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|Clergymen are notoriously difficult to track down! They moved about a
But there are a series of books that make your research so much easier:
Published from the mid 1800s onwards, they are alphabetical listings of
clergymen, with details about them, where they are at the moment, and other
College Alumni Records
Wonderful resources! They show the biographical details of clergymen, information
about their college degrees, the school that they attended, often fathers'
details, and the places that they served, death dates, etc.
College Alumni Records
Almost all clergymen attended the universities of either Oxford, Cambridge,
or for Ireland, Dublin.
"Alumni Oxonienses : The Members of the University of Oxford 1500-1886. Their
parentage, birthplace and year of birth, with a record of their degrees.
Being the Matriculation Register of the University. Alphabetically arranged,
revised and annotated by Joseph Foster."
Alumni Oxonienses contains the biographical details of clergymen who studied
at Oxford between 1500 and 1886, published in eight large volumes.
Chandler, Richard, s. Daniel, of Elston, Hants gent. QUEEN'S COLL., matric
9 May 1755, aged 18; demy MAGDALEN COLL. 1757, B.A. 1759, M.A. 1761, fellow
1770, proctor 1772, B. & D.D. 1773, classical antiquary and traveller,
vicar of East Worldham and West Tisted, Hants, 1779, of Tilehurst, Berks,
1800, died 9 Feb., 1810. Bloxham, vi.
NEEP William. Adm. sizar (age 17) at St. Johns [Cambridge] April 26 1704.
S. of William, deceased. B. at Southwell, Notts. School, Southwell (Mr Benson).
Matric. 1704; B.A. 1707-8. Ord. deacon (York) Aug. 1709; priest, 1711. V.
of Bawtry, Notts., 1711. Head Master of Southwell School, 1714-20.
You will often find references to:
Their father's name
The school they attended, and their school master
Dates of attending school
Date of entering university
Date of graduation, with type of degree
A list of churches where they were the incumbent
Date of death
A superb amouint of information. Of particular interest is the list of churches
where they were the vicar. Clergymen often travelled all over the country
and abroad, and this is an easy way to trace their movements.
The Oxford Alumni is a very rare and difficult to obtain set of books, usually
only to be found in a few major libraries. To own a copy of one's own is
virtually impossible. A copy of the books was re-published in 1999 with a
retail price of £750.00, so we won't count those! However,
copies of the originals are available on CD at a very reasonable cost.
Similar to the Oxford alumni, this one covers those attending Cambridge
University. Again, this set of volumes can usually be fouind only in major
libraries. (The books are still under copyright, and therefore have not been
reproduced on CD).
An incredibly rare book. A register of the students, graduates, professors
and provosts of Trinity College, in the University of Dublin from 1637 to
Although, as would be expected, it contains mostly Irish people there are
also many included who were from England, Wales and Scotland. The biographical
details are not as comprehensive as in the Oxford Alumni.
book is also available on CD.
Above: The eight volumes of Alumni Oxonienses
The Clergy List - Cox
The Clercy List was published yearly from around the early 1800s. It was
later superseded by the Crockford's Directories (see below).
Effectively, it is a listing of all clergy that were living at the time,
together with details of where they were working.
It contains the names and livings of clergymen in England, Wales and Ireland,
the Scottish Episcopal Church, military, naval and prison chaplains, as well
as those working all over the British Empire. It also lists the benefices
in England and Wales, their values, populations and patrons.
These books are extremely rare, and likely to be found in major libraries
Facsimile copies are
on CD from the Archive CD Books Project.
Crockford's Clerical Directories
Crockford's Directories replaced the Clergy Lists (see above),
Crockfords directories are a superb source of information for those with
ancestors in the clergy. The contents are similar to the earlier Clergy Lists
but are much more detailed, giving vital personal information about each
individual, such as where they studied, when they matriculated and all of
their previous posts (including foreign posts) and also his full address
at the time of publication.
The directory was first published in 1858, and yearly thereafter, and indeed,
is still being published.
Older copies are very difficule to obtain, and can be found only in major
reference libraries. A selection of Crockford's Directories can be obtained
CD from the Archive CD Books Project.
One of the Crockford's Clerical Directories.
Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae
Published 1854 Neve/Hardy.
One of the more obscure references.
"An Essay towards deducing a regular succession of all the principal dignitaries
in each cathedral, collegiate church or chapel in those parts of Great Britain
called England and Wales, from the first erection thereof to this present
year MDCCXV; Containing the names, dates of consecration, admission preferment,
removal or death of the Archbishops, Bishops, Deans, Precentors, Treasurers,
Chancellors, and Archdeacons in their several stations and degrees. To which
is added the succession of the Prebendaries in each Prebendal Stall (of most
of those erected at the Reformation, and) continued down to this time. As
also, of the Heads or Masters of each College or Hall in either of our famous
universities from their first settlement to this time. The Whole extracted
from the several Registers of the respective Cathedral or Collegiate Churches
or Foundations, as also from other authentic Records and valuable Collections
never before published."
CD from the Archive CD Books Project.
Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae
Original parish registers often contain notes about the clergymen and their
families. If you find you have a clergyman in your family tree, then it is
always worth looking at the registers for the period during which they served,
and also on the front and back pages of each register, where there may be
additional notes recorded.
William Neep was buried at Southwell, Nottinghamshire on 19th January 1717(18)
(as recorded in the Southwell burials register). Corroborating evidence for
the burial is found on the front cover of the burials register for Bleasby,
Nottinghamshire which has a note: "19/1/1717 Mr William Neep was buried".
The registers at Bleasby were countersigned by William Neep from 1712 through
to 1716, and it is wonderful to have examples of this man's handwriting for
the family history file.
August 9th 1568
"These be the wedings in the tym of Thomas Williamsonne Curat in this Churche
since the tym of his first cuming hether unto the day of his departure from
hense That is to say from the fes of Ste Michaell the arkangell In the yeare
oif our lord 1568 until his departynge".
"I am sorry to add, that there are also I fear great inaccuracies till Sepr.
1 1806, when I appointed Mr. William Hough Parish Clerk, and from which time
I hope the Register will be found correct. John Bristow, Vicar."
Sometimes a parish register may give a complete list of incumbents together
with relevant dates.
It is very common for a vicar to record the baptisms and marriages of his
children in a very special way, with additional illuminations to the handwriting.
Copies of them make lovely pages for your family history file.
Each Bishop kept his own records of happenings within his diocese. These
records are usually stored at a county record office, and are rarely in published
form. They do, however, form a very important source of information about
"On 24 January 1716, Neep was called into the Chapter house and admonished
by the residentiary, the Free School having of late been much neglected by
the school master. It was then decreed that this admonition should be entered
in the Register, and that the corrupt rules (as they are extant in Latin,
and hung up now in a frame, in Mr Popely, ye Organist's House; the substance
of which was then laid before the Chapter) by which the School has been of
late governed, be abolished: and in their stead, these hereafter be observed
by ye Master and Scholars."
The censuses, of course, will contain details of the families of clergymen.
Census entries for villages are easy to search, but for larger towns considerable
research work needs to be done, but that may be aided by reference to county
directories (see below).
See also : Censuses
A Kelly's Directory
Directories virtually always contain details of clergymen in each place.
Many also state the amount of the "living" of a vicar. In the private residents
section, the directory will also state the clergyman's private address.
Directories exist from around 1790 (although there are some earlier localised
directories), and run right through the 1800s and 1900s.
Also see: Directories