Non-Conformist records go back to the mid-1600's when various groups refused to conform to the Church of England and wished to have religious freedom to worship in their own way. These groups include Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, Catholics and Unitarians.
The number of non-conformists is said to equal the number following the Church of England, making these records invaluable for your research. TheGenealogist is the official TNA publisher for Non-Conformist records and also provides the largest collection online with over 8 million records.
Another part of this set of records are the early registrations of births, marriages and deaths from various sources. They include the birth records at Dr Williams' Library in London, hospital records of maternity, overseas registrations for British citizens and those on board ships.
RG4: Non-Parochial Registers, 1567 to 1858
RG5: Birth Certificates from the Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist Registry and from the Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry
Protestant Dissenters' Registry
The Protestant Dissenters' Registry served the congregations of Baptists, Independents and Presbyterians in London and within a twelve mile radius of the capital. However, parents from most parts of the British Isles and even abroad also used the registry. It was started in 1742, with retrospective entries going back to 1716, and continued until 1837. Unlike RG4, RG5 contains only the birth records.
The increased requirement to provide evidence of birth led the Dissenting Deputies (representing Baptists, Congregationalists & Presbyterians) to establish a births register of their children in 1743 at the Dissenters' Library.
It subsequently became open to anyone, regardless of distance or denomination, provided a fee was paid.
The records contains details of three generations of a family (approximately 200,000 named individuals) and were originally registered at Rev. Daniel Williams' Library, Redcross Street, Cripplegate, London from April 6th 1743 to Dec 30th 1837.
Wesleyan Methodist Registry
The Wesleyan Methodist Registry was set up in 1818 and provided registration of births and baptisms of Wesleyan Methodists throughout England, Wales and elsewhere. The registers continued until 1838, with some retrospective registration of births going back to 1773. The Wesleyan Methodist registry opened in Paternoster Row, London in 1818.
The certificates and the register entry have the name and sex of the child, the name and address of the father, the name of the mother and of both her parents, the date and place of birth, and the name of the Wesleyan circuit, with the signature (or name, in the register) of the parents, the witnesses to the birth, and the baptising minister. Contains details of three generations of each family (about 50,000 named individuals).
RG6: Quakers (Society of Friends)
The Society of Friends' (Quakers) Registers, Notes and Certificates of Births, Marriages and Burials ranging from 1578-1841 across England and Wales. A number of original birth and burial notes and original marriage certificates are included. The documents in the series are arranged by Quarterly or Monthly meetings, which consisted of a county or combinations of counties.
This record set allows access to 1.3 millionindividuals, complete with images and full transcript complete with mini family tree.
RG7: Fleet Records
If you have lost a marriage in London or the home counties, the Fleet marriages may hold the information you're looking for. These are estimated to account for up-to a third of the marriages that happened in the country during their peak (Commission of Marriage Law in 1868). Until now it hasn't been possible to search these often overlooked records. The majority of the people marrying came from London, Middlesex, Kent, Essex, Herts, Bucks, Berks, Surrey and Sussex.
There are about 800,000 people named in the marriage records and about 2400 people mentioned in baptismal records. This makes it a substantial set of records that cover the period 1667 to 1777. See the Reference Books section on your Research View page for Mark Herber's books on Fleet Marriages.
RG8: Non-Parochial & Miscellaneous Registers
Registers of birth, baptisms, death, burials and marriages which were collected by the Non-Parochial Registers Commissioners of 1857, or which were later deposited for safe custody at the General Register Office and the Public Record Office. Some of these registers were authenticated by the Commissioners, and are marked to that effect; others were left unauthenticated because they arrived at the General Register Office after the Commission was dissolved. Some may have been refused authentication by the Commissioners.
Among the more extensive collections in this series are the registers of the British Lying-in Hospital, Holborn, which record particulars of births and baptisms; registers of burials in the Victoria Park Cemetery, the New Burial Ground, Southwark, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, Hackney, and the Bethnal Green Protestant Dissenters' Burying Ground; registers of Chapels Royal at St James's Palace, Whitehall and Windsor Castle.
The Lying-in Hospital records include over 600,000 entries and cover the birth and baptism records of various children born in the hospital. It also includes death dates where it has been noted. They cover the period 1749 to 1868 and are very detailed; records can include the following information:- The Date and order of admission, Woman and Husband's Name, Occupation, Woman's Age, Parish, Time of Reckoning, Came in, Went out on leave, Returned, Delivered, Child Baptised, Woman Discharged, Recommender's Name.
The rest of the series contains the archive of the Russian Orthodox Church in London, 1721-1927. The records include not only registers of births, marriages, deaths and conversions, but also comprehensive general records on the day-to-day workings of the church. The usual language is Russian, with some Greek; there are a few documents such as certificates, letters and passports in English, French and German. These records are under the link RG8 Books.
RG32: Registers Abroad and on British & Foreign Ships, 1831-1969
Contains documents relating to births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials abroad, and on British as well as foreign ships, of British subjects, nationals of the colonies, the Commonwealth and countries under British jurisdiction. Events affecting some foreign nationals are also included.
Records consist mainly of certificates issued by foreign registration authorities and copies of entries kept by incumbents of English churches and missions, chaplains and burial authorities between 1831 and 1969. Many are in local languages and these have been translated for this service. The records also contain documents sent voluntarily by individuals to the Registrar General. For the Second World War period some notifications of deaths of members of the British armed services, prisoners of war, civilians, internees and deaths through aircraft lost in flight are included. The records covering deaths in Japanese and German prison internment camps include executions. Notifications of some post-war deaths of civilians in mining service are preserved and there is also material relating to the Channel Islands and a return for births on Lundy Island (Devon).
RG33: Foreign Registers & Returns 1627-1960
Registers of Overseas Birth, Marriage, Death and Burial of British Subjects including those onboard ships, and also Lundy Island Devon. Original registers, notebooks and copies of entries in registers kept by incumbents of English churches and missions, British embassies and legations, etc. These cover the period 1627 to 1960 and are very detailed. With these RG33 records, it is important to remember that a record may be recorded in a number of registers - but differences may occur from incorrect copying. The notebook entries are likely to be more accurate than the entries copied into the registers.
This record set allows access to 100,000 individuals, complete with images and full transcript, complete with mini family tree.
RG34: Miscellaneous Foreign Marriage Returns, 1826-1921
Marriage certificates issued by foreign registration authorities and churches, copies of entries in the registers kept by British embassies, incumbents of English churches and chaplains, notification of marriages of servicemen during service abroad, and documents deposited for safekeeping. These cover the period 1861 to 1921 with more than 38,000 individuals recorded in the overseas marriages records and include British subjects marrying abroad.
Many of the marriage certificates were issued by the authorities in the country concerned in the local language. These have been translated to provide a searchable database and links to a digital image of the original record.
Included in this series you can find:
RG36: Registers and Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the Protectorates, etc. of Africa and Asia
Notifications of birth, marriage and death from 1895 to 1965, forwarded by officials responsible for civil registration under administrative ordinances in Nyasaland, Kenya, Somaliland, Uganda, Sudan, Palestine, Sarawak, Malaya, including Johore and Selangor, and British North Borneo.