The National Archives
Go to TNA
A good place to start your non conformist research is with this helpful TNA guide.
When civil registration began in 1837, many non-conformist registers were collected by the General Register Office (GRO) and are now held at the National Archives in London. These can be viewed at TNA in person. Most of them have been digitized and can be viewed on the subscription site, The Genealogist (below).
Go to The Genealogist
The Genealogist, a subscription site, has digitized copies of the records held by TNA. These include:
- RG4: Non-parochial Registers 1567-1858
- RG5: Protestant Dissenters’ Registry
- RG6: Quaker Registers 1578-1841
- RG7: Fleet Marriages 1667-1777
- RG8: Non-Parochial & Miscellaneous Registers
Also, of interest on this site are scanned copies of the Jewish Chronicle 1905-1908 and Jewish Synagogue Seat holder records.
National Library of Wales
Go to NLW
The NLW holds many non-conformist records relating to Wales. Use the search page to find records. Most of these records have not been digitized, so if you can’t visit the library in person, they do have a coping service. See the Requesting copies page for more information and fees.
The NLW does have a very useful free resource available online, and that is its collection of scanned newspapers. Newspapers often have information about non-conformist churches and conferences, obituaries of members etc.
British Newspaper Archive
Go to BNA
Talking of newspapers, the largest online collection of British (and Irish) newspapers is the British Newspaper Archive. This is a joint venture between the British Library and Findmypast. It’s not free, but it is a fantastic resource for genealogists. Access to this collection is also available with some Findmypast subscription packages.
Go to Scotland’s People
This pay per view site has a large collection of Scottish Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and other non-conformist records available. See the Church Registers guide for more information.
For more on Scotland’s People, see: Scottish Genealogy: Making the Most of Scotland’s People
Go to Findmypast
Findmypast has a large collection of British Roman Catholic and other non-conformist records. See the Search A-Z of record sets page to find the collections.
Go to Ancestry
Ancestry has several non conformist record sets including Liverpool Quaker Registers and Catholic records. See the Card Catalog to search
Go to Family Search
Like the other database sites, Family Search has some non-conformist collections. Check the record collections for Great Britain to find them.
Quakers in Britain
The Library of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in London holds the indexes or digests of Quaker births, marriages and deaths. There is an online catalog which can be searched here.
The Quaker Family History Society has a detailed guide on Researching Quakers. This is well worth checking out if you have Quaker ancestors.
Other useful non-conformist guides
Finally, some other guides which you might find useful:
For further reading, check out Tracing Your Nonconformist Ancestors: A Guide for Family and Local Historians:
Click here to see it on Amazon
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