Family historians want more old Berkshire records in easily accessible form. Society volunteers have transcribed many parish registers, monumental inscriptions and other records. But there is more to do. We most urgently need more volunteers to check transcriptions at Berkshire Record Office or Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

Volunteers are also needed to read, transcribe, photograph and check monumental inscriptions in other parts of old Berkshire. Work is self-paced, and some can be done at home.

Project work is valued, varied and rewarding. Today’s researchers benefit from the dedicated efforts of earlier generations. And digital page images are little value unless accompanied by indexes and accurate transcriptions.

Use your specialist skills and understanding in project work today to benefit family historians tomorrow

To get involved

With a laptop and training in a simple transcribing tool you could you help make independent checks against original records. If you prefer fieldwork you could record, map or photograph monumental inscriptions. Maybe data manipulation, design, or CD building is something you do well? Or you write, draw, or generate maps and plans? The varied skills and abilities mean there’s a role for everyone.

Current Projects

  • Baptisms
  • Marriages
  • Burials
  • Monumental Inscriptions
  • Parish Registers
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Objective

Create an easy-to-search database of transcriptions of baptisms from Berkshire parishes, both Anglican and Nonconformist, known as 'Berkshire Baptisms.'

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Completion

This is a recurring project to issue new editions every 18 - 24 months of the Berkshire Baptisms CD as more transcriptions become available. The 2nd Edition (March 2016) contains 777,000 names and 250,000 transcriptions from 102 parishes

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Period covered

From the mid-16th century to the present.

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Area covered

All parishes in the historic county of Berkshire.

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Outputs

1. Revised Berkshire Baptisms CD*
2. Limited publications in the Parish Records Collection of Findmypast
3. Limited searchable data within Berkshire Name Search at the society's Research Centre in Reading.

*The Berkshire Baptisms CD offers three Finding Aids and a Full Details report that contains all the information recorded in the original register. This includes extra details such as godparents, father's occupation, relationships and addresses. The information recorded varies but, generally, later entries hold more detail.

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Shop

The most recent version of the CD is available in the shop

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Other Info

Berkshire Record Office (in Reading) holds the vast majority of deposited original registers and, later, baptism registers for the 'old' county of Berkshire, including those for parishes in the Vale of the White Horse and North Berkshire.

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (in Chippenham) holds surviving early Bishop's Transcripts for Berkshire (to 1835/1836). In a number of cases these pre-date surviving registers for some Berkshire parishes.

The Archdeaconry of Berkshire transferred from the Salisbury Diocese to the Oxford Diocese in 1836 and any original transcripts sent to the bishop after that date will be found at Oxford

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Objective

Create an easy-to-search database of transcriptions of marriages from Berkshire parishes, both Anglican and Nonconformist, known as 'Berkshire Marriages.'

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Completion

This is a recurring project to issue new editions every 18 - 24 months of the Berkshire Marriages CD as more transcriptions become available. The Fourth Edition (January 2019) contains well over 800,000 names, nearly 200,000 marriage transcriptions and over 22,000 banns transcriptions from 232 parishes.

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Period covered

From the mid-16th century to the present.

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Area covered

All parishes in the historic county of Berkshire.

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Outputs

1. Revised Berkshire Marriages CD*
2. Limited publications in the Parish Records Collection of Findmypast

*The Berkshire Marriages CD offers a variety of Finding Aids and a Full Details report that contains all the information recorded in the original register. This includes extra details such as witnesses, bride and groom’s fathers, occupations and addresses. The information recorded varies but, generally, later entries hold more detail.

iconfinder_shopping-cart_1608412

Shop

The most recent version of the CD is available in the shop

iconfinder_exclamation-circle_1608479

Other Info

Berkshire Record Office (in Reading) holds the vast majority of deposited original registers and, later, marriage registers for the 'old' county of Berkshire, including those for parishes in the Vale of the White Horse and North Berkshire.

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (in Chippenham) holds surviving early Bishop's Transcripts for Berkshire (to 1835/1836). In a number of cases these pre-date surviving registers for some Berkshire parishes.

The Archdeaconry of Berkshire transferred from the Salisbury Diocese to the Oxford Diocese in 1836 and any original transcripts sent to the bishop after that date will be found at Oxford

iconfinder_target_3827997

Objective

Create easy-to-search databases of transcriptions of burials from Berkshire parishes, both Anglican and Nonconformist, and also from private and public cemeteries, burial grounds and Union Workhouses, known as Berkshire Burials.

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Completion

This is a recurring project to issue new editions every 18 - 24 months of the Berkshire Burials CD as more transcriptions become available. The 12th Edition (May 2017) contains well over 900,000 burial transcriptions from more than 270 churchyards, cemeteries, burial grounds and workhouses in Berkshire. Current coverage is estimated to be approximately 96 per cent of all burials recorded in registers deposited in the Berkshire Record Office. As a consequence, it is anticipated that the 13th Edition will be the final edition for some years, until sufficient volume of additional registers have been deposited.

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Period covered

From the mid-16th century to the present.

iconfinder_map-brochure-glyph_763213

Area covered

All parishes in the historic county of Berkshire.

iconfinder_82.output_3044701

Outputs

  1. Revised Berkshire Burials CD*
  2. Limited publications in the Parish Records Collection of Findmypast
*The Berkshire Burials CD offers a variety of Finding Aids and a Full Details report that contains all the information recorded in the original register. This includes extra details such as relatives, occupations and addresses. The information recorded varies but, generally, later entries hold more detail.
iconfinder_shopping-cart_1608412

Shop

The most recent version of the CD is available in the shop

iconfinder_exclamation-circle_1608479

Other Info

Berkshire Record Office (in Reading) holds the vast majority of deposited original registers and, later, burial registers for the 'old' county of Berkshire, including those for parishes in the Vale of the White Horse and North Berkshire.

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (in Chippenham) holds surviving early Bishop's Transcripts for Berkshire (to 1835/1836). In a number of cases these pre-date surviving registers for some Berkshire parishes.

The Archdeaconry of Berkshire transferred from the Salisbury Diocese to the Oxford Diocese in 1836 and any original transcripts sent to the bishop after that date will be found at Oxford

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Objective

To record Berkshire’s monumental inscriptions and preserve a transcript of the text and relevant images for each churchyard or cemetery for the benefit of family and other historians, before the monuments deteriorate, are damaged, vandalised or even demolished. The outputs from these individual projects will be published initially on fully indexed CDs. Larger burial grounds are usually published on their own bespoke CD, smaller burial grounds may be published as part of a collection. If you would like to help in any of these projects, see our further information.

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Completion

This is a recurring project with new CDs being published each year.

Recent publications include the monumental inscriptions of Burghfield St Mary, Crowthorne St John, including burials at Broadmoor Hospital, Drayton St Peter, Grazeley Holy Trinity, Reading Baptists Church and Wokingham Without, St Sebastian. As monumental inscription projects complete, new projects are set up to replace them.

Current Projects: Bearwood St Catherine CD (currently in preparation), Barkham St James, Maidenhead All Saints, Wokingham Baptist Church CD (update - currently on hold), Woodley St John.

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Period covered

From first burials to the present

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Area covered

All parishes in the historic county of Berkshire.

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Outputs

  1. CD-ROM covering all plots with inscription and one or more images of each monument and burial register data for plots with no monument.
  2. Ground plan linked to each plot by name or by plot number.
  3. Possibly a database for future website use.
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    Shop

    All Monumental Inscription CDs are available in the shop.

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    Can you help?

    If you would like to help with any of these projects please click the Volunteer Now button on the left.

    An indication of the tasks and skills involved (which are not always technical, and rarely does one person have all of these) and the level of detail is given below.

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    Other Info

    Projected timescale

    Project Specific

    Nature of work involved:

    • Obtaining permission and access to church records
    • Surveying and onsite mapping
    • Drawing physical plans
    • Recording inscriptions
    • Gardening / clearing plots of vegetation / rubbish (as permitted)
    • Typing from recorded data into WP or Spreadsheet
    • Checking typed data against monuments
    • Generating index
    • Photographing monuments
    • Renaming images to correspond to plot number
    • Converting plans to CAD
    • Running macros to generate CD files
    • Writing brief introduction to the church and to the transcriptions
    • Compile master CD-ROM

    Volunteers needed:

    Varied from a solo effort to team of 10 in churchyard; data manipulation tends to be one or two individuals.

    Where does the work take place?:

    Churchyard and home

    Non-technical skills required:

    • 'Gardening' to allow inscriptions to be read
    • Accurate recording and checking of information on site

    Technical skills:

    • Familiarity with MS Word (2000 onwards)
    • Familiarity with MS Excel (2000 onwards)
    • Familiarity with TurboCAD
    • Photographic skills
    • File manipulation
    • Proof reading

    Other skills:

    • Database construction
    • Data entry

    Publication skills:

    • Ability to put html pages together, possibly html editing
    • Access to CD burner hardware and software
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    Objective

    Create easy-to-search databases of transcriptions of baptisms, banns, marriages and burials from Berkshire parishes, both Anglican and Nonconformist, known as Berkshire Parish Registers CDs. The results of these projects will also be incorporated into the Berkshire Baptisms, Berkshire Marriages and Berkshire Burials publications.

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    Completion

    This is an ongoing project with new parish register CDs being published each year. Recent publications include the registers of Binfield All Saints, Brimpton St Peter, Kintbury St Mary, Purley St Mary, Sulham St Nicholas and Tidmarsh St Laurence. Projects are currently underway for: Peasemore St Barnabas, Newbury St Nicolas, Childrey St Mary, Shaw cum Donnington St Mary and Winkfield St Mary. As parish register projects complete, new projects are set up to replace them.

    We're about to publish another CD!

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    Period covered

    From the mid-16th century to the present.

    iconfinder_map-brochure-glyph_763213

    Area covered

    All parishes in the historic county of Berkshire.

    iconfinder_82.output_3044701

    Outputs

    1. New Parish Registers CDs*
    2. Limited publications in the Parish Records Collection of Findmypast
    *Parish Register CDs offer a variety of Finding Aids and a Full Details report that contains all the information recorded in the original register. This includes extra details such as parents, relatives, occupations, addresses, witnesses, godparents and marital status. The information recorded varies but, generally, later entries hold more detail.
    iconfinder_shopping-cart_1608412

    Shop

    All Parish Registers CDs are available in the shop

    iconfinder_exclamation-circle_1608479

    Other Info

    Berkshire Record Office (in Reading) holds the vast majority of deposited original registers and, later, burial registers for the 'old' county of Berkshire, including those for parishes in the Vale of the White Horse and North Berkshire.

    Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre (in Chippenham) holds surviving early Bishop's Transcripts for Berkshire (to 1835/1836). In a number of cases these pre-date surviving registers for some Berkshire parishes. The Archdeaconry of Berkshire transferred from the Salisbury Diocese to the Oxford Diocese in 1836 and any original transcripts sent to the bishop after that date will be found at Oxford.

    If you are interested in helping with transcribing Parish Registers, or would like more information, please contact the Projects Co-Ordinator

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    Berkshire Family History Society works to meet the needs of those researching their ancestry across the UK and overseas – as well as those looking for former relatives in historic Berkshire.  You do not need to be a member to benefit.

    The society offers:

    • Research Zone in central Reading that is free to use and open to all

    • Free access at The Centre for Heritage and Family History to online resources like FindMyPast, the 1939 Register, The Genealogist, the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry (the worldwide edition)

    • Regular free help and advice sessions

    • Meetings in Abingdon, BracknellNewbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley — open to everyone

    • Online discussion list for members  informed answers to research queries and advice from experienced researchers

    • Members’ Area with data and other information not readily accessible elsewhere

    • Indexes and transcriptions of Berkshire’s historic records on CD — parish registers, probate documents, monumental inscriptions, maps, First World War history and more

    • Quarterly magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian, for members

    • a chance to join in project work, recording, transcribing and helping to preserve records

    • Links to the research experience, advice and support of members worldwide

    • Opportunities to volunteer and so help others with their family history