Almost all of the historical parish registers of the Cheshire part of the Diocese of Chester, together with the related bishop’s transcripts, are deposited, under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure of 1978, at the Cheshire Record Office (CRO), Duke Street, Chester, the location and base of “The Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service” (CALSS). The present computerised transcript of both categories of document derives from these records and enquiries about the original documents should be addressed to CALSS/CRO. The project of transcription owes its initiation, existence and maintenance to the past and present encouragement and support of the CRO.
The aim of the project is to make available, in a reasonable period of time, all the information in each of the parish registers of the ancient county of Cheshire. This aim covers information in both the original Parish Register (PR) and the Bishop’s Transcript (BT), since despite its name the latter is to some extent an independent source. The period of transcription is from the earliest known entry in each PR and BT up to 1871. The many problems of consistent transcription that arise when dealing with material on the scale of the estimated twelve million Cheshire PR entries are discussed elsewhere (see under Menu item Instructions then CPR), and these notes supplying essential editorial critique should be always consulted before any interpretation of the data presented is attempted. In due course each parish will have a page of Parish Notes available when parish data are accessed, these notes supply e.g., dates of extant PRs and BTs, and refine the General Notes. This page too should be always consulted. The Parish Notes may also indicate information in a PR not directly related to the entries of baptisms, marriages, and burials (e.g. the names of clergy or churchwardens sometimes given at the foot of each page), but as indicated in the General Notes this feature is not comprehensive.
The data relating to Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials is available in a transcribed form. Where the exact form of individual items of information is historically significant (e.g. personal names), the transcription is always literal. For a few other items, where it is economic in transcribing (and because of the limitations of our programme), a code is used, e.g., DA for ‘daughter of’). For the codes, see General Notes.
Notes are attached to individual entries when the information is specific (e.g. ambiguities and anomalies affecting the meaning of individual entries).
Information other than registered events inserted in a PR, if totally extraneous (e.g., visitation material or churchwarden’s business), is mentioned in the Parish Notes, but if comments by the clergy (e.g. on current national or local events or individuals) is supplied, normally in full, within the Parish Notes.
Any project of this size involves a great number of people all working voluntarily, and the support of several institutions. Professor Paul Hair, late of the School of History, University of Liverpool, was the original leader of the Project and was actively involved until his death in August 2001. He had shared the leadership of the Project with Dr Colin Phillips (Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester) who has now taken over overall responsibility for the quality of the data produced for input into the Cheshire Parish Register Database (CRPdb). Dr Bernard Diaz (Honorary Fellow, School of Electical and Electronic Engineering & Computer Science, University of Liverpool) is responsible for technical aspects of the CPRdb and joined the team in 1993. A third leader, Jonathan Pepler (County Archivist, Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service) joined in July 2002. The project has long been grateful to the CRO for facilitating access to the original PRs and BTs and for its essential and continuing funding of the Project. The support of the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool, and the relevant departments therein, for use of facilities has been indispensible and is gratefully acknowledged. The Greater Manchester Record Office provided financial and moral support in the Project’s early years.
Without doubt, however, the most important people involved in this project are the 200+ volunteer transcribers, inputters, editors and programmers who, for various periods during the last twenty five years, have worked for it. Only considerations of privacy prevent us from thanking by name, on this page, all surviving volunteers. We name only the present senior editors: Mrs Jennifer Duncan (West Kirby), Mrs Mabs Turner (Saltney Ferry, Chester), Mrs Sue George (Liverpool), Mr John Fothergill (Lymm); and the longest-serving transcriber, Mrs Jean Lambert (Liverpool).