The Parish Church Registers

In Memory Of

As I have been working through the history of our family I have had reference to two major sources of detail. The published National Censuses which run from 1841 through to 1911 - that for 1921 will not be made public for some time yet. These improve with detail as each ten years passes. They are not always easy to work with; sometimes people cannot be found - misspelling, absenteeism; awkwardness; illiteracy; ignorance; emigration are only some of the reasons. 

I have also had access via the Essex County Council Archives web site to the Church Registers - but not those for the non-Conformist records which are available in the original form both in Essex and at the the National Archives.

2014-02-11 22-20-11

With the Church Records I have done my best, parish by parish, from the mid 16th century up to around 1911 which is the last tie in I have with the Census returns, to extract every Smith ever recorded. Again I must apologise for exceptions. Many of the earliest records are illegible or have suffered ill use and weathering over the centuries. Some have been lost or simply mislaid. I will have missed some entries unintentionally!  Others will never have been recorded as there was an aversion to paying a tax of 3 pence per entry for several years. Others will have simply never been reported at all!

Because I have taken a literal approach to this whole exercise with a view to it being a simple way to access genealogy I have treated all Smith’s the same whether they be Smith, Smyth, Smythe or Smithe. If it is a matter of importance as to how these names may have been originally interpreted by the many scribes then please make reference to the source material in the Essex County Archives.

By avoiding the scheduling of a spreadsheet I have acted intentionally. 

To me, this is not simply a series of lists and names with no meaning.

These are people who have lived, loved and died over the generations. 

By entering them as I have, it is in my mind that this gives a little respect in bringing the memory of their names to life so that they are not simply recorded entries but become memories again. I have also sought to retain a little respect with regard to the dignity of those who gave birth without a married partner or those who lived or died in a Work House. The information, when it exists, is in the record if you really need to know. Sometimes birth dates are entered. At others the cause of death is shown. Whilst I am producing a schedule via which people may be able to trace their own and other families back into history it has simply not been practical to show all of the information available. Please complete the detail search yourself. 

You can subscribe directly to the Essex Archives and add to the lead I have given to you. I will not give access to the Essex archives via my own subscription.

Protestant Dissenters' Registry. 

The increased requirement to provide evidence of birth led the Dissenting Deputies (representing Baptists, Congregationalists & Presbyterians) to establish a births register of their children in 1743 at the Dissenters Library. Originally for parents living within 12 miles of London it subsequently became open to anyone, regardless of distance or denomination, provided a fee was paid. It contains almost 50,000 births. Registered at Rev. Daniel Williams Library, Redcross Street, Cripplegate, London Start date April 6th 1743 End date Dec 30th 1837.

I have extracted about 1500 Dissenting Smith’s from the above records and they are shown in their parishes under DISSENTERS.

My whole intent has been to allow others to follow in my footsteps. By showing many of the original entries and by copying out others anybody wishing to advance on what has been done will have all the keys to hand and will start up and running rather than down and crawling.

Below you will find links to each of the Parishes that I have worked on so you can do your own research on some of the earliest links to see whether my deductions have been successful or are wishful thinking.

Comment on Certain Entries can be found HERE

This is an indication of the problem with some records !

You may notice that “East End” parishes, once in rural Essex or newly built in the Victorian era, do not have burial registers. The most likely cause for this is that the earlier cemeteries quickly ran out of spave and several larhe areas around London were designeted fro burial purposes. 

Highgate Cemetery (St James’s, Highgate)

Kensal Green cemetery (General Cemetery of All Souls)

Norwood Cemetery (South Metropolitan)

Nunhead Cemetery (All Saints)

Stoke Newington Cemetery (Abney Park)

Brompton Cemetery

Crossbones Graveyard

You may be able to continue to trace yourancestors through the Greater London Burial Index which is available on line. You will find that those registered under Middlesex may be the most revealing.

Left click on a Parish below and it will open in a new window showing the Smith’s who have been born, married and died therein on the dates given.

This schedule is work in progress and will be developed as time goes by. Please appreciate that this is fairly demanding work requiring time and patience! It is now five years and counting!!


The files for Victoria Docks were added on 14th October 2018

The files for Walthamstow were added on 14th November 2018

The files for Wanstead were added on 18th November 2018

The files for Wennington were added on 19th November 2018

Principal Parishes
Essex Parish Map

© Andrew Dudley-Smith 2016