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Guide to BMD Registers

RG4 - Non-Parochial Registers 1567-1858:

RG4 are registers (authenticated by the Non-Parochial Registers Commissioners) of births, baptisms, deaths, burials and marriages. They cover dates from 1567 to 1858. You can find full details on TNA website, including content and background information.

An important factor to remember when searching through early records is the variation in the calendar system. The Julian Calendar was the standard system until March 1752 which was then replaced by the Gregorian Calendar. According to the Julian Calendar, the first day of the new year was 25th March 'Lady Day', so a full year would run from March 25th to March 24th. Dates between January 1st and March 24th would still be assigned the previous year, for example, January 1st 1744 would either be written as 1744 or 1744/45 to indicate the dual date. At TheGenealogist we use the date as written, so please be aware of this when searching for dates before March 1752.

The National Archives Reference RG4

Non-parochial registers 1567 to 1858

General Register Office, 1836-1970
Royal Hospital, Greenwich, 1694 onwards
Dr Williams Library, 1742-1865
Presbyterian, Independent and Baptist Registry, 1742-1837
Wesleyan Methodist Metropolitan Registry, 1818-1838

Types of Records

Anglican (Church of England) BMD Records - Registers kept by institutions outside the normal Church of England parish structure, such as Greenwich Hospital.

Baptist, Independent and Presbyterian BMD Records - The Protestant Dissenters' Registry served the congregations of Baptist, Independents and Presbyterians in London and within a twelve mile radius of the capital. However, parents from most parts of the British Isles and even abroad also used the registry. It was started in 1742, with retrospective entries going back to 1716, and continued until 1837.

Wesleyan Methodist BMD Records - The Wesleyan Methodist Registry was set up in 1818 and provided registration of births and baptisms of Wesleyan Methodists throughout England, Wales and elsewhere. The registers continued until 1838, with some retrospective registration of births going back to 1773.

Roman Catholic BMD Records - Registers of births, baptisms, deaths, burials and marriages for some Roman Catholic communities in Dorset, Hampshire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Yorkshire. The majority cover Northumberland.

Huguenot Records - The Huguenots were members of the French Protestant Church, many of whom, before the French Revolution of 1789, left their homes in France to escape persecution. More than 50,000 of these refugees came to the British Isles and many people can find that they are from a Huguenot descent. The Huguenot records available on The Genealogist cover parts of London, Middlesex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Kent, Devon and Norfolk. It is worth noting that these registers are not written in English.

Other Records - Outside of the UK we have some records for Russia. We also have a range of records from German, Dutch and Swiss churches in England.

Getting Started

About the Registers

i. Getting Started
ii. The Hidden Records
iii. What records are available at the moment?
iv. Paleography (how to deal with difficult handwriting)
v. Advanced Features

i. About RG4

What is RG4?
Types of records

ii. About RG5


What is RG5?
Protestant Dissenters' Registry
Wesleyan Methodist Registers


About RG6


What is RG6?
Scope and Content
Administrative and Biographical Background


About RG7


What is RG7?
Scope and Content
Administrative and Biographical Background

v. About RG8

What is RG8?
Scope and Content

vi. About RG32

What is RG32?
Scope and Content

  vii. About RG33

What is RG33?
Scope and Content

  viii. About RG34

What is RG34?
Scope and Content

  ix. About RG35

What is RG35?
Scope and Content

  x. About RG36

What is RG36?
Scope and Content

  xi. About the BT Series

What is the BT Series?
Scope and Content