Don't be confused.

+13 votes
291 views
Baptism is not compulsory in the UK.

Many people were not baptised, for religious reasons, for financial reasons, because infant mortality was very high. Many people were not baptised until just prior to their wedding, some never. For these reasons, a baptism date is not indicative of a birth date.

A name is, by law, established through common usage, not necessarily by ceremony. It is not even required that you change a name through deed pol, as long as the change is not done to defraud.

When reading original registers, one will also find that at times an incumbent refuses to make entries, because he feels he has not been sufficiently reimbursed.

Another aspect of reading the originals, is that cryptic comments were often added to the margins, giving an unexpected insight into the individual. These are never included in subsequent transcripts.
in The Tree House by Tim Perry G2G6 Mach 3 (35.8k points)

2 Answers

+7 votes
You are correct...my mum was baptised shortly before her marriage. Also researching Essex parish registers, I make a note of any late baptisms I come across..I think the latest one was a woman who was in her 60s!

It is also useful to remember that baptism entries were often not recorded straight into the baptism register (unlike marriages) but were often recorded in Day books ( or even scraps of paper) and the information transferred to the register at a later time - sometimes hours, days or even weeks later (or never if the scrap of paper got lost).

Even with civil registration, until 1874 it was not enforcible to have your child registered and even after 1874 a few slipped through the net.
by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (176k points)
This is also true of date of death. A will gives the date it was written, obviously the person was alive to write it, and the probate shows when it was proven. We can assume they died sometime between those dates. In the few cases where the Sexton's notes have survived, we can say when and where they were buried, but still not be positive of the exact date of death.
+5 votes

With duplicate baptism sources in England, some are referred to as Parish Registers and other Bishop's Transcripts. Does it make any difference which one is used. An example - John Baker, "England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990" • FamilySearch

John Baker, "England, Wiltshire, Church Records, 1518-1990" • FamilySearch

by Roger Davey G2G6 Mach 3 (37.3k points)

It can do. Bishop's transcripts of parish registers are copies. From 1598 in most parishes, the incumbent was required to send a copy of the previous years entries March 25 to March 24.They had until June to submit them (A few bishops required them before 1598, some much later and sometimes they were submitted every three years. There are none during the Commonwealth period) They were originally submitted on single sheets. Some were carefully preserved, others lost or stored haphazardly in damp 'cellars' .

As they are copies they may not have  been copied exactly. Some entries can be missed, some errors were made in copying names. Very often extra  information or notes  in the original is missed in the BT. Occassionally the incumbent corrected errors made in the original register.Sometimes a long time went between submissions and you find a new vicar writing in a register that he'd had to send in the backlog.

In some periods/places,  Bishop's transcripts are the only surviving copy of a register so they are invaluable. If both are available it's best to check both.

In this case  you are using indexes for both BT and PR. This may be fine * but does add another layer of copying/ transcription and  extraction (info in FS indexes only has the basic names and dates)

 * Sharing image PR (Ancesty doesn't have the BT for Tilshead after 1696)

Many thanks Helen - Best answer

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