National register of parish records?
- From: Richard Smith <richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2011 14:05:24 +0000
This is not strictly a genealogy question, though I feel sure it is a problem that many genealogists have encountered.
I am trying to locate the Elizabethan and Jacobean churchwardens' accounts for a specific parish (St Michael's, Cambridge). I know that these accounts, or conceivably a transcript of them, existed in the early 20th century as I have read extracts from them in various publications. The relevant Victoria County History volume (Cambridgeshire Vol III; published 1959) notes that these accounts exist back to 1583. Unfortunately none of the authors who appear to have used these accounts are still alive to ask.
There's no obvious reason to suppose the accounts have been destroyed. The town suffered no wartime damage, and there has not been a fire in the church since 1849. Other early records for the parish have survived, including parish registers dating to 1538, and all of these have been deposited at the Cambridgeshire Archive (as Cambridge Record Office now calls itself).
I would dearly like to read these accounts, but I simply cannot find them. The archivists at the Cambridgeshire Archive, though very helpful, have been unable to provide an answer. Whilst the possibility exists that the records are indeed there, misplaced and incorrectly catalogued, the staff there don't think that is particularly likely. One possible explanation is that one reason or another this book has been deposited elsewhere.
I'm wondering whether there's any easy way of finding them. Is there anything akin to a national register recording the whereabouts of parish records? Phillimore's Atlas says all the records are deposited in the Cambridgeshire Archives, but that doesn't really consider records beyond parish registers.
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