapel to St John, becoming a separate parish in 1922; closed in 1991. Registers of Baptisms 1894–1991 and Marriages 1895–1990 have been deposited at the Cheshire Record Office (no burials here).
  • Birkenhead Priory, Christ the King (C of E). Church Street. Opened in 1974 to replace St. Mary's as the parish church. Registers of Baptisms and Marriages are still at the church (no burials here).

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

The following is a comprehensive list of other churches and chapels in Birkenhead:

  • Birkenhead, St. Werburgh (Roman Catholic), Grange Road. Founded 1834.
  • Birkenhead, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and St. Edward the Confessor (Roman Catholic), Cavendish Street. Founded 1854.
  • Birkenhead, St. Laurence (Roman Catholic), Beckwith Street. Founded 1864.
  • Birkenhead, St. Joseph (Roman Catholic), North Road. Founded 1900.
  • Birkenhead, Holy Cross (Roman Catholic), Hoylake Road. Founded 1928.
  • Birkenhead, Baptist Union Chapel. Built in 1839 in Hamilton Terrace, rebuilt in 1852 in Price Street, rebuilt in 1889.
  • Birkenhead, Baptist Union Chapel, Grange Road. Built in 1858.
  • Birkenhead, Baptist Union Chapel, Laird Street. Founded 1902.
  • Birkenhead, Baptist Union Chapel, Alvanley Place.
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2 Reservoir Road, Birkenhead, CH42 8LJ
  • Birkenhead, Methodist (Brunswick) Chapel, Price Street. Built in 1830, closed in 1960. Registers of baptisms 1839–1958 and marriages 1867–1954 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Primitive), Grange Road. Founded 1855, Built in 1870, closed in 1958. Registers of baptisms 1886–1958 and marriages 1916–58 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist (Palm Grove) Chapel (Wesleyan), Talbot Lane/Lorne Road. Founded 1858, Built in 1871, closed in 1978. Registers of baptisms 1858–87 and marriages 1875–1977 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Free), Claughton Road. Founded 1864, Built in 1881, closed in 1938. Registers of baptisms 1864–1938 and marriages 1927–38 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan), Laird Street. Built in 1864, destroyed by bombing in 1941. Registers of baptisms 1874–1941 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan), Grange Road. Built in 1872.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan), Hind Street. Built in 1873 (replacing a building in Blackpool Street), closed in 1966. Registers of baptisms 1873–1965 and marriages 1965–66 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Wesleyan), Lowe Street. Built in 1878, closed in 1958. Registers of baptisms 1879–1957 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist Chapel (Primitive), Beckwith Street.
  • Birkenhead, Methodist (Mount Tabor) Chapel (Primitive), Holt Road. Built in 1879, closed in 1966. Registers of baptisms 1895–1945 and marriages 1916–64 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Conway Street. Built in 1840.
  • Birkenhead, Presbyterian Church (Welsh), Parkfield. Founded 1837.
  • Birkenhead, Presbyterian Church, Regent Place. Built in 1848, closed in 1976.
  • Birkenhead, Presbyterian (Hamilton Memorial) Church, Upton Road. Founded 1868, Built in 1922.
  • Birkenhead, Presbyterian Church (Welsh), Laird Street. Founded 1905.
  • Birkenhead, Presbyterian Church (Welsh), Woodchurch Road. Founded 1906.
  • Birkenhead, Unitarian Chapel, Clive Road. Founded 1851 in Charing Cross, moved to Bessborough Road in 1903. The present building was opened in 1959. Registers of baptisms 1888–1921 are at the Cheshire Record Office.
  • Birkenhead, United Reformed Church (Indpendent/Congregational). Built in 1856 in Oxton Road, rebuilt in 1923 in Balls Road.
  • Birkenhead, Welsh Independent Church, Clifton Road. Built in 1844, rebuilt in 1881. Registers 1842–1854 are in the National Library of Wales.
  • Birkenhead, Welsh Independent Church, Vittoria Street. Founded 1886.

Non Christian faiths include:

  • Hindu
  • Muslim, Beechcroft, 67 Whetstone Lane, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH41 2SA
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from 1 July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. Here are two excellent Internet sites with birth, marriage and death indexes available:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Birkenhead does not have its own newspaper. However the district is covered well in the Liverpool Echo. The website is listed below:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Shipbuilding and ship repair has featured prominently in the local economy since the 19th century. Cammell Laird, the most successful company in the town, entered receivership in 2001. The shipyard was sold and became 'Northwestern Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders' (NS&S), which grew into a successful business specializing in ship repair and conversion, including maintenance contracts for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. In September 2007 NS&S acquired the rights to use the Cammell Laird name. The company was renamed 'Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders' on 17 November 2008, seeing the famous name return to Birkenhead after a seven-year hiatus.

Birkenhead's dock system is part of the Port of Liverpool, operated by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company under the ownership of The Peel Group. The Twelve Quays ferry terminal allows a direct freight and passenger vehicle service to Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Daily Belfast services are run by Stena Line, using their RoPax ferries MS Stena Lagan and MS Stena Mersey. The Famous Mersey Ferry at Woodside operates a passenger service to Liverpool and chartered cruising.

Birkenhead used to be a major center for leather work, and had major tanneries that could be smelled from the main road to Chester. The leatherworks were shut down in 2005, following a critical fire that affected the whole area in 1995.

Birkenhead has always been the market center for the Wirral section of Cheshire. Birkenhead Market was first established on what is now the site of Birkenhead Town Hall, between Chester Street and Hamilton Street, on 10 July 1835. Commercial expansion continued in the early 1990s when the Pyramids Shopping Center was opened. The original market site has been redeveloped with the construction of two office buildings, primarily to house Land Registry and Department for Work and Pensions offices.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Birkenhead," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birkenhead, accessed 22 March, 2017.