Locating Registers

Before purchasing the NBI, it's a good idea to check that any specific parishes of interest are included on the CDs by clicking the NBI icon at www.ffhs.org. uk and then clicking on the relevant county. The breakdown of entries is very comprehensive, giving the name of the church or cemetery and the span of years for the entries. The easiest way to find out if burial registers have survived in any given parish is to look at a copy of Phillimore's Atlas and Index of Parish Registers (£45) available from www.phillimore.co.uk.

This 314-page book, known as 'the genealogist's bible', indicates the present whereabouts of original registers and any copies, along with a list of the dates they cover. As most surviving burial registers are found in regional or national depositories, they are usually available for public inspection. Registers which are too fragile to be handled should have been scanned onto microfilm for use by the general public.

Record offices offer one of the best chances of finding family graves as they will hold most old church and cemetery records for their specific region. One invaluable document likely to be held at the local archives is the burial

One invaluable document likely to be held at the local archives is the burial register's plot map. This details the position of each interment plot and who was buried in it register's accompanying plot map. This details the position of each interment plot within a burial site and, more importantly, who was buried in them. Each plot is assigned some kind of reference number, which usually corresponds with the same reference in the burial register. Alternatively, a fellow researcher may have recorded all the inscriptions for a particular parish and deposited them in a record office or with a local or family history society, together with their own plot map.

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