Baptising an Infant Baptism and Birth Records in the UK Mother and Baby

Baptism Records in the UK

A baptism record is a any type of record or certificate that states the date and place an individual was baptised into a church. These records are available from 1538 onwards, and are recorded in Parish Registers. They are an invaluable resource for researching your family tree because the census and official records of birth, marriage and death do not go back further than 1837.

Baptism Records before 1813

Above: An example of a baptism record. It looks difficult to read, but it is not too tricky to decipher the handwriting.

Until 1813, the amount of information given is very basic. This included:

  • Child's name
  • Father's name
  • Church/Parish where baptised
  • Date

It was very uncommon for the mother to be mentioned, as this was considered to be unimportant. Although later on, the mother's name began to be stated, so a record would look something like this: "Francis the son of John Smith and his wife Anne was baptised".

If an illegitimate child was baptised, then the mother's name would be stated, with the word 'illegitimate' or similar in the margin.

Baptism Records after 1813

In 1813, a new pre-printed parish baptism record book was introduced, and because of this, entries became more standardised. However, there was still no information recorded about the date of birth, although some Clergymen added this information, especially where the baptisms was for someone other than a child. You can find a date of birth on registers after about 1860.

S&N Genealogy
S&N Genealogy Supplies sell Parish Registers on CD-ROM - each page is scanned several times to get the best result, and any missing pages are found and included on the CDs, so you are guaranteed to get the best quality products you need.

The columns to be completed in the baptism register were:

  • Register entry number
  • When Baptised
  • Child's name
  • Parents name
  • Abode
  • Quality, Trade or Profession
  • By whom the ceremony was performed

For records after 1837, you will have to look at Birth Records.

Viewing Baptism Records

To view baptism records, you can use TheGenealogist.co.uk. This vast research site includes the complete BMD indexes for 1837 - 2004, as well as Parish Records for a huge number of areas.. How about a free trial to get you started?

Baptism records can also be viewed on Parish Register CDs that are available from S&N Genealogy Supplies, the largest UK genealogy publisher and retailer, with over a decade of experience in serving the needs of computer-based family historians.

Quick links - Find Parish Registers on CD-ROM - View Introduction - View more information about Parish Registers