Jerripedia adds over
church family records
to its collection
5 March 2017
Jerripedia was founded in 2010, with the express objective of making available to historians information about Jersey which was either not available online at all, or very difficult to find.
Church family records
It rapidly became apparent that unless Jerripedia included church family records, family historians not able to access them in Jersey would continue to be frustrated in their effort to trace their ancestors in the island.
Today we are pleased to announce a major step forward with the addition of another 100,000-plus Church of England records to our existing collection of over 350,000. When all extra records have been added our total will be very close to half a million records.
It was not until 2016 that Jersey Heritage, who are the guardians of these records, released the original church registers which have been hidden away from the public since they were deposited at Jersey Archive, to Ancestry.
In January 2017 the registers were made available only to Ancestry subscribers, together with an index based on transcriptions littered with errors.
- How are researchers looking for Poingdestre family records supposed to guess that a marriage record could be transcribed as Tofugolerta?
- How can 900 marriage records for du Feu and Le Feuvre contain more than 200 with the surnames wrongly transcribed? In some lists Du Fen and Le Fenore seem almost as common as the correct names.
The records offered to their subscribers by Ancestry include most of those pre-1842 records which have been in Jerripedia’s collection for some five years, and the 30,000 St Helier baptisms from 1842 to 1909 which constituted the first significant set of records added to our site in 2010. There are gaps in the Ancestry coverage, however, and some of the pre-1842 records in our indexes cannot be found on Ancestry.
In addition, Ancestry now offer baptism records for most parishes, and seven other Church of England churches up to 1915 (some parishes’ records stop earlier), and marriages and burials for most up to 1940.
By 18 March 2017 all these records had been added to our associated Jerripediabmd database and the Jerripedia team had completed the task of drawing on the information in that database to update all our family record indexes to include the new records. This means that Jerripedia now offers nearly half a million church family records.
Free and accurate
There are three major differences between what we are providing and what Ancestry offers its subscribers
- Jerripedia records are free for everyone to access
- Jerripedia records have a significantly higher standard of accuracy of transcriptions of names, making it far more likely that our users will find their ancestors’ records
- Jerripedia is unfortunately not able to offer page views of the church registers – there are over 70,000 on Ancestry, and even if we had permission, it would not be feasible to add these to our website.
But, in addition to providing the core information from each record in our A-Z index for each parish and separate church, and their availability in our fully searchable database, we are also going to experiment with a free look-up service for those who do not have an Ancestry subscription and do not have a library nearby which can provide access.
Our look-up service is offered alongside a further service to help researchers trace records of ancestors which they have failed to find in our indexes, perhaps because despite our best efforts, a name has been wrongly transcribed.
In return, we are asking Jerripedia users to help us improve on the accuracy of our records by pointing out any errors they find.
As the separate article on this service makes clear, this is not an offer to carry out unlimited research on behalf of those who should be doing the work themselves, but to help those whose progress might be frustrated by wrongly transcribed records for their ancestors.
We don’t know whether we are going to be able to cope with the demand without affecting our work on adding and updating Jerripedia content, but we are going to give it a try to see how we get on.
Family record pages
We have taken the opportunity presented by the need to update our Parish indexes to create new pages for each parish, and the seven new churches for which we now have records.
Each page now contains just four indexes
- Marriages indexed by groom’s surname
- Marriages indexed by bride’s surname – a format not previously offered
All the new pages have now been completed, and links to them are on our Family records page. Don’t worry if you were used to using some of the old indexes and still want to access them; they are not being discarded, but will be accessible via links on the new pages, and for those who have bookmarked them, the page titles have not changed.
St John records have always been a problem, because a full set of transcriptions on the same lines as those available for the other parishes did not exist. The St John records were transcribed in the 1990s, but folders of baptisms, marriages and burials were taken home by a researcher and never seen again.Jerripedia has provided an index to records for a limited number of prominent families over a longer period than the other parishes, and now the availability of the new records enables us to fill the gaps. We have completed a new index page for this parish in the same style as the others, and included a large number of records which have been added to the database. However, we are aware that there are still some missing records, mainly before 1713, and we are working through the parish registers to identify these and add them.