England Births and Christenings 1538-1975 is a popular record collection available at subscription sites like FindMyPast, Ancestry, and MyHeritage. It’s an excellent finding aid for locating parish records from England. But there’s also a free version available at FamilySearch.

England Births and Baptisms Fee or Free

This is an index-only collection, meaning it contains an extraction of the original record and your search won’t link to images of the original records. This is also not a complete record of all births and christenings in England (not every location and time period is included).

When you search for a name, you’ll potentially find:

  • Name

  • Father’s first and last name

  • Mother’s first name

  • Year of birth

  • Date of baptism

  • Place of baptism

  • FHL film number/GSU film number (microfilm of the original record)

You’ll still want to see the original birth/christening record and one way to do this will be to order the associated film number and view it at a local Family History Center or one of your local libraries with film lending rights.

Caveat-my biggest beef with researching English ancestry is it feels like there was a “Top 10” list of boy and girl names and few parents went off the beaten track. So if you’re a direct ancestor of “Mary Phillips” and don’t want 20,000 search results, try looking for her black-sheep sister Matilda, there are only 1,500 of them. Everyone finds their own tricks along the way and I’d love to hear yours. However you go about it, you don’t have to start with a subscription site. Think like an outsider but search like an insider.

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