The Parish Church Registers

As I have been working through thehistory 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 Counil Archives web site to the Church Registers - but not those for the non-Conformist records.

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 penceper 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.

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 people again. I have also sought to retain a little respect with regard to the digmity 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 toknow.

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. 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 below in ITALICS

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 !

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 progressand will be developed as time goes by. Please appreciate that this is fairly demanding work requiring time and patience!


The files for Halstead Greenstead Green were added on 19th June 2017

The files for Halstead Holy Trinity were added on 19th June 2017

The files for Halsted St Andrew were added on 7th July 2017

The files for Gosfield were added on 9th July 2017

The updated file for Stebbing was added on 24th July 2017

The files for Wethersfield were added on 24th July 2017

The files for Wethersfield Blackmore End were added on 24th July 2017

The files for Little Bardfield were updated on 24th July 2017

The files for Great Bardfield were updated on 24th July 2017

The files for Bocking were updated on 2nd August 2017

The updated files for Toppesfield were added on 3rd August 2017

The files for Great Sampford were added on 10th August 2017

The files for Little Sampford were added on 12th August 2017

The files for Great Saling were added on 13th August 2017

The files for Stisted were added on 16th August 2017

The files for Pattiswick were added on 17th August 2017

The files for Hatfield Peverel were added on 19th August 2017

The files for Witham were added on 6th September 2017

The files for Castle Hedingham were added on 9th September 2017

The files for Little Yeldham were added on 10th September 2017

Principal Parishes
Essex Parish Map

Andrew Dudley-Smith 2016