Coventry, Warwickshire Genealogy

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

Coventry city center.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Coat of arms of Coventry
Coventry location in the UK

The area around Coventry is located on the fertile, midland central plain of England. This location made it a natural area for development. It is largely flatland, with just a few natural hills. The plain is of a rich alluvial soil, and has been used for farming since mankind has located there.

Coventry itself is an ancient city that predates Birmingham and Leicester. It is likely that Coventry grew from a settlement of the Bronze Age near the present-day city center where Coventry's bowl-shaped topography and, at that time large flowing river and lakes, created the ideal settlement area, with mild weather and thick woods: food, water and shelter would have been easily found. [1]

The Romans founded another settlement in Baginton and another formed around a Saxon nunnery in about 700 AD. This settlement and its surrounds was left in ruins by the attack of King Canute.

Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva built on the remains of the nunnery and founded a Benedictine monastery in 1043 dedicated to St Mary. In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.

By the 14th century, Coventry was an important center of the cloth trade, and throughout the Middle Ages was one of the largest and most important cities in England. Coventry claimed the status of a city by ancient prescriptive usage, was granted a charter of incorporation in 1345, and in 1451 became a county in its own right. [2]

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Coventry became one of the three main British centers of watch and clock manufacture and ranked alongside Prescot, in Lancashire and Clerkenwell in London. As the industry declined, due mainly to competition from Swiss Made clock and watch manufacturers, the skilled pool of workers proved crucial to the setting up of bicycle manufacture and eventually the motor-bicycle, car, machine tool and aircraft industries.

In the late 19th century, Coventry became a major center of bicycle manufacture. The industry energized by the invention by James Starley and his nephew John Kemp Starley of the Rover safety bicycle, which was safer and more popular than the pioneering penny-farthing. The company became Rover. By the early 20th century, bicycle manufacture had evolved into motor manufacture, and Coventry became a major center of the British motor industry. The design headquarters of Jaguar Cars is in the city at their Whitley plant and although vehicle assembly ceased at the Browns Lane plant in 2004, Jaguar's head office returned to the city in 2011, and is also sited in Whitley. Today Jaguar is owned by the Indian company, Tata Motors.

During WWII, Coventry was the second most bombed city behind London. If analyzed based on area and population size, it becomes the most damaged city in England, due to the concentration of heavy industries in the area. [3]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

The City of Coventry maintains 2 cemeteries. The following web site lists addresses and contact information:

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

The Diocese of Coventry contains a list of Coventry churches. The web site follows:

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Christian Churches:

  • Calvinists
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Congregationalists
  • Eastern Orthodox
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Lutherans
  • Methodists
  • Plymouth Brethren
  • Presbyterians
  • Roman Catholics
  • Seventh Day Adventists

In addition, a number of non Christian churches are found within the city:

  • Buddhists
  • Hindus
  • Muslims
  • Sikhs

Civil registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration is the recording of births, marriages and deaths in England and began in 1837. Civil registration records were recorded at the local registration office and the National registration offices. If you cannot find the civil registration in one index, search the other index as they are different indexes.

The Coventry city office for BMD data[4] follows:
Cheylesmore Manor House
Manor House Dr
Coventry CV1 2ND, UK
Phone: +44 24 7683 3141
Coventry Register Office Website

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Coventry's main industries include: cars, electronic equipment, machine tools, agricultural machinery, man-made fibers, aerospace components and telecommunications equipment. In recent years, the city has moved away somewhat from manufacturing industries towards business services, finance, research, design and development, creative industries as well as logistics and leisure. However Coventry is probably still the central city for heavy industry in the UK.

General Electric Company, Associated Electrical Company, British Oxygen Company, Aston Martin cars, Land Rover, and Jaguar are all examples of companies tied closely to Coventry. [5]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Coventry Family History Society.[6].
'Old Coventrians'
Tile Hill Lane
Coventry family History Society Website

Archives[edit | edit source]

Coventry History Center and Local Archives
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Jordan Well
Coventry CV1 5QP
Tel: 024 7623 7578
Coventry History Center and Archives Website

Coventry National Archives is co-located with the History Center
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Jordan Well
Coventry CV1 5QP
Tel: 024 7623 7578

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Coventry," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 14 November 2016.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Coventry," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 16 November 2016.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Coventry," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 16 November 2016.
  4. The Coventry City (UK) Homepage,, accessed 12November, 2016.
  5. Coventry Manufacturing and Industry,, accessed 9 December 2016.
  6. The Coventry family History Society, accessed 13 November, 2016