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Kent Online Parish Clerks




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Researching Kent Ancestors

This information is not intended to be exhaustive of all Kent resources or of the methods of genealogy.  This information will, however, start you on a successful path to researching your Kent roots.  This information will be supplemented, in the future, with a small booklet of the same name and will be available from this web site for download as a PDF file.



The Great Disruption - The English Civil War and Interregnum  1

The first thing to understand about researching Kent ancestry, and any English ancestry, for that matter, is the great disruption that occurred during the 1640s through to 1661.  During that period many parish registers and records were lost:  firstly, as a result of the ravages of the English civil war;  and, secondly, during the period known as the Interregnum when the country fell under Cromwell's Parliament with its' subsequent changes to parliamentarian procedural acts specifying the manner in which births, marriages and burials were to be carried out.  Consequently, attempting to locate a complete series of births, marriages, deaths, baptism and burials for this approximate 20-year period can be a challenge.

Most registers cease around 1642 when civil war broke out throughout the country.  In 1653 the government assumed control of all church registers and appointed civil officers in each parish to keep custody of the books.  Those officers were also empowered with the sole authority to make entries in the registers.  A fee of one shilling was charged for each entry to be made and many births went unrecorded.

During 1654 the performance of marriages became the sole responsibility of Justices of the Peace rather than the clergy.  Many couples not wishing to offend their beliefs in the sanctity of a church ceremony opted to not have their marriages performed.  Many of those couples, instead, ran the risk of marrying clandestinely in a church ceremony or not at all.

Upon the restoration of Charles II to the throne during 1660 the provision for the keeping of civil records was repealed.  Unfortunately, many of the records of the Civil War and Interregnum period do not survive although some clerics did attempt, post-Restoration, to record the vital events that had occurred in their parishes between 1642 and 1660.

It should be noted, though, that in many cases the civil officer appointed to a parish previously had been the Church of England clergyman for that parish.  Those registers were generally well maintained during that tumultuous time.  I have found that many individuals travelled to a neighbouring parishes to have baptisms and marriages performed if the civil officer was one of those earlier clergymen.  An illustration of this circumstance can be, taken from the comparison of the number of entries found in the parish registers of Boughton-under-Blean and Ospringe, Kent.  The registers of the first-mentioned parish do contain some entries for that time period.  However, the number of entries made in the registers of Ospringe during the period 1642 through 1660 are eight times as great as the number of entries at Boughton-under-Blean, a substantially sized parish in its' own right.  Notations in the Ospringe registers of parishes of residence of the parties are similarly abundant.

Concerning the appointment of parish civil officers, and for the sake of pure interest it is included here, the following statement was recorded in the parish register of Bletchingley in Surrey:

Be it remembered that (in pursuance of an Act of Parliament dated the 24th day of August 1653 concerning the registering of marriages, births and burials) Thomas Chapman of Bletchingley, mason and then clerk of the said parish was made choice of to be the Register of the said parish and that the 19th of September 1653 the said Thomas Chapman was approved of and sworn to be the Parish Register of Bletchingley aforesaid by me Robert Holman of Pendhill in this said parish, Esq., one of the JPs for the said county, in testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my hand "Robert Holman"

As regards Kent, certain registers of births, marriages and burials for the period 25 March 1640 to 25 March 1641 are held at the Houses of Parliament archives - catalogue call reference:  HL-PO-JO-10-1-111.  These registers were calendared in HMC 4th Report, p. 23.  These were likely the returns that had been made to the Archbishop of Canterbury found in his personal papers, and seized at the time of Archbishop Laud's impeachment.  The Houses of Parliament and the archives can be contacted at:


Houses of Parliament
London
SW1A 0PW
England

Tel:  020 7219 3074
Fax:  020 7219 2570
Email:  archives@parliament.uk
Website:  http://www.parliament.uk/archives

Returns exist amongst this collection for the following parishes:

Adisham, Alkham, Allington, Appledore, Ash, Ashford
Barfreston, Barham, Beaksborne, Beansfield, Bethersden, Bettshanger, Biddenden, ;Bilsington, Birchington, Bishopsbourne, Bleane, Bunnington aka Bonnington, Boughton Aluph, Brenzett, Bridge, Brooke, Bruckland aka Brookland, Buckland juxta Dover, Burmersh aka Burmarsh
Canterbury:  All Saints, St. Mildred, St. Alphage, St. Mary Northgate, St. Mary Bredman, St. George, St. Martin, St. Mary Bredin, St. Peter, Holy Cross by Westgate
Caple aka Capel, Challock, Charing, Charlton near Dover, Chart Magna aka Great Chart, Chart Parva aka Little Chart, Chartham, Cheriton, Chillenden, Chislet, Coldred, Cranebrooke aka Cranbrook, Crundall aka Crundale
Deale, Denton, Dover St. James the Apostle, Dymchurch
Eastry, Eastwell, Eboney in the Isle of Oxney aka Ebony, Egerton, Elham, Elmsted, Elmestone, Ewell, Eythorne
Fayrefeild aka Fairfield, Folkstone, Fordwich, Frittenden
Godmersham, Guston
Halden, Ham, Harbledown, St. Michael apud, Hardres Upper, Hardres Lower, Harkington aka Hackington, Hastingleigh, Hauking aka Hawking, Hawkhurst, Hedcorne aka Headcorn, Hearne aka Herne, Hinkhill aka Hinxhill, Hope All Saints, Hothe aka Hoath, Hougham, Hythe
Ickham, Ivyechurch, Kenarton aka Kenardington, Kennington, Kingsnoth
Langdon East, Langdon West, Limminge aka Lyminge, Limprie aka Lympne, Lydd
Marsham aka Mersham, Minster in Thanet, Molash aka Moldash, Mongeham, Monks Horton
Nackington, New Church, Newenden, Newington juxta Hythe, Norborne aka Northbourne, Orlestone
Paddlesworth, Patrixbourne, Petham, Pluckley, Postling, Preston juxta Wingham
Reculver, Ringwould, Ripple, River, Rolvenden, Romney New, Romney Old, Rucking
St. Dunstan, St. John in Thanet, St. Lawrence in Thanet, St. Margaret at Cliff, St. Nicholas Wade, St. Paul, St. Peter Thanet, Saltwood, Sandhurst, Sandwich, Seasalter, Sellendge aka Sellinge, Sevington, Sholden, Sheppardswell aka Sibbertswold, Smarden, Smeeth, Snargate, Snave, Stanford aka Standford, Staple, Stelling, Stodmersh aka Stodmarsh, Stone in Oxney, Stowermouth aka Stourmouth, Stowting aka Stouting, Sturry, Sutton juxta Dover, Swalecliffe, Swinckefield aka Swingfield
Tilmanstone
Waldershare, Walmer, Waltham, Warehorne, Westbeere, Westcliffe, West Hythe, Westwell, Whitstaple aka Whitstable, Wickhambreux, Wingham, Woodchurch, Woodnesborough, Word alias Worth, Wootton, and Wye.  One return has the name of the place torn off.


Geographical Divisions amongst Kent's Parishes

The second thing to understand about Kent is that there are divisions of the various parishes into geographical areas - East Kent, being parishes that lay east of the river Medway;  West Kent, being parishes lay west of the river Medway but are not included in the Medway area;  Medway area parishes, being a number of parishes that lay in and around Chatham, Rochester, and Gillingham;  and, London area parishes, being parishes that were once part of west Kent but have been absorbed for governmental purposes into the Greater London area such as Erith, Plumstead, Frindsbury, and Deptford.  The area of Kent in which your ancestors lived and worked will dictate at which archives and libraries you will need to conduct the bulk of your research.  There are archives and libraries which are common sources for all records relating to all persons throughout Kent such as the National Archives at Kew, Surrey which holds military, census, immigration, emigration, passenger arrivals and departures as well as other records of national provenance.



East Kent Parishes:

For East Kent parishes as well as those formerly in the Diocese of Rochester but now in the Diocese of Canterbury a catalogue of the holdings of the Canterbury Cathedral Archives, Centre for Kentish Studies, and the record office at Whitfield by Dover are searchable on-line at:

http://www.kentarchives.org.uk

The search facility is a bit cumbersome and awkward to use but the rewards of mastering it are limitless.  A thorough search of the Kent archives website can help you locate ecclesiastical court actions such as depositions in testamentary actions, deeds, leases, other land records, tax records, Churchwardens' and Overseers' Accounts in which your ancestors were mentioned.

Also, watch the Kent archives catalogues for references to enclosures, estate maps, tenants' rolls and manorial rolls, photographs, drawings, letters, diaries and such like.  The expanded search results for any particular indexed search result will provide the name of the archive at which that item is physically housed together with the appropriate archive call number for that item.  The addresses for all of the offices can be found on the homepage of that website.

An excellent in-depth guide has been published by David Wright, MA. and in his own words is described as:


Kentish records at the Canterbury, Maidstone and Whitfield Archives, as well as those housed in London, are listed right down to the latest accessions in April 2002.  The details of the contents page is displayed here (below left) for reference together with a sample page from the exhaustive gazetteer (below right) which includes every ancient and daughter parish (as well as nonconformist chapels) extant in the diocese before 1900, with their jurisdictions and records.  Note the final unique index of over 1,000 East Kent manors - their records are often the only way to take pedigrees back before the parish register period.


Medway Area Parishes

The parish registers are freely searchable online on the Cityark website at:

Medway Union

The Cityark website also has a text search facility that allows one to search through all of its holdings, including photographs, diaries, journals, Will indices and so on.



West Kent Parishes

At the formation of the Northwest Kent Family History Society at Bromley during 1978 its' area of responsibility was defined as "South East London and western Kent".  Thus its' reach extends north to the river Thames and west to the original Kent/Surrey boundary.  The area takes in those areas that were incorporated into the County of London in 1889, as well as the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Bexley, Lewisham and Bromley which became part of Greater London in 1965.  Their website can be viewed at:

Northwest Kent Family History Society

In 1979 the Woolwich & District FHS was formed.  For project purposes a common boundary between it and the Northwest Kent Family History Society was agreed to be the old A2, which runs west to east approximately parallel to the Thames.  However, certain activities such as census projects and the est Kent Sources publication of the NWFHS have, for historical reasons, overlapped with the Woolwich FHS area.

The eastern extent of the area of the NWFHS remained ill-defined until November 1986 when a meeting was held between it and officers of the Kent Family History Society to discuss a common boundary for project purposes.  This was agreed to be a line running from the Thames at Northfleet/Gravesend, then south to the Sussex boundary at Frant.   Since this last refinement of its' boundaries the area officiated by the Northwest Kent Family History Society has not been formally re-defined.  However, publication of its'West Kent Sources, and the website Parish Gazetteer cover the whole of west Kent, i.e.  the original area of the Diocese of Rochester.

In 1991 the Tunbridge Wells FHS was established, covering the parishes overlapping the Kent and Sussex border around the town of Tunbridge Wells - the extreme southern point of the map at left.  There is no formal boundary established with the Tunbridge Wells FHS, but the two societies appear to generally agree upon areas of mutual interest for particular projects.

The Society meets regularly with representatives of its' neighbouring societies in Kent so as to avoid duplication of effort or conflict of interest.  Enquiries to the Secretary, which appear to be more properly dealt with by one of the neighbouring Societies, are referred to them.

The ancient parishes are the entries in bold in the table below.  Some places such as Sidcup, Swanley and Tunbridge Wells, which are now quite sizeable towns, were not ancient parishes.

Addington
Ditton
Kemsing
Seal Chart
Allhallows Hoo
Downe
Keston
Sevenoaks
Allington
Dunton Green
Kidbrooke
Shipbourne
Ash-next-Ridley
East Barming
Kingsdown
Shooters Hill
Ashurst
East Farleigh
Kippington
Shoreham
Aylesford
East Malling
Knockholt
Shorne
Barming, East
East Peckham
Lamberhurst
Shortlands
Barming, West
East Wickham
Lamorbey
Sidcup
Beckenham
Eccles
Langton Green
Singlewell
Belvedere
Edenbridge
Larkfield
Slade Green
Bessels Green
Eltham
Lee
Snodland
Bexley
Erith
Leigh
South Darenth
Bexleyheath
Eynsford
Lewisham
Southborough
Bickley
Farleigh, East
Leybourne
Southend
Bidborough
Farleigh, West
Lidsing
Southfleet
Biggin Hill
Farnborough
Longfield
Speldhurst
Birling
Farningham
Luddesdown
St Mary Cray
Blackheath
Fawkham
Lullingstone
St Mary Hoo
Borough Green
Five Oak Green
Luton
St Paul's Cray
Borstal
Foots Cray
Malling, East
St Werburgh Hoo
Brasted
Fordcombe
Malling, West
Stansted
Brenchley
Forest Hill
Mark Beech
Stoke
Brockley
Four Elms
Matfield
Stone-next-Dartford
Bromley
Frant
Meopham
Strood
Brompton
Frindsbury
Mereworth
Sundridge
Burham
Gillingham
Merston
Sutton-at-Hone
Capel
Grain
Milton-next-Gravesend
Swanley
Catford
Gravesend
Mottingham
Swanscombe
Chalk
Green St Green
Nettlestead
Sydenham
Charlton
Greenhithe
New Cross
Teston
Chatham
Greenwich
New Hythe
Tonbridge
Chelsfield
Groombridge
North Cray
Trottiscliffe
Chevening
Grove Park
Northfleet
Tudeley
Chiddingstone
Hadlow
Nursted
Tunbridge Wells
Chipstead
Halling
Offham
Underriver
Chislehurst
Halstead
Orpington
Upnor
Cliffe-at-Hoo
Hartley
Otford
Wateringbury
Cobham
Hatcham
Paddock Wood
Weald
Collier Street
Hayes
Peckham, East
Welling
Cooling
Hever
Peckham, West
West Barming
Cowden
Hextable
Pembury
West Farleigh
Cray, Foots
High Halstow
Penge
West Kingsdown
Cray, North
Higham
Penshurst
West Malling
Cray, St Mary
Hildenborough
Perry Street
West Peckham
Cray, St Paul's
Hither Green
Plaistow
West Wickham
Crayford
Honor Oak Park
Platt
Westcombe Park
Crockenhill
Hoo Allhallows
Plaxtol
Westerham
Crockham Hill
Hoo St Mary
Plumstead
Wickham, East
Cudham
Hoo St Werburgh
Ridley
Wickham, West
Culverstone
Horsmonden
Riverhead
Wilmington
Cuxton
Horton Kirby
Rochester
Woodlands
Darenth
Hunton
Rosherville
Woolwich
Darenth, South
Ide Hill
Rusthall
Wouldham
Dartford
Ifield
Ruxley
Wrotham
Denton
Ightham
Ryarsh
Yalding
Deptford
Isle of Grain
Seal
 

The geographical coverage includes all the parishes found within the original boundaries of the diocese of Rochester, i.e.  those prevailing up to 1845.  Until this date the diocese extended from the River Thames in the north and the Surrey border in the west to Sussex in the south and to a boundary in the east approximating to the River Medway.



London Area Parishes

If your ancestors were more from the northwest of Kent, e.g.  Woolwich, Dartford, Bexleyheath, or any other London area parish then you really do have to be quite specific as to which parish is involved.  The local archives and local studies units are geared, more or less to poor law union.  There are Bexleyheath, Bromley, Dartford, Greenwich, Gravesend, Lewisham, the London Metropolitan Archives and the Kent County Record Office at Maidstone, all involved.  At each of these an appointment is required to use computers for searches and to view certain types of archival material.


Bexley and Bexley Heath

Bexley Local Studies and Archives Centre, Townley Road, Bexleyheath is designated as the Diocesan Record Office for the Church of England Dioceses of Rochester and Southwark.  its' holdings include parish registers of all Church of England parishes that are located in the London Borough of Bexley, namely:  Abbey Wood, Barnehurst, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Belvedere,Blendon, Crayford, East Wickham, Erith, Falconwood, Lamorbey, Northumberland Heath, North Cray, Sidcup (formerly known as Foots Cray until 1902), and Thamesmead.  It also holds many other records relating to the people and the local history of the area, including school records, maps, plans, telephone directories, Indexes to census returns, Voters lists and electoral registers, Street and Trade directories, Rate Books, Tithe Awards, and Manorial records including surveys, along with much more material.  The catalogue can be searched online at:

Bexley Local Studies and Archive Centre

Bromley

Bromley Register Office, Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley holds the records of births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships that occurred in the borough of Bromley from 1837 to the present day. But there is a microfilm copy of the national index of civil registration available at the Local Studies Department in the Bromley Central Library. The main website for Bromley Borough is at:

Bromley Borough

London Borough of Bromley Local Studies & Archives, Central Library, High Street, Bromley, Kent has been appointed by the Bishop of Rochester as a diocesan record office to hold records of Anglican parishes in the borough in the deaneries of Beckenham, Bromley and Orpington, and by the Bishop of Southwark for records of West Wickham. Bromley covers the ancient parishes of Beckenham, Bromley, Chelsfield, Chislehurst, Cudham, Downe, Farnborough, Hayes, Keston, Orpington, St. Mary Cray, St. Paul's Cray, and West Wickham, with the hamlets of Mottingham and Penge.  Penge was formerly in Surrey, the rest in Kent.

Bromley Local Studies & Archives Section holds records of more than 20 Anglican churches, including registers from the 16th century.  Most have been microfilmed to c.1900 and can also be consulted at LDS Family History Centres (see www.familysearch.org for the Family History Library catalogue).

The Borough of Bromley Local Studies & Archives Section also holds records relating to the Bromley poor law union, census returns, Kent directories, newspapers, businesses, landed estates, schools, societies and charities, individuals, Tithe maps and apportionments.

Bromley Local Studies Archives

Their catalogue is available online at:

Bromley Archives Catalogue

Charlton

Charlton St. Paul, or Old Charlton, lies in the current borough of Greenwich and had formerly been in the diocese of Southwark.  In 1908 it was reunited with a former parish of St. Luke and was then known as Charlton St. Luke with Holy Trinity.  The oldest surviving registers date from 1901 and the church was in use until it was bombed during 1940.  Following the Second World War the church was demolished and never re-instituted.  The record office for Charlton is the London Metroplitan Archives - see URL following below under Woolwich.


Dartford

The Borough of Dartford comprises the town of Dartford and eight surrounding parishes of Stone, Bean, Darenth, Longfield and New Barn, Southfleet, Sutton-at-Hone and Hawley, Swanscombe and Greenhithe, and Wilmington.  Cemetery records for Dartford are held by Dartford Borough Council.  Medway Council has been appointed by the Bishop of Rochester as a diocesan record office to hold records of Anglican parishes in the borough of Dartford including the registers for Darenth, Dartford, Longfield, Southfleet, Sutton-at-Hone, Swanscombe, Greenhithe and Wilmington. Those may be accessed freely online at:

http://cityark.medway.gov.uk

Medway Council has limited other records relating to a few Dartford business that had been contained in solicitors' and others' records and papers.  However, the bulk of the records pertaining to Dartford and its surrounding parishes, including school and poor law records, are deposited at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone the catalogue of which can be searched online at:

http://www.kentarchives.org.uk

Deptford

Deptford had been separated into its two parishes as of 1900 with the parish of St. Paul forming the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford in the County of London between 1900 and 1965, when it became part of the London Borough of Lewisham along with the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham.  The new borough covered the same area of the parish that had been separated from the neighbouring parish of St. Nicholas Deptford, to its north, in 1730 and included the areas of Brockley, New Cross and St. John's.  See Lewisham, below, for further information as to archives and registration offices.

Also during 1900 Deptford St. Nicholas was united to the borough of Greenwich.  See Greenwich, below, for further information as to archives and registration offices.


Eltham

Eltham is a district in the London Borough of Greenwich.  Previously, Eltham was a civil parish of Kent until 1889 when it became part of the County of London.  From 1900 to 1965 it formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich.

The record office for Eltham is located at the London Metropolitan Archives, the catalogue of which can be searched online at:

www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/lma

Church records may be deposited with the London Metropolitan Archives but additional church records may still be with the parish, or possibly at Greenwich Council offices.  See additional information concerning the Greenwich Council with links under Woolwich, below.


Greenwich East and West

Greenwich was divided into the two Poor Law Unions of Greenwich East and Greenwich West from the beginning of Civil registration in 1837, the boundary running down what is now Greenwich Church Street and Crooms Hill.  Greenwich includes Deptford St. Nicholas (St. Paul being in Lewisham Borough).

Most of the older parish registers for Greenwich are deposited at London Metropolitan Archives, but in some cases transcripts and copies of microfilm are available at the Heritage Centre.  See additional information concerning civil registration and archival material with links under Woolwich, below.


Lewisham

The Lewisham Council has authority for the areas surrounding Lewisham including Bellingham, Blackheath, Brockley, Catford, Deptford St. Paul (St. Nicholas being in Greenwich Borough), Downham, Forest Hill, Grove Park, Hither Green, Ladywell, Lee, Lewisham, New Cross, and Sydenham.  The Register office for births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and citizen ceremonies is located at 368 Lewisham High Street, London.  The register office keeps records of the births, marriages, civil ceremonies, deaths and stillbirths registered in the borough of Lewisham from 1837 to the present day.  There is a fee of £18 per 6 hours charged for searching the indexes at their premises.  The bereavement services office at Lewisham Crematorium, Verdant Lane, London holds over 190,000 burial and cremation records from Lewisham cemeteries.  The borough's records are not available in electronic format, but staff can do a search of the records for a fee of £30.

The Lewisham local history and archives centre at Local history and archives centre at Lewisham Library (second floor), 199-201 Lewisham High Street, London and has been used as the depository of Church of England parish registers by most all of the parishes within the Lewisham Borough.  The archives centre also holds some non-conformist church registers, local directories, census returns, local histories and electoral registers.  Wills proved prior to 1 January 1859 were proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in London and those can be searched freely online at The National Archives, Documents Online section at:

The National Archives, Documents Online

Plumstead East and West

Plumstead is a place and electoral ward in the London Borough of Greenwich.  The Greenwich registry office holds the original civil registration registers from 1837 to the present day for Plumstedad East and West.  Most of the older parish registers for the Greenwich area are deposited at London Metropolitan Archives, but in some cases transcripts and copies of microfilm are available at the Heritage Centre.  See additional information concerning Greenwich Council and archives, with links, under Woolwich, below.


Woolwich

Civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths from 1837 to the present for the registration sub-districts of Woolwich Arsenal and Woolwich Dockyard are maintained at the Greenwich Registry Office.  Some Woolwich records are maintained at the Greenwich Council Heritage Centre.  Maps, telephone directories, newspapers, street directories along with other local resources for Woolwich are maintained at the Woolwich Reference Library, First Floor, Woolwich Library, Calderwood Street, Greenwich.  Civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths for Woolwich Arsenal and Woolwich Dockyard are maintained at the Greenwich Registry Office.

Most of the older parish registers for the Greenwich area are deposited at London Metropolitan Archives, but in some cases transcripts and copies of microfilm are available at the Heritage Centre.  Similarly, the early poor law workhouse records and the post-1868 poor law union records are also maintained at the London Metropolitan Archives.  There are, however, a few copies of workhouse records on deposit at the Greenwich Heritage Centre.  he situation as regards school records is largely the same:  most primary records of schools are with the LMA while only general background information of schools in Greenwich Borough remains with the Greenwich Heritage Centre.  The Greenwich Heritage Centre does not hold any records relating to school pupils.

Online catalogue search of the holdings of the London Metropolitan Archives is at:

http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/lma

Greenwich Council Heritage Centre website can be accessed at:

Greenwich Council Heritage Centre


Family History Societies:

The Kent Family History Society website is at:

http://www.kfhs.org.uk/index.htm

The Kent Family History Society was formed in June, 1974 and now has approximately 4,000 members Worldwide.  The Society publishes an informative quarterly journal which is sent free to members.  It has over 2,000 research publications available on microfiche and has also now started to produce CD's of local information all of which are available for sale to members and non-members.

There are six active branches of the Society in Kent with the latest branch at Deal having been opened in the year 2000.  In addition, a Branch has been opened in New Zealand and for those members in any part of the World, the arrival of the Internet has allowed for the creation of "The Global Branch".  It is the enthusiasm of the Global members that have pushed for the opening of the Society's own Web site, strongly supported by the Chairman and Officers of the Executive Committee.

The site will be expanded to contain information to help all our existing members and is also here to assist potential members in finding details for joining an extremely active and interesting Society.  The Official Office of the Society is:


Suite 1H
Waterham Business Park
Highstreet Road
Waterham
Near Faversham
Kent ME13 9EJ
England

Tel/Fax: [+44] 01227 - 751 976
E-mail: chairman@kfhs.org.uk

There are several other historical and genealogical societies throughout Kent and this link may provide you with some useful addresses:

http://www.kent-opc.org/addresses.html


The Institute of Heraldry and Genealogical Studies:

This Canterbury based library has extensive holdings of Kent material.  You can view their catalogue online at:

http://www.ihgs.ac.uk/library/pdf/kent.pdf

An appointment is required to access the reading room.  Particulars can be found at this link:

Family History Library and Collections


Libraries and Local Studies Units

The National Newspaper Library (Colindale) and the British Library, both of which are attached to the British Museum, are also examples of national libraries holding special collections.  In the case of the National Newspaper Library the collection is focused on the newspapers that had been published throughout Great Britain.  Unfortunately, all early newspapers were lost during a fire.  However, that library does have an almost complete collection of newspapers (some 10,000 issues) running from the mid-1700s to date.  Colindale's catalogue may be searched on-line at:

Newspaper Collection

The British Library (http://www.bl.uk/), among its other irreplaceable manuscripts, has a complete collection of the all-important Gentlemen's Magazine from the time of its first publication in 1731 through to its demise in 1868.  Many issues of the Gentlemen's Magazine, together with other publications such as Notes & Queries have been transcribed and are searchable on-line at the website of the Bodleian Library at Oxford:

http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ilej/journals/

Many metropolitan libraries throughout Great Britain have a special department known as the Local Studies Unit.  These units operate much along the lines of American Town Historians for the object of the units is to collect, preserve and make available historical and genealogical information specific to their locale.  Many Local Studies Units have prepared parish register maps and those in larger centres such as Liverpool have a citywide map showing and indexing the location of all churches and cemeteries within that city.  Fees are payable to the Local Studies Unit but the value of the information they can provide to the British ancestor hunter is well worth the expense.



Online Offerings of the FFHS

The Federation of Family History Societies is the parent organization for all of the individual family history societies throughout England and Wales.  During 2008 it started to dismantle its' website at www.familyhistoryonline.org and partnered with FindMyPast.com to host its ever growing collection of transcripts of parish registers, cemeteries, census, local collections and its' major publication, the National Burial Index.  The collection can be searched for free on www.FindMyPast.com but there is a slight increase in the price to view a transcript than it had been on its' own website.  Previously, information for Kent had been largely drawn from the National Burial Index, 2nd edition, which is greatly expanded from the three parishes that had been included on the 1st edition of the index.  There is also good coverage available for Tunbridge Wells.  The coverage for Kent on the 2nd edition can be viewed online at:

Find My Past


Online Offerings of the Kent Archaeological Society:

Monumental inscriptions and tithe apportionment data can be accessed for free via the web site of the Kent Archaeological Society (the "KAS") at:

http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/research.htm

The KAS have also posted indices to some early Wills pre-1660 that had been proved in Rochester deaconry (west Kent) as well as individual collections of early Wills for several east Kent parishes such as Ash-next-Sandwich and Herne.  The KAS is slowing putting online articles from the Society's early journals and has completed the posting of the Kent 1334/35 Lay Subsidy Roll.  All information is free to search and free to view.  Most of the Monumental inscriptions and tithe awards have been linked to from the individual parish pages of the Kent-OPC website.



Online Catalogue from Access to English and Welsh Archives:

The A2A website was set up to act as a central information point for all of the record offices throughout England and Wales.  The A2A website indexes the catalogues of the various archive offices.  The indexes that are posted are prepared by the individual archive offices and consequently, the amount of information for a particular type of resource may be more complete or sparser than what is found in other counties.  The A2A website at:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/

Sometimes, if a search of Cityark or the East Kent Archives offices fails to turn up any interesting information, a search on A2A just may provide some interesting results.  The search facility here is much easier to use but you can search only by either selecting one archive office at a time or by selecting an area of the country.  For example, because there are several different archives throughout Kent, I usually tend to search on geographical area for England southeast.  This will produce results from archives in Sussex, Surrey, Buckinghamshire as well as from Kent.  Annoying, but you can order the search results by archive office on the search results page.  At least, that way, although you may have to scroll through dozens of pages to find all of the archive offices for Kent, at least they will be all grouped together under their respective headings i.e.  Canterbury Cathedral Archives, Centre for Kentish Studies, East Kent Archives Office and so on.



Online searching at the National Archives:

The website of the catalogue of the National Archives at:

National Archives web site

and is another freely searchable site that you will want to spend some time on.  The National Archives houses records such as the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, Seamen's service records, soldiers' records of services, war medal cards, many national tax rolls, immigration records, records of Chelsea pensioners, inquisitions for property, and many other records.

Two separate searches are available that will lead into other areas of the site.  Search the Catalogue for records relating to your ancestors in the categories of Home Office, War Office, Equity, Chancery, Court of Wards and Liveries, Treasury Office, Probate, and records in all other official categories.  Search Documents Online to find and purchase by download, Prerogative Court wills, medal cards, soldier's records, and Seamen's service records.

Although it is possible to request the purchase of a particular document found in the Catalogue, the fees are excessive.  Most of the documentation in the National Archives at Kew has been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and is available for rental from the Family History Library via one of its worldwide Family History Centres.  See the section relating to the LDS for a web address where you can locate a Family History Centre near your home.



The Latter-Day Saints:

If you are able you should arrange to visit a Family History Centre that is near your location.  You can search for the closest centre by visiting this link:

Find your local Family History Centre

Through the Family History Centre you will be able to rent microfilm and microfiche of original parish registers for churches throughout Kent.  There are some exceptions in relation to parishes in West Kent (those lying west of the Medway).

The I.G.I.  (International Genealogical Index), is freely searchable online at:

Family Search

You might wish to visit this link and print out a copy of the table found there as it sets out the time periods and batch numbers of records on the IGI for Kent:

Kent Research Planning Aid


CARN Tickets

Each of the formal archive offices has slightly different rules for registering for a CARN ticket.   Common to all archives are the requirements for two passport size photographs (some may require that you be photographed at their facility) as well as up to two separate pieces of formal proof of identity are required.

The gold standard by which to be absolutely certain of being granted a CARN ticket is to prepare yourself for your first visit as described here.

You must bring two documents with you - one to prove your identity and one to prove your address.

The process only takes a few minutes and may includes the archive taking your photograph for the photocard.  The photograph must show your full head without any head or face covering.  If such an item is worn for religious or medical reasons, please notify a member of staff.  Some archives may require to bring two such photographs with you so it would be best to enquire ahead of your visit as to that particular archive's procedure.

Acceptable documents for registration for proof of your identity (must include a valid signature) are:


proof of your address (internet printouts or online statements are not accepted) are:


Readers' tickets are valid for up to three years, depending on the length and type of research, from the date of issue and they can be renewed after this period with proof of both identity and address.

Lost or forgotten tickets can be replaced for a charge of £5.00 or so, upon production of proof of identity and address.

At some archives stolen tickets will be replaced without charge if you show the registration desk a police crime reference number and acceptable identification.

1Excerpt from Introduction to Genealogy, by Susan D. Young.  Publisher:  Ancestry Solutions, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.  © 1997, 2003, The Family Historian.  ISBN 1-894216-01-6.