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Religion

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

Parish records

The two branches of North East Wales Archives are a statutory place of deposit for Church in Wales records.

We hold parish records for deaneries known as Alyn, Dee Valley, Denbigh, Dyffryn Clwyd, Hawarden, Holywell, Mold, St Asaph, and Wrexham. Parish records often consist of parish registers, churchwarden accounts, faculties, vestry minutes, and various other records including records relating to church buildings, war memorials, charities, tithes and church societies to name a few.

You can search for an individual parish using the online catalogue at the top of this page.

Diocesan records

Diocesan records can be found in our Hawarden branch and at The National Library of Wales. The collection at Hawarden includes a small and partial collection of St Asaph Diocesan records including: marriage licences (1878-1934); papers on charity commissions; faculties; churchyards; and property owned by the Diocese. However, the majority of St Asaph Diocesan Records are at the National Library of Wales.

Bishop’s transcripts

Bishop’s Transcripts are copies of parish 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. We also hold the bishop’s transcripts from the St Asaph diocese on microfilm. You can find a list of what we hold on microfilm here. [link coming soon]

Nonconformist records

Non-conformists were members of a religious body such as a chapel, who were separate from the established Church, i.e. the Church in Wales. They were also known as ‘Dissenters’. There are many different denominations of Non-Anglican protestant churches, including Quakers, Methodists, Congregationalists, Independent, Presbyterian and Baptists.

Unfortunately, chapel records have not been deposited with the same consistency as the records of the established church; therefore it’s unusual to find any register before the 19th century. Some have been retained by the chapel itself; some are held at the National Library of Wales; and others are held at The National Archives in Kew.

You can see a list of chapel registers we hold here. [link coming soon]

In the Ruthin branch, we hold records of the North Wales Area Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) which includes areas of Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Holyhead, Llangollen, Mold, Oswestry, Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Ruthin and Wrexham.

Search for nonconformist records on our catalogue at the top of this page.

Roman Catholic records

We do not hold records of local Roman Catholic Churches. If you are looking for records of a particular church please contact the church directly. However, Hawarden branch hold the following Roman Catholic Church records;

Holywell: baptisms, 1730-1860; marriages, 1846-60 and 1872; and confirmations, 1852-1855.

Mold: baptisms, 1859-1895

What language were the records written in?

Most of these records, with the exception of some non-conformist records, are in English. Nonconformist chapel records are sometimes in Welsh and some early parish records are recorded in Latin. It is our policy to catalogue records in the language 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.

If you want 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-room except in very exceptional cases or where a microfilm copy is unavailable.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Conwy Archive Service

Conwy Archive Service holds parish records for Llanrhos Deanery which were transferred from our Ruthin branch in 2009.

The National Archives, Kew

Large numbers of nonconformist registers were collected by the General Register Office in 1837, when civil registration began, and again in 1857. Many of these are now kept at The National Archives.

The National Library of Wales

Diocesan records are held by The National Library of Wales. This includes Bishops transcripts.