Our Genealogy Resources
This is a brief introduction to local family history to help you get started on your research in the Library. Limited assistance is offered in the Library Monday to Friday in the mornings. If you are inexperienced in family history research, it is best to plan your first visit so that we can ensure there is someone available to help you. Appointments can be made in advance by email or phone.
The Library | Parish Records | Civil Registers | Census Records
Church of England Records | Other Church Records | Cemeteries and Churchyards
Official Records | Almanacs and Rate Lists | Useful addresses
The library contains a substantial collection of published and unpublished family trees, and it is advisable to look at these first as your family history may already been recorded.
Genealogical records in Jersey differ somewhat from those in the U.K. because the island retains many Norman laws and institutions. Whilst always owing allegiance to the British Crown, many records are in French and you will need to become familiar with the commonly used words and terms. It must also be remembered that there are occasional mistakes, omissions and gaps which the modern indexes do not rectify.
The parish is the most important civil and religious jurisdiction in the island; all original civil, Church of England and census records are kept by parish. There are twelve parishes (in alphabetical order) :
- St Brelade
- St Clement
- St Helier (the town parish)
- St Peter
- St John
- St Lawrence
- St Martin
- St Mary
- St Ouen
- St Saviour
It is important to establish and note the relevant parish for any family history enquiry.
The civil registers started in Jersey in August 1842; civil registration began in the U.K. in 1837 and in Guernsey in 1840. The Superintendent Registrar keeps copies of all civil registers of births, marriages and deaths from 1842 to the present day; no copies are available in the U.K. They are kept by parish and are mainly in English; there is no all-island index. A leaflet about the Registrar's research facilities and his fees for copies of certificates is available from the Library staff.
The library has an index to the earlier volumes of the civil registers; from August 1842 to about 1984 (depending on the parish). It is in three sequences (births, marriages, deaths) and is then sub-divided by parish.
The household schedules of the official census records for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 are available for research on microfilm; a reader/printer is available from which A4 prints can be obtained (10p. per print). The schedules are in English. Indexes to the censuses by parish and enumeration district were mainly compiled by the Channel Islands Family History Society (CIFHS) and copies are in the Library. The PRO has published guides to the census (classmark 929.2) Other census transcriptions include General Don's militia censuses of 1806 and 1815.
Information in the censuses is not always accurate. Literacy was not widespread : surnames are spelt inconsistently and age and place of birth may be wrongly reported to the census enumerator. In particular the 1841 census rounded the age of an adult up or down to the nearest five years.
The Société Guernesiaise has published indexes for the 1841, 1861, 1871 and 1891 and 1891 censuses for the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
The parish registers of the Church of England record dates of baptisms (not date of birth), marriages and burials (not date of death) of the twelve parishes. The earliest surviving records start in 1540 (St Saviour) and are mostly in French. There are many gaps in the records, particularly during the Commonwealth period (1640-1660). Entries usually follow a standard pattern, though some parish clerks may have recorded more information than others (especially godparents). Following the French custom, a woman's maiden name was always retained after marriage; she may even be buried under her maiden name rather than under her married name.
Certain non-conformist and Roman Catholic Church records have been copied or indexed. After the English Reformation French refugee ministers who were Calvinists served the local French-speaking population in the 16th and 17th centuries; Huguenot ministers also took refuge in Jersey during the French religious wars. After about 1792, Roman Catholics refugees from the French Revolution were permitted to hold services. Many Methodist chapels were founded in the 19th century. Records are in French or Latin, although the Catholic Church had churches serving both French-speaking and English speaking congregations. Marriages of French citizens also took place at the French Consulate in St Helier; the archives are in London. Original records from the Methodist Church, United Reform Church and St Thomas' Roman Catholic Church can be found at the Jersey Archive.
The monuments in certain cemeteries and churchyards have been listed and indexed; however these have been done only selectively. The Superintendent of Cemeteries is responsible for all St Helier cemeteries and is hoping to create a database listing the graves. The other parishes are responsible for their own churchyards.
The Jersey Archive was appointed as the official repository for all public records produced by the Lieutenant Governor, Bailiff, States Assembly, States Departments and Administrations, Courts and Civil Parishes under the Public Records (Jersey) Law 2002. Under the law, all archival public records over 20 years old should be transferred to the Jersey Archive.
The Jersey Archive is located in Clarence Road, St Helier. All catalogued collections are available to search online at http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html
Almanacs and rate lists are useful sources of information. The all-island almanacs date from 1785 to the present day; there are sets in French and English. Parish rate lists date from 1858 to the present.
Channel Islands Family History Society
P.O. Box 507, St Helier, Jersey JE4 5TN
Clarence Road, St Helier, Jersey JE2 4WH
Tel: +44 1534 833300; Fax: +44 1534 833301
Jersey Public Library
Halkett Place, St Helier, Jersey JE2 4WH
Tel: +44 1534 448700
Morier House, Halkett Place, St Helier, Jersey JE1 1DD
Tel: +44 1534 441300
Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
Rue de la Vallée, St Mary, Jersey JE3 3DL
el: +44 1534 482171 for appointment
Superintendent of Cemeteries (Parish of St Helier)
Mont à l'Abbé Cemeteries Office, St John's Road, St Helier JE2 3LE
Tel: +44 1534 30788; Fax: +44 1534 888047
Superintendent Registrar (Births, Marriages and Deaths)
10 Royal Square, St Helier, Jersey JE2 4WA
Tel: +44 1534 441335
Guernsey and Alderney Addresses
Island Archives - Guernsey
St Barnabas, Cornet St, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1LF
Tel: +44 1481 724512
Guernsey Greffe Royal Court House
St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PD
Tel: +44 1481 725277; Fax: +44 1481 715097
Priaulx Library (for Bailiwick of Guernsey local and family history)
Candie Road, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG
Tel: +44 1481 721998; Fax: +44 1481 713804
Family History Section, Candie Gardens, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 1UG
Tel: +44 1481 725093; Fax: +44 1481 726248
States of Guernsey Greffe (Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths)
Royal Court House, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 2PB
Tel: +44 1481 725277; Fax: +44 1481 715097
High St, Alderney GY9 STG
Tel. 01481 823222 Fax. 01481 824979
c/o Alderney Museum, High St, Alderney GY9 STG
Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU
Tel: +44 20 8876 3444
Office for National Statistics
Customer Contact Centre, Room 1.101, Office for National Statistics, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG
Tel: +44 845 601 3034; Fax: +44 1633 652747
General Register Office
PO Box 2 Southport PR8 2JD
British Postal Museum and Archive
Freeling House, Phoenix Place, London, WC1X 0DL
Tel: +44 20 7239 2588
- Backhurst, Marie-Louise. Family history in Jersey. St Helier: Channel Islands Family History Society, 1991. ISBN 0951843702.
- Backhurst, Marie-Louise & Glendinning, Alex. Family history in the Channel Islands. CIFHS.