PARISH AND CENSUS RECORDS FOR WELLS

Much time and effort and some money has been put into producing the following data by Wells Local History Group. Researchers who find the data useful are invited to become members of the group. Please Email Keith Leesmith at Keith@leesmith.co.uk for details.

PARISH RECORDS

The parish records for Wells are held on 5 rolls of film. Each roll has up to 9 sections, each section corresponding roughly to a physical book of records. Prior to 1754 the records for baptism, burials and marriages are mixed into yearly blocks with individual books containg all three types of record. After 1754 separate books were used to record baptisms, burials and marriages and hence the sections on film relating to dates after 1754 are dedicated solely to either baptisms or burials or marriages. The films are numbered from 983 to 987.

To aid searching of records, indexes have been created on computer which lists surnames and gives Film number, section, year, book page and entry number. There is an index for each of baptism, burials and marriages. The master indexes are held in Microsoft Excel 2000 format and includes all unreadable entries, each unreadable surname denoted by a question mark. This will enable researchers in the future to identify those names not in the index and have them added to the master index when the names are decyphered. Roughly 10% of the records are unreadable and occur prior to 1754.

As the index has been created research into certain family names has enabled the entry of all details for these families. Christian names have also been entered as convenient and this will continue until all Christian names have been entered or finally when all the parish details have been entered on computer.

Initial distribution of this computerised data consists of alphabetically sorted surname lists in comma separated variable format. Entries for unreadable names have been removed from these sorted ists. The sorted baptism file and burial file are too large to be loaded into Microsoft Works Spreadsheet application and hence these files have been split into two files. The files are called baptismaz.csv, baptismam.csv, baptismnz.csv, burialaz.csv, burialam.csv, burialnz.csv and marriageaz.csv. Currently there are about 19500 baptisms, 17700 burials and 4900 marriages recorded. The marriage file consists of two lists, the first in groom alphabetical order and the second in bride alphabetical order.

The comma separated variable may be loaded into a Wordprocessor, Spreadsheet or a Database application. The easiest to use is a Spreadsheet such as Excel, Works or Lotus 123. The first line of each file contains the title of each column of data. Up to 20 columns of data may be present in a particular file. Most word processors allow the creation of a table if the data is all selected and the comma used as column separator. . Resorting the data in order of the first column (Ident) will result in a data file in the order in which they appear in the original records. (Normally chronological)

NEW for 2002

The Wells Local history group has recently got access to the Wells Congregational Church records covering the period from 1818 to about 1955. Entries have been added to the relevant database files. The letters "con" has been inserted in the 'Film number' column. For burials the grave number has been inserted in the 'Section' column. A recent survey by Mike Welland revealed a number of graves not in the registers. These have been allocated W numbers.

The Wells Local History group has also recently had a look at the index of grave stones in the churchyard and polka road cemetery produced by local historian REG GERKEN about 20 years ago. Graves in the Polka road cemetery are identified by number in rows labelled A through Z then AA, BB CC against a map of the graveyard. (This numbering is different to the row and grave number in the parish records) This data has been merged into the master burial database and hence the column GERKEN denotes the presence of a gravestone. Where this is the case, and the parish records also indicate a row and grave number, then this has been added to the database. Where data from a gravestone has been in addition to that in the parish records then this additional data is shown in round brackets.

e.g. 1886 ,12, 24, 119, 945, temple mary, (21/12/1886) ,44 ,,,,,,(robert), ,SE R1 G1 F7, B38  .

(parish records gives South East Corner, row 1, grave 1, depth 7 feet. GERKEN ref B38.  Husband Robert and date of death from gravestone)

The graves in the Society of Friends (Quakers) graveyard has recently been indexed by Bob Huntington for the Wells Local History Group. (1807 to 2001) Entries up to 1991 have been merged into the burials database and the letters "qua" inserted into the 'Film Number' column.

The Wells Local History group has also recently got access to the Market Lane cemetery books and hence has a list of burials from the opening of the cemetery in 1926 up to 2002 .Entries up to 1991 have been merged into the burials database and the letters "MLC" inserted into the 'Film Number' column.

Data after 1991 will NOT be put on the internet . However, researchers may request details of particular families and responses will be passed by Email.

New for 2003

The Wells Local History Group has now acquired the Wells parish records from 1900 to 1950 for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials.
Surnames and Christian names with dates have been entered on computer. Baptisms and marriages up to 1910 will be available on the internet. Requests for searches from 1910 to 1950 will be answered by Email.

As the Market Lane Cemetery started in about 1930 then names are duplicated in the parish burial records and the Market Lane records from 1930 to 1950.
This duplication is left in as names can be spelt of interpreted differently. Cross referencing both ways is achieved by putting the MLC number in the Parish records LOCATION field, and the Ident number of the Parish record entry has been put in the LOCATION field for MLC entries. The Parish records also use the letters ocy to refer to the Old Church Yard (around the parish church), cy for the Polka road Cemetery and c  or nc for the Market Lane cemetery.

NEW FOR 2004

The Local History Group has now acquired details of the Methodist Church baptism books for the Fakenham circuit for the period 1844 to 1877.

These books record baptisms not only in Wells but also villages around Fakenham. At the present time only baptisms in the Wells area have been put on computer. These records show all data including the clerks name. The methodist data has been merged into the master baptism file and the entry in the Film field reads 'meth'. (c.f. 'con' for congregational entries.)

CENSUS RECORDS

The Wells Local History Group currently holds data on the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census for Wells. Most are on rolls of film but 1891 and 1901 are on microfiche. Several of the census records also cover Holkham and other outlying villages such as Walsingham and Great Snoring.

1841 Census. (Roll film) This census also contains data on the following villages:- Barney, Binham, Cockthorpe, Egmere, Field Dalling, Hindringham, Holkham, Houghton St Giles, Quarles, Great Snoring, Walsingham Union House, Stiffkey, Thursford, Great Walsingham, Little Walsingham, Walsingham Union, Warham St Marys, Warham All Saints, Wells and Wighton. A surname index has been entered onto computer for all these villages but only the first family member has been entered, usually the family head. Each change of surname that occurs in the census from top to bottom of each page has been recorded on computer. Thus all lodgers and servants surnames are recorded. The index for Wells residents has been completed and includes ALL census details. The data is in a comma separated variable file called census1841az.csv

1851 Census. (2 Rolls  of Film)
The first film has the Fakenham area with the following villages included: Toftree and Toft, East Raynham and Raynham St Marys, South Raynham and Raynham St Martin, Helhoughton, Tattersford and Tattersett, Dunton and Shereford, Sculthorpe, Fakenham, Hempton, Pudding Norton and Testerton, Great Ryburgh, Little Ryburgh and Stibbard, Fulmodeston, Kettlestone, Little Snoring and Pensthorpe. A sorted listing is in file fakenhamaz.csv.
The second film has the Walsingham area with the following villages included:  Great Snoring, Houghton in Hole, Egmere, East West and North Barsham, Great Walsingham, Little Walsingham, Wighton, Hindringham, Thursford, Barney, Swanton Novers, Gunthorpe and Brinningham, Sharrington and Saxlingthorpe, Bale and Bathley, Field Dalling, Wiveton, Blakeney, Morston, Langham, Binham, Cockthorpe and Stiffkey, Warham St Marys and All Saints, Wells, Holkham and Quarles. A sorted listing is in file walsinghamaz.csv   (Wells has been removed from this file)
A separate sorted csv file of Wells residents has been produced .(census1851az.csv)

1861 Census (Roll Film) This film is the census for Wells and surrounding villages. A complete index for Wells has been put on computer . (census1861az.csv). Surnames only has been added for the following villages, Binham, Blakeney, Holkham, Langham, Stiffkey and Cockthorpe, Warham and Wiveton.

1871 Census (Roll Film) This film is the census for Wells only .The index for Wells residents has just been completed and includes ALL census details. The data is in a comma separated variable file called census1871az.csv

1881 Census (Roll Film) This film is the census for Wells and surrounding villages. A complete index for Wells has been put on computer and contains data omitted by the lds CD ROMs. (census1881az.csv). The following villages have been included. Holkham, Quarles, Egmere, Warham, Great Walsingham, Little Walsingham and Wighton.

1891 Census (Microfiche) This contains records for Wells plus some of Holkham. A complete index for Wells has been put on computer. It is available as a surname sorted comma separated variable file.(census1891az.csv)  references are sheet, series,page. i.e.  2B5 is microfische 2, series B, page 5.

1901 Census (Microfiche) This contains records for Wells only and a  complete index has been put on computer. . Parts of the census are hard to read and hence the file (census1901az.csv) contains many question marks !! Work is continuing to add further details.

INTERNET FILES

To reduce file sizes for transmission on the internet then compressed files in ZIP format are available. These will require decompressing using a program such as winzip.exe. (Download from www.winzip.com)

The raw data files are provided to show where the data is scant before 1754.

NOTES FOR GENEALOGISTS

Those entries of the Parish Records which do not have a day and month entered have not been researched yet. If you require these entries in full then please Email the webmaster.

NEW FOR 2004

The Local History Group has now acquired details of the Methodist Church baptism books for the Fakenham circuit for the period 1844 to 1877.
These books record baptisms not only in Wells but also villages around Fakenham. At the present time only baptisms in the Wells area have been put on computer. These records show all data including the ministers name. The methodist data has been merged into the master baptism file and the entry in the Film field reads 'meth'.   (c.f. 'con' for congregational entries.)

ADDED 2008

The following free web sites enable searches of surnames in parishes around Wells.

http://freereg.rootsweb.com

http://freecen.rootsweb.com

www.familysearch.org

www.historicaldirectories.org