England, Kent, Bishop's Transcripts - FamilySearch Historical Records

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England, Kent, Bishop's Transcripts, 1560-1911
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Kent, England
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Flag of England
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Location of Kent, England
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Location of England
Record Description
Record Type Bishop's Transcripts
Collection years 1560-1911
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Kent History and Library Centre

What is in the Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection consists of bishop's transcripts from the county of Kent for the years 1560-1911. The originals are held at Kent Archives Office. Availability of records may vary by year and locality.

Beginning in 1598, every parish priest of the Church of England was supposed to make a copy of his parish register and send it to send to the archdeacon or bishop every year. Termed either archdeacon’s or bishop’s transcripts, these copies were generally produced in the same form as a regular parish transcript. Many priests stopped producing these transcripts with the beginning of civil registration in 1837, but they did not fully disappear until after 1870.
As bishop’s transcripts generally contain more or less the same information as parish registers, they are an invaluable resource when parish records have been damaged, destroyed, or otherwise lost. However, because bishop's transcripts are, as their name implies, copies of the original records, they are more liable contain errors than parish registers might be.
Most collections of bishops’ transcripts have been preserved, and their condition is relatively good considering the age of the records and their storage conditions over the centuries. Many collections have also been copied to microfilm or microfiche.

One of the 39 historic counties of England, Kent is a coastal county located in southeastern England. Much of the northeastern portion of the county is now incorporated into the Greater London metropolis. For a list of parishes which historically made up this county, see the Kent Parishes page.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for England, Kent, Bishop's Transcripts, 1560-1911.

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

What Can this Collection Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following lists indicate potential information given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all the listed information, as the procedures for keeping parish records evolved considerably over the centuries after 1538. It must also be noted that individual parishes often developed record-keeping traditions unique to themselves.  

Baptismal Records may include:
Before 1812

  • Date and place of baptism
  • Full name of child
  • Sex of child

Included after 1812

  • Legitimacy of child
  • Full names of parents
  • Residence of parents
  • Marital status of parents
  • Occupations of parents
  • Names of godparents
  • Names, ages, occupations, and residences of witnesses
  • Name of minister

Marriage Records may include:
Before 1754

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Full names of bride and groom
  • Dates of the proclamation of banns
  • Residences of bride and groom

Included after 1754

  • Full names of witnesses
  • Name of minister

Included after 1812

  • Ages of bride and groom
  • Previous marital statuses of bride and groom
  • Occupations of bride and groom
  • Birthplaces of bride and groom
  • Full names of parents, including maiden names
  • Names of other relatives present at the marriage

Burial Records may include:
Before 1812

  • Date and place of burial
  • Name of deceased
  • Marital status of deceased
  • Name of spouse

Included after 1812

  • Age at death
  • Residence of deceased
  • Cause of death
  • Date and place of death
  • Birthdate and place of deceased
  • Sex of deceased, esp. if infant.
  • Name of father, esp. if infant
  • Occupation of father, esp. if infant


How Do I Search the Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the following information:

  • Full name of the individual in question
  • General location of the event
  • Date range for record

No matter the search method, this information is the best way to identify the correct person, though other information may be used if the name, location, and date are not all known.

Browse Images of the Records[edit | edit source]

To look through digital images of the original records, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the collection browse page.
    • You may also select the Browse through images link on the initial collection page to reach the same browse page.
  2. Select the appropriate Name of County.
  3. Select the appropriate Name of Parish.
  4. Select the appropriate Event Type and Year Range (with Volume) to go to the images.
  5. Compare the information found on the images with what is already known determine if a particular record relates to the correct person. This process may require examining multiple records before the correct person is located.

Some of the records in this collection may be written in an old script that can be challenging to read. Refer to BYU’s Script Tutorial for assistance with reading the records.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking for, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record for future reference; see below for assistance in citing this collection.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the age listed in the record to estimate a year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Remember that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Check for variants of given names and surnames. An individual might appear under a different name in a record for a variety of reasons:
    • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, nickname, or abbreviation of their given name.
    • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as they were pronounced. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation.
    • Some women reverted to their maiden names after the death of their husbands.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of results which can then be examined for matches. You might also try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth.
  • Search the records of nearby locations. In the period of this collection, most people never moved more than 20 miles away from the place of their birth, though smaller relocations were not uncommon. For this particular collection, this step may require finding records in the bordering English counties of Sussex to the south, Surrey and Middlesex to the west, or Essex across the estuary of the River Thames to the north. If the individual lived in the northwestern area of Kent, a thorough search of London records might be necessary. 

For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Citing this Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer to information which has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore key to keeping track of genealogical research. Correct citations also allow others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

Below are the proper citations to use for this collection as well as for individual images within the collection: Collection Citation

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.

Image Citation:
This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Kent, Bishop's Transcripts, 1560-1911.

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.