Spelling of the names
Spelling in the old records varied quite a bid from record to record, I have used the accepted modern spelling as indicated by the Mormon Genealogical Society.
The Parish Records
The English Parish Registers were introduced in the reign of Henry VIII in 1538. The royal inscription called for
"The curate of every parish church shall keep one book on register, which book he shall every Sunday take forth and in the presence of the Churchwardens or one of them, write and record in the same all the weddings, christ'nings and burials made the whole week before"Not all parishes complied.
Some early records were written on paper. In 1603 the churchwardens were required to write on parchment all the records that had occurred since 1538.
Church registers were kept by the parishes until 1812 or later depending on the parish.
In March of each year every parish was required to sent the records of the previous year (from March to March) to their local bishop. Most of the records that have survived are these copies of the Bishop's Transcripts, AKA as the BT.
The Bishop's Transcripts for Batley, Birstall, Keighley, Leeds and Wakefield parishes are available on microfilm through the Family History Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, commonly referred to as "the Mormons" or LDS.The original parish records for Batley Parish are also available through the LDS.
The early records contain minimal information. Baptisms only include the name of the cild, the date of baptism and the father's name. Because the mother's name was not included in the early records, it is difficult to be sure that the mother of all the children of a certain father is the same. Unless there is a string of children space every two to three years, there is the possibility of the death of the wife and a remarriage. Later historians and genealogists make frequent reference to the under registrations of births in the parish registers.
While the cause of death was generally not stated in the parish registers there was a period from 1778 to 1811 when it was included in the Birstall parish records. Two thirds of the deaths in 1778 were from small pox.
For a number of years in the late 1700's the records in Batley and Birstall parish were truly wonderful. They included the occupation of the father, the mother's first name and the mother's father's full name. Subsequently, the records dropped this very helpful information on the mother and just included the father's name, occupation and place of inhabitance.
Marriage records until the late 1700's only included the names of the bride and groom and their parish. Around the beginning of the 1800's the groom's occupation was added to the marriage records.
The death records only include the name and village of the diseased. They occasionally include the father's name if the deceased was a child or the name of the spouse if the deceased was a woman and the age if the deceased was exceptionally old.
Naming patterns are a very important tool in tracking families over several generations. It was the custom at least until the mid 1800's to name ones children after parents, grandparents and other family members. Even when the name is relatively common, a combination of naming pattern and village can be very useful in tracking certain families.
LDS has two sets of records for Batley Parish. The "Parish Records" and the "Bishops Transcripts" Some events are listed in one, some in the other, some in both and some in neither.
The Bishops Transcripts before 1800 are quite hard to read. There are sheet after sheet completely covered with very tiny writing. Some sections are so badly damaged they are impossible to read.
Baptismal records for Batley parishes start in the early to mid 1600's include only the name of the child, the fathers name, the date of the baptism and sometimes the village. By the late 1600's the village is generally included. From the mid 1700's they start to include the father's occupation. For a few years in the late 1700's and early 1800's the records are wonderful, in that, they include the name of the child, the fathers name and occupation, his fathers name, the mothers name, her father's name, the village and the date of the baptism. Around 1810 the records only include the name of the child, the father's name and occupation, the mother's first name, the name of the village and the date of the baptism.
The Batley Parish a marriage records list the date, the name of the bride, the name of the groom and their parish or parishes.
Death records include the name of the deceased, the date of burial and the town. An occasional record will list the name of the father if the deceased was a child or the name of the spouse if the deceased was married or widowed. In general the cause of death was not listed. For some reason the death records from 1803 to 1806 in Batley Parish include the cause of death. There are many deaths from small pox, particularly in children.
The Batley Parish records date from the 1600's to the late 1800's and are contained in two series of microfilm. the Bishop's Transcripts are on films: #0990860, #0990861, #0990862, and #1849237. The "Parish Records are on films: #1542093, #1542094, #1522208, and #1542209.
These records include baptisms, marriages, and burials for the towns of Morley, Batley and Gildersome. The late records (in the 1542093 series) include Morley and Churwell, but do not include Gildersome and Batley.
The #0990860 series lists marriages along with the other records. The #1542093 series generally does not include marriages. There is separate reel of microfilm, #1542094, which contains actual marriage certificates from 1754 to 1817. The early records in both sets are particularly vague and in some instances the information is so unspecific, that I cannot say with assurance that it belongs to the families I am researching. Addition problems with the records are; illegible handwriting, torn pages, running ink, water and/or mildew damage.
The Yorkshire Archaeological Society has issued several volumes of records, including a history of Batley parish by Michael Sheard Christenings and marriages from 1724 to 1841 for Batley Parish were indexed by the Genealogical Society of the Mormon Church. The indexes are not always correct. Some records were omitted and some entries were listed with the wrong first names and/or dates.
In the "Original Records"
According to John Hewitt, an early Batley historian,
The Batley parish registers begin "1599" or 1560" according to an old transcript from the original records..The buryings for 1594 and all the registers thenceforward until 15th October, 1605, except from 30th June, 1605, to the latter date, are wanting; as also they are from 29th January, 1609, to 10th July, 1614. The marriage are wanting for 1627; also the marriages and burials for 1631 and 1632; the whole of 1633; all except five baptisms for 1636; and three baptisms and a burial for 1639; part of the baptisms and all the marriages for 1640; all except three baptisms for 1641 and 1642; part of the baptisms for 1643; all for 1645; most of the entries for 1650 and 1651; and all for 1652-5, there being only ten baptisms in these years, three of them Ralph Lanson's children; whilst in 1661 all are gone save one marriage. On 11 July, 1678, is the entry " here beginneth burying in woolen". From 1720 occupations and residences, which until that year were unregistered, are first given."Names that he lists among the earliest entries are: Wilby, Sheard, and Sykes.
According to the History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall Yorkshire by the Rev. H. C. Cradock, M.A. written in 1933, the records for the parish of Birstall were started in 1558 the first year of the Reign of Elizabeth and were kept on paper. According to Cradock, "in 1597 a convocation ordered them to be written on parchment and a copy was made of all records to date. He further says "Entries were sometimes omitted by accident, or from sickness, or from delay in the appointment of a new clerk" and that the most frequent omissions occurred during the Civil Wars, 1643-1644 (?) and that there was an unexplained gap between February 1653 and March 1656.
According to Birstall historian John Hewitt in the YAS transcription of the parish records,
The Batley parish registers begin "1559" or 1560" according to an old transcript from the original records.....The buryings for 1594 and all the registers thenceforward until 15th October, 1605, except from 30th June, 1605, to the latter date, are wanting; as also they are from 29th January, 1609, to 10th July, 1614. The marriage are wanting for 1627; also the marriages and burials for 1631 and 1632; the whole of 1633; all except five baptisms for 1636; and three baptisms and a burial for 1639; part of the baptisms and all the marriages for 1640; all except three baptisms for 1641 and 1642; part of the baptisms for 1643; all for 1645; most of the entries for 1650 and 1651; and all for 1652-5, there being only ten baptisms in these years, three of them Ralph Lansonıs children; whilst in 1661 all are gone save one marriage. On 11 July, 1678, is the entry "here beginneth burying in woolen". From 1720 occupations and residences, which until that year were unregistered, are first given."
According to the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, Northgate Canterbury Kent England the original records for Birstall parish from 1558 to 1919 are at the West Yorkshire Records Office, Newstead Road, Wakefield, WF1 1D2 (as of December 1862). The records from 1813 to 1847 have been posted to the IGI.
The Birstall Parish records from 1589 to 1757 on LDS microfilm # 0990683 are from the "Bishop's transcriptions", in other words, the copies. Many events were lost or altered in transcription; consequently the available records for Birstall Parish contained a fair number of errors and omissions. The early copies of the Bishop's transcripts for Birstall Parish are not complete. The following years are missing; 1603, 1607, 1610, 1613, 1616 to 1632, 1642 to 1660, 1670, 1674, 1679 to 1682, 1685 to 1690, 1693, 1707, 1717 and 1719. In addition, in the years between 1664 and the mid 1700's some sections of the records are missing or completely illegible due to damage of one kind or another. Among other things, there are torn pages, running ink, water and/or mildew damage. The Bishop's Transcripts for Birstall Parish date from 1598 until 1878, and are on LDS films # 0990863, 0990526, 00990527, 0990528, 0990529, 1849288 and 1849272. Film # 0990863 contains the years 1598 to 1759, Film # 0990526 contains the years 1760 to 1813, Film $0990527 contains the years 1814 to 1823, Film # 0990528 contains the years 1824 to 1832, Film # 0990529 contains the years 1833 to 1847, Film # 0990530 contains the years 1810 to 1840 (?) Film # 1849288 contains the years 1848 to 1855 and film # 1849272 contains the years 1856 to 1878.
# 0990526 contains records from Birstall Parish from 1760-1813 which includes, Adwalton and Gomersal. #0990862 had some records on the Siddles. The village of Gildersome was listed from 1810 until 1830, then the records switched to Churwell and Morley.
Christenings and marriages from 1724 to 1837 for Birstall parish were indexed on microfiche numbers 6911082 and 6911083 by the Genealogical Society of the Mormon Church. The indexes are not always correct. Some records were omitted and some entries were listed with the wrong first names and/or dates.
The Yorkshire Archaeological Society has issued three volumes of the parish records of Birstall parish which include transcripts of the original parish records from 1558 To 1724. Again these transcripts are not complete. Some rites listed in the bishop's transcripts are not included in the YAS transcripts. The major advantage is that the YAS includes years that are missing form the microfilmed copies of the bishop's transcripts.
In addition to transcription errors and missing or illegible pages there are some difficulties with the information, or rather the lack of information, itself. The earliest records for baptisms only listed the name of the child, the name of the father and the date of the baptism. If a name was very common it is next to impossible to determine who is who. Around the late 1600's the name of the village was added to the birth and death records. Since Birstall Parish was made up of at least 30 small villages or hamlets and until the mid to late 1700's people pretty much stayed put in the town where they grew up, this makes it much easier to track certain families by making it possible to separate a person with a given name from others with the same name in a different village. People moved from one hamlet to another when they married and moved to the spouse's hamlet. Even in early times there was some movement regarding employment. Sometimes, even though a name is quite common, there was only one person with that name in that generation who married and had children.
Church of England records for the chapelry of Cleckheaton, which started keeping separate records in 1761, are on microfilm #1543092.
Thornhill by Dewsbury
The GS of the LDS indexed the Thornhill by Dewsbury Parish marriage and baptismal records from 1580-1812. I do not know the sources of the records that were used to compile these indexes. The Bishops Transcripts are on FHC microfilm # 0990769. The records start in 1600 and includes the years 1600-1602, 1603**, 1604-1606, 1609-1611, 1612*, 1614, 1616-1618, 1620, 1621, 1626-30, 1632-1639, 1640*. The notation fro the * says ³* on roll². I do not understand what this notation means. The first few years, until 1604, are all but impossible to read. The ink is quite faded. There is a break from 1641 until 1661 when the records recommence with the following years: 1661-1664, 1665-1669, 1671-1673, 1675-1678, 1682-1685, 1688, 1691-1698, 1701-1709, 1710-1719, 1720-1729, 1730-1739, 1740-1744, 1745-1749, 1750-1759, 1760-1765, 1766-1769, 1770-1771, 1772-1774, 1775-1778, 1779, The next reel of microfilm starts with the year 1780.
FHC microfilm #0816612 is listed as a Register for the Congregation of Protifant Heaton-Clerk parish of Birstall, nonconformists in Cleckheaton, and starts in 1724.
Leeds Parish Records are on a series of microfilms. The only microfilm of relevance to the Lands # 0918376, St Peters Leeds.
Queens Street Chapel Leeds, Lands
LDS microfilm #6910522 Leeds Bethel Independent 1802-1827 No Lands, No Laws, No Siddles
Parish Records for All Saints Wakefield and the records of New Zion Chapel Wakefield.
Keighley Parish Records and the records from the Independent Chapel Keighley.
The Keighley Parish Marriage Index is on microfiche #6909792.
The Keighley Parish Baptism index is on microfiche #6901264.
The Keighley Bishop's transcript is on microfilm number 0919143. It starts with the year 1600 and includes 1602, 1607, 1610, 1615, 1632, 1636, 1638, and 1641. There is a large break and it picks up with 1662 to 1669. It then jumps to 1683-84, 1688-89, and 1691 to 1694. The next section includes the years 1696 to 1705.
Leeds Parish Records
English censuses of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891
Tax records in Birstall Parish.
The following LDS microfilms were used:
|#0087546||1851 Census Hunslet. No Lands|
|#0215603||Collection of the monument inscriptions in Birstall|
|#0496512||Monument inscriptions Hunslet. No Lands or related families.|
|#0496826||Historical Sketch of the Parish Church Wakefield by Rev. J. L. Sission, A.M. written in 1824l|
|#0865459||list of rural parishes in the West Riding.|
|#0990052||Monument Inscriptions collected by the Mormon Genealogical Society for various parishes in Yorkshire|
|#0990528||Church of England records and included some birth, death and marriage records from Adwalton for the Sykes and Walker families. The dates are in the 1820's|
|#0990530||Church of England records and included some birth and deaths records from Adwalton for the Sykes and Walker families. The dates are in the 1810's through 1840's|
|#0990861||Batley parish records from 1815 to 1831|
|#0990862||Batley parish, Gildersome chapel baptisms and deaths from 1817 to 1840 and contains records relating to the Siddles in Gildersome|
|#1542209||Batley parish marriages 1871 to 1890|
|#1657189||records of several churches in Batley, Drighlington and Adwalton and includes the Adwalton Zion Chapel. The Adwalton Zion Chapel records date from 1855 to 1905 and includes the baptisms of two of the children of George and Sarah Sykes|
|#1657351||Westgate Chapel Heckmondwike 1787-1922.|
|#1849237||Item #3 on film contains some records for Batley parish from 1842 to 1872. No deaths. The film contained baptisms for the dates and deaths for 1868 to 1872|
|#1849288||Church of England records and included some births and death records from Adwalton for the Sykes and Walker families. The dates are in the 1850's and 60's. There is some cross over in the records as some records for a given village are listed in one parish and other records for that same village are in another parish|
|6922080||records from Gildersome. I found nothing relevant on this microfiche|
The IGI and Indexes|
In addition to the copies of the Bishop's transcripts and the Yorkshire Archaeological Society Records several other aides were used in researching the Laws and extended families. These include the International Genealogical Index (or IGI as it is commonly known) and indexes compiled by various historical societies from the parish records. The IGI is an index compiled by the Mormon Genealogical Society from records from around the world as well as family trees submitted by anyone who wishes to do so. The IGI contains even more errors than the Bishop's transcripts, but is a helpful jumping off point to narrowing down dates.
The Mormon Genealogical Society has indexed the baptismal and marriage records for Batley and Birstall Parish from about 1724 to the mid 1800's. Again, while there are lots of errors, but it can be helpful in narrowing down dates.