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Birth, marriage and death

If you are researching an individual or carrying out family research, you will need to view records relating to birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial. Before starting your search, you will need to know the name of the person, the approximate date of birth, marriage or death and the area they were registered or living at the time.

We do not hold birth, marriage and death certificates. These can be obtained from the General Register or your local registrar.

What records can I find at my North East Wales Archive branch?

Church and chapel registers

Registers of baptism, banns/marriage and burials which took place in a parish church (Church in Wales) have been deposited at the North East Wales Archive along with other parish records such as tithe maps and churchwarden’s accounts. Parish registers provide different information to post-1837 birth, marriage and burial certificates. If you need to order a copy of a civil registration certificate please contact the registrar.

A baptism register entry will tell you the name of the child, name of parents (father only in earlier registers), address of parents, the date of baptism and the church. Some baptism registers are more informative and provide date of birth in the margin. Earlier registers contain less information.

Prior to 1754, marriage entries were quite uninformative, often showing just the date, the name of the bride and groom and the parish. Later registers provide witness signatures and after 1837 the name of the father of both the bride and groom were added.

A burial register entry will tell you the name and age of the deceased, date of burial and address at time of death. Sometimes the address can be specific to house number and street and sometimes it can just provide the name of a village or area. A burial entry will not provide details such as cause of death, next of kin or plot number in most cases.

Some nonconformist chapel registers have been deposited with a local archive, but not all. A chapel register generally provides the same kind of information as a church register. You can see a list of chapel registers we hold using our chapel register index.

Bishop’s Transcripts

We also hold the bishop’s transcripts from the St Asaph diocese on microfilm. These are copies of the registers sent annually to the bishop. For most parishes, we have microfilms of returns from the 1660s to the 1850s. The bishop’s transcripts are a useful source where the parish registers themselves are missing.

Graveyard surveys and monumental inscriptions

Not all burial grounds have a plan and sometimes if a grave is unmarked there is no way of knowing exactly where a person is buried.

Surveys of graveyards have been conducted by groups of individuals with an interest in documenting burials in a particular graveyard (local history societies or church support groups for example).

You can search the catalogue for monumental inscriptions for a particular burial ground.

Wills

Not everyone left a will, but it is certainly worth investigating. A will can provide the following information-

  • Name and full address of the individual
  • Information about the social status and wealth of the individual
  • Information about land and property of the individual
  • Name of spouse, children, grandchildren and other family relations
  • The burial place of the deceased
  • Information about occupations
  • Names of administrator/executor

We hold a limited number of wills which have usually been deposited with us as part of solicitor’s collections or other private deposits. You can search our catalogue for a person’s name to see we hold their will.

An index to wills proved at the Peculiar Court of Hawarden, 1554-1800, is available in the search-room at our Flintshire branch.

If you are looking for a Welsh will dated before 1858 you should use the National Library of Wales wills website to search for a will and you can view the will online.

If you are looking for a Welsh will dated after 1858 you can use the National Probate Calendar on ancestry.co.uk or the Principle Probate Registry.

Burial Boards and Cemetery records

Cemetery records are records relating to municipal cemeteries as opposed to churchyards. The Burial Act 1853 enabled parishes and boroughs to establish and administer their own cemeteries. Until the establishment of Parish Councils in 1894, the church vestry was able to elect a burial board, after 1894 this responsibility was taken on the Parish Council.

Burial Board records can be found in Parish Council records or records of Urban District Councils. These records can include burial registers, registers of graves, notices of internment and cemetery plans.

We do not hold complete records of individual burials at Denbighshire and Flintshire cemeteries in the parish council or urban district council records. In most cases, you will need to contact the cemeteries officer if you are looking for a record of a burial that took place in a council run cemetery.

For a list of Denbighshire Cemeteries, see the Denbighshire County Council website.

For a list of Flintshire Cemeteries, see the Flintshire County Council website.

Ruthin branch holds a microfilm copy (MFD/1694) for burials that took place in Denbigh cemetery (Ystrad Road) between 1889 and 1990. You will need to book a microfilm reader in Ruthin to view these records.

If you are looking for a cemetery burial in Wrexham you can search online for burials that took place in Wrexham’s main cemetery between 1876 and 2012.

Crematorium records

Cremation became legal in 1884. The North East Wales Archive hold no crematorium records. Local crematoriums are in Flintshire Memorial Park, Northop (opened 2018), St Asaph (opened 2016), Pentrebychan, Wrexham (opened 1966) and Bron y Nant, Colwyn Bay (opened 1957). You will need to contact the crematorium directly to ask about a cremation record.

Before 1957, people in North Wales had the option of cremation in Landican, Birkenhead, although it was rarely used.

Coroner’s records

The coroner’s role has evolved over time and now is primarily concerned with cases of sudden or suspicious death.

Coroner’s records will usually contain papers stating the name of the deceased, their age, abode and occupation. They detail the circumstances of the death, including where and when the death took place; any known illnesses; if negligence or blame was alleged against any party; and the cause of death. They can also include witness statements, other details collected during the investigations and news reports.

We hold the following coroner’s records-

There is a 75 year restricted period on coroner’s records.

What language were the records written in?

Most of these records are in English, with the exception of some chapel/non-conformist registers which are sometimes in Welsh.

Some early parish records are written in Latin. You can see a guide to Latin on the familysearch.org website.

It is our policy to catalogue records in the language in which they were originally written.

How can I access these records?

Parish registers for Wales are available online through a paid subscription to Findmypast.co.uk, Ancestry or The Genealogist. You can access these sites for free in our search-rooms by booking a computer. Parish registers available online include:

  • Baptisms dated before c.1905
  • Marriages/Banns dated before c.1925
  • Burials dated before c.1955

Please note that some parishes opted out of having their registers scanned. In North East Wales, this includes Ruthin and Llanrhydd parishes only.

If you would like to view bishop’s transcripts or parish registers on microfilm, you will need to book a microfilm reader. Original parish registers are not available to view in the search-rooms except in very exceptional cases or where a microfilm copy is unavailable. We also have transcripts available for most parishes up to 1812.

To view coroner’s records, wills, monumental inscriptions and original nonconformist registers you will need to book a place in one of our search-rooms. To access a coroner’s record less than 75 years old you must apply to the coroner.

You can find the contact for the North East Wales coroner here.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

The National Library of Wales

You can search for wills dated pre-1858 using The National Library Welsh Wills website.

Most of The Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodist) records are held by The National Library of Wales.

The Local Registrar

The Denbighshire or Flintshire registrars can supply copy birth, marriage and death certificates for those registered in North East Wales in the counties of Denbighshire (pre 1974), Flintshire (pre 1974), Clwyd (1974-1996) and the new counties of Denbighshire and Flintshire (1996 onwards).

For more information on how to obtain a copy certificate contact the Denbighshire Registrar or the Flintshire Registrar.

The General Registrar (GRO)

The GRO maintains the national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837 for England and Wales. Copy birth, marriage and death certificates can be ordered online on their website.

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