Guide to using
our Family Search facility
This guide explains how to get the best out of Jerripedia's improved Family Search facility, the easiest and most effective way to look for your ancestors in Jersey church and Public Registry records
The layout of pages and reports has now been finalised and everything should match what is shown in this guide
History of Jerripedia's family records
In its earliest days in 2010 Jerripedia became the first online source for Jersey family records, and the collection has grown steadily over the years.
To begin with, access to the records was from a simple page providing links to what was available for a limited number families in a few parishes. As the collection grew and records became available for each of the island's 12 parish churches, the Family records page was divided into individual pages for each parish, with A-Z indexes for the main baptism, marriage and burial records and links to other record sets in our collection.
The records are all held in a central database, which is constantly being updated with more records added, any duplicates deleted and corrections made as errors made by the original transcribers are spotted. A major review of the database by a small Jerripedia team during 2018 and 2019 resulted in a significant number of changes, which suggested that it was time to update the Jerripedia indexes, which were last synchronised with the database in 2017.
However, the sheer amount of work this update would involve - over 5,000 Jerripedia pages requiring new lists to be output and substituted for the existing content - is beyond our current resources. We believe that our time is much better devoted to maintaining the accuracy of our records and adding new ones when they become available.
So the indexes will not be updated again.
But don't worry! We are providing a much better alternative - a much more effective means of searching the records for your ancestors. Apart from making it much quicker to locate the records you need, it will enable you to produce your own reports and copy them as simple text files to your computer for future reference.
Using the Family Search facility
Accessing the improved search facilty simply involves clicking on this Family Search link, which you will find in many places throughout Jerripedia's Family research section. That will take you to the first screen below, which should open in a new tab in your browser.
If your browser does not have tabs or is configured to open a new site in a pop-up window, you may have to enable this process in your browser settings
The page will appear like this:
You do not have to register and login to use the search facility, but doing so will give you access to a wider choice of reports, which you can then copy to your own computer. If you want to continue without registering, just click on the JerripediaBMD_Search option below the logo.
Registering is a simple process which, as we just said, will give you access to a wider range of reports. Click on the Register link and follow the straightforward process. If you are a registered Jerripedia user, you can use the same username that you chose for that registration, but you will probably have to choose a new password, because it must be at least six characters long and contain at least one lower case letter, one upper case letter, one number and one non-alphanumeric character. This is all part of the security required to prevent unauthorised and potentially damaging access to our collection of records. An acceptable password might be Puss*1 but choose whatever you like.
If you are not a registered Jerripedia user, that does not matter. Just complete the registration process here with a username and password of your choice. Of course, you only have to register once; there are no questions to answer, and no personal details are required other than a valid email address, which we need to ensure that you are a genuine user. We promise that we will never disclose it to any third-party and will only contact you in the event that we need to advise you of a major change to the search facility.
There is no delay in accepting your registration - once the simple process is complete, you can Login, and start searching
Whether logged in or not, clicking on the JerripediaBMD_Search option below the logo will take you to this page:
This gives you access to all the content contained in our databases, but for the purposes of this guide we are restricting ourselves to the family records, so while you are free to explore all the content, we suggest that you start by clicking on either Births/Baptisms, Marriages or Deaths/Burials at the top of the page. There is also a useful Help section which covers some matters not included in this guide, but you should find all you need here for initial use of the search facility.
We are going to focus on marriages, because that is the most complex of the three sections - but complex does not mean that it is complicated, or in any way difficult to use. It just involves two people, rather than one for births and deaths.
This is the marriage search screen:
If you have not registered as a user and logged in, you will see all of the buttons on the page, but you may not be able to use them. Some are reserved for registered users.
But don't worry, registered or not, you already have full access to the search facility.
We will start our explanation from the bottom of the screen, because that is what everybody will see.
On the left is a list of all the churches from whose registers marriage records are included in our collection. At the moment these are only Anglican churches - the 12 parish churches and seven others. In due course we will be adding Roman Catholic and Non-conformist churches to this list. You can select an individual church whose records you want to search by clicking on the button to the left of the name, but you are most likely to want to search all churches and that is why the system defaults to Select all.
On the right is the search form. You can enter as much or as little information as you want, but let's assume that you know the Groom's family name - Larbalestier in our example - are uncertain about the spelling of his Given Name, and know nothing about the Bride, or the date of the marriage. So just enter Larbalestier in the Groom Family Name field and click on Execute. (Pressing Enter on your keyboard will also start the search)
This is what you will see, and unless you have a very slow Internet connection, the results should appear almost instantly as you click:
Apart from a list of marriages below the search form, you will see that a number of other details have appeared:
To the left, in green, is a box showing that 88 marriage records for Grooms named Larbalestier are contained in our database. Above the records is a slider which indicates that the records start in 1577 and the last was in 1934. You can use this slider to reduce the number of records shown, even if you don't know the exact date of the wedding. Just slide the slider to the right until you reach what you believe to be a suitable start date and click on Go. This will refresh the list.
The results page displays 30 records at a time, in date order, oldest first. You can step through the results, page by page, until you find the record you are looking for. You can move to the next screen by clicking on the Next button, or move backwards by clicking on the Back button. But although there are only 88 records resulting from this search, for some families you will find several hundred marriage records and moving through them 30 at a time is not the best way to work.
You can use the slider, as already mentioned, or you can narrow the search by entering a Start Date and/or End Date in the search form. You can add a Forename for the Groom, or a wife's name, if it is known. You could also select a single parish to search, if you are confident that you know where the couple married.
But perhaps the best way of looking at the results is to display them as a Simple Table by clicking on the box at the bottom of the search form, or the button at the upper right. You can only do this if the number of records produced by your search is below 750. That should be ample for most searches, but if you find more than 750 results, you will have to limit your search, perhaps by entering Start and End dates. (Note that using the slider reduces the number of records displayed, but does not change the total number for the search, so it will not reduce your number to below 750). Once you have done that, the display will change to this:
You can scroll down the listing to view all records (88 in this example) and home in on the one(s) you are interested in. You will see that some of the records have additional Notes giving more information about the couple and their family. The later the record, the more likely it is that there will be extra details. But beware, our database does not necessarily contain all the information in records, particularly those from 1842 onwards. It was designed as an index and search facility, and when it was first created, the marriage records rarely contained any extra information. The post-1842 marriage records, which were added later, include Groom and Bride's occupations and places of birth, previous marriages, and the names and occupations of their fathers. Although we would like to add all this information to our database, and may eventually do so, it will be a very time-consuming process.
Advanced surname search
If you are experienced at using Web search forms, you may have noticed that we do not have an Advanced Search. That is because the basic search form doubles as an Advanced Search, containing many of the facilities which would appear on a separate page on other websites.
Let us say that you think from a handwritten document that the Groom you are looking for was perhaps called Lurbalestier, but you don't really know how the name was spelt, and by visiting our Family pages section you have discovered that Larbalestier, Lerbalestier and Lurbalestier are three spelling variants found in records. Instead of searching for all three spellings, one after another, just enter balestier into the Groom's Surname field. That will find the same 88 records, and you will discover that they were all spelt Larbelestier in the records. Your handwritten document was either wrong, or too difficult to decipher.
If you are confident that the name starts Lar ... but are unsure about the ... balestier bit, try entering Lar into the search field. Up will come 329 records for names such as Large, Maillard, Ballard, Claripel etc. Every instance of lar at the beginning, end or in the middle of a surname in the marriage records has been found.
Not a great help, but try ticking the Starts With box at the top of the search form. That narrows the search to 99 records and it becomes obvious that the name you are looking for is spelt Larbalestier and you can enter that.
Sometimes you may think you know the name you are looking for, but other surnames come up in the search, including the same letters. A good example is Gruchy. If you search for a groom with that name, you will get over 700 results, many of them for de Gruchy. So tick the Exact box at the top of the search form and that will yield just 227 Gruchy records.
Searching with other fields
Perhaps the information you have about your elusive ancestor is even more vague. You don't know his surname at all, but you know that he was called Philip, or possibly Philippe, he married somebody called Andrie, and it was at some point in the 1640s.
So enter what you have got: Philip in the Groom's Given Name field, Andrie in the Bride's Given Name, 1640 as a Start Date and 1650 as an End Date. We change the date years to full dates of the start and end of the period you are searching and invite you click again.
Up comes the following screen:
He was a Larbalestier after all! Of course, if your search is a bit less specific than this one, you might get a large number of similar records and have to narrow the choice down to your ancestor, probably using the Simple Table box.
See how clever our Family search facility is!
Before we move on to the reports you can produce for yourself to keep for future reference, we will take a quick look at the Birth/Baptism and Death/Burial forms
These are the search screens for Births/Baptisms and Deaths/Burials. You will see that they are very similar to the Marriages screen which we have just been explaining, but there are some important variations.
Births/Baptisms gives you the option, below the list of churches, to search for church baptism records of Public Registry birth registrations. The default is Church Records, but you can include both sets of records or select just Public Registry. The central birth registrations provide much less information than church baptisms - just the name of the child, a range of dates covering the record book which includes the birth, and a page number in the book. This is all you need if you want to request a birth certificate from the Public registry - see our page on How to get a Jersey birth certificate and what it contains.
Using the relationship options in the middle of the form you can search for boys and/or girls. There are very few records in our collection for children whose sex we have been unable to determine, and you are probably best ignoring the Unknown option, which is really only for the benefit of administrators.
You will see that the fields in the search box differ from those for marriages. You can search for the baby's Family Name and/or Given Name(s), and also for a father's given name, and the mothers given name and/or maiden name. Once again you can narrow the search by date, include partial names and, once you get some results, narrow them down again using the helpful slider, and display them 30 at a time or in Simple Table format.
Using the 30-record display gives access to another very useful option, the Source button. This is only available for baptisms before 1842, and may not work for a small number of them, but for most it will display the original transcript of the register entry, which may include names of godparents or other useful additional information. On rare occasions the information in the source might differ from that in your search results. Usually the search result will be correct and the source will have been found to have an error, but it may be the other way round. The only way of being certain is to view the original register entry (see below).
The search form for Deaths/Burials is the simplest of all.
It again lists the 29 churches, and provides a choice between Church Records and Public Registry, defaulting to the former. Because they contain so little detail, very few Public Registry records have been added to our database, but we are progressively adding more as they become available with exact dates and other information.
The search form has the usual helpful Starts With and Exact options and then fields for the deceased's Family Name, Given Name(s), Maiden Name and start and end dates. A slider appears once the results have been found, and you again have the option to view them 30 at a time or in Simple Table view.
We have not so far mentioned notes. Each of the record sets has the opportunity for administrators - not users - to add notes. These may contain extra information included in the original record, or helpful details not in the registers but accepted as accurate and relevant.
The opportunities to search using the notes fields are somewhat limited, and probably best avoided by newcomers to our Family Search facility. Perhaps the best example of where notes might be useful is when a marriage or burial record contains details of a previous marriage for a widowed woman.
Here's an example of how this might work. Perhaps you are searching for an ancestor called Mary who lived in the second half of the 19th century, and although you don't know her maiden name or married name, you know that she was previously married to a Mr Gruchy. You want to know who her second husband was
Here the search has worked for you, without adding anything other than Widow of Jean Gruchy to the notes field. You discover that Mary was born Le Bas, married Jean Gruchy, then Jean Le Feuvre, who she was still married to when she died in 1868 at the age of 54. A search like this may yield no results, it may yield many - search for Mary with just Gruchy in notes and you get 13 records, most of them for Mary whose mother was either a Gruchy or de Gruchy.
Search criteria retained
When you discover how useful our Family Search facility can be, you will start using it extensively, and want to flit backwards and forwards between baptisms, marriages and burials. But you probably won't want to have to start your baptism searches again after going off to look for a related marriage or burial record. Don't worry. Providing you are a registered users - and you will be by now, won't you? - the criteria for your earlier search(es) are retained, and you can carry on where you left off in the baptism records. Of course, the same applies to marriages and burials.
The only problem you might encounter if you are using the Family Search facility extensively is that the system will time you out of a search and return you to the main page. No problem! Just click on Baptisms, Marriages or Burials, where you want to resume your search and your original search criteria and results of the last search are still there. These results are even retained when you login again tomorrow!
There have been several mentions above to reports, which you can create and save to your computer. These are essentially the reports which administrators used to generate the indexes and family lists in Jerripedia which are no longer being updated. Why not create your own?
At the moment, in addition to the Simple Table, we have added a Family report. This will produce a chronological listing of all records for a chosen Surname, showing parents and parish for baptisms and basic information for burials. For marriages you have the option to produce a report indexed by grooms or brides' names.
All of these reports appear in pop-up windows, and if your browser settings have been configured to prevent the appearance of pop-up windows, you won't be able to see the reports. You have to change the settings, either to accept all pop-ups, or those generated by jerripediabmd.net. How you do this varies from browser to browser.
The reports you generate are in text form, and can be edited onscreen. So you can copy whole reports, or sections which interest you, and paste them into your computer's word processor, saving them for future use.
And so you are back to square one with a big bonus. You can generate for yourself the most up-to-date and accurate listings which would previously have been the basis for updating Jerripedia's Family records indexes. Along the way you will have probably found records which you would never have located in the indexes because they were for a different parish, or with names spelt in a different way from that you started out looking for.
Viewing the original registers
If you have a subscription to Ancestry.co.uk, or a worldwide subscription, you can view the original marriage registers and all the detail they contain. You can use the information you have discovered in our Family Search facility and feed it into the Ancestry search form. But beware that this approach will not find the record if Ancestry have wrongly transcribed it, as is often the case. Our transcriptions are based on extensive knowledge of Jersey names and are much more accurate than Ancestry's. Using the Ancestry search form is quicker, if it works, but you may find it quicker to use Ancestry's Browse facility to look for the correct page in the original register.
It is not our purpose to explain Ancestry's procedures in any greater detail. If you are a subscriber you will probably know these already. But you may ask, why bother with Jerripedia's search facility at all? Why not go straight to Ancestry? The answers are simple:
- You might not have an Ancestry subscription, which costs a lot of money
- Jerripedia's Family Search facility is free to use for all
- Because of Ancestry's poor standard of transcription, you are much more likely to find a record in Jerripedia
- Our search facility is easier to use and more effective than Ancestry's, particularly if you start by knowing few details
- Jerripedia may provide you with all you want to know about a particular marriage
While using the Jerripedia Family Search facility you may notice what you believe to be errors in the records. You can't correct them yourself, but you can draw our attention to them using the 'Suggestion feature. In the 30-record-per page diplay of search results you will see (providing that you are a logged in, registered user) that each record has a grey box inviting Corrections/Suggestions for that record. Click on that box to leave a message indicating what you believe to be inaccurate in the record.The only information we don't welcome is an indication that you have been unable to find a record in Ancestry. Our collection of church records is more extensive than Ancestry's. We know that they did not have access to some supplementary sets of records, and that they missed some pages altogether from the registers they were given to scan.