Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why can’t I find my clergyman ancestor on your website?

    The Database is not yet complete. After collecting the data from the documents in record offices across the country, we have to link the records to the clergymen and to the places to which they relate before the information is made available to the public. When this process has been completed, you should be able to find details of the clergyman whom you are researching. You may wish to check the site regularly, as more data is made available every two months, and you can view an account of content currently available. Even so, diocesan record survival is variable, so some records will always remain incomplete and it a few clergymen are likely to escape detection altogether.

  2. Where else should I look for information on my ancestor or a particular clergyman?

    For the period covered by CCEd, 1540-1835, many clergymen were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge University. A first step, therefore, is to consult either (1) J. Foster, Alumni Oxonienses (1888-92), which contains biographical details of men who studied at Oxford between 1500 and 1886, or (2) J. and J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigenses (1922-54), which has biographical details of those who matriculated at Cambridge between the 13th century and 1900. Both of these works can be found in many record offices and reference libraries. Editions have also been published on CD-Rom.

    A considerable number of men who served in the Church of England studied in Ireland. You may, therefore, also consider consulting Alumni Dublinenses, a register of the students, graduates, professors and provosts of Trinity College, in the University of Dublin from 1637 to 1846. This volume has also been made available on CD-Rom. It was less common for those educated at the Scottish universities to find preferment in the English church, but it may still be worth consulting (1) P.J.Anderson (ed.), Roll of Alumni in Arts of the University and King’s College of Aberdeen 1596-1860; (2) A Roll of the Graduates of the University of Glasgow from 31st December 1727 to 31st December 1897, with short biographical notes; and (3) A Catalogue of the Graduates in the Faculties of Art, Divinity and Law, of the University of Edinburgh since its foundation (1858).

    Clerical directories began to be published in the early nineteenth century. The first edition of the Clergy List appeared in 1841; this publication was superseded by Crockford’s Clerical Directory from 1858. It contains the names and livings of clergymen in England, Wales and Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, military, naval and prison chaplains, as well as those working all over the British Empire. It also lists the benefices in England and Wales, their values, populations and patrons.

    For further information see the Research Guide produced by Lambeth Palace Library.

    A useful publication for those researching clerical ancestors is My Ancestor Was An Anglican Clergyman, by Peter Towey (London: Society of Genealogists, 1986).

  3. How can I trace a clergyman if he moved to Scotland or the American colonies?

    James Bell has compiled the Colonial American Clergy of the Church of England Database. It is a subscription database of biographical and professional information for the 1,281 men who were associated with the King’s Church in the provinces between 1607 and 1783.

    Tom Rightmyer (trightmy[at] of Asheville, NC, has been working for some time on a biographical directory of the Church of England clergy who served in British America before 1785 and would be happy to respond to inquiries.

    The Clergy List gives information for clergymen in Ireland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, military, naval and prison chaplains and those working all over the British Empire.

  4. Where can I search for information about particular clergymen after 1835?

    Apart from the Clerical Guide and the Clergy List, mentioned above, Crockfords Clerical Directory, first published in 1858, is an excellent source of information for this later period. The contents are similar to the Clergy Lists but more detailed. It was published annually and and now appears biannually. An online edition contains information that goes back to 1968.

    For further sources see the Research Guide produced by Lambeth Palace Library.

  5. When will the diocese of x come on line?

    Our data for each diocese is being processed in three sections, Early (1540 – c.1660), Early Modern (c.1660 – c.1760) and Modern (c.1760 –1835), so the records of each diocese will appear in stages. We are working to make all our data available as soon as possible; you can see the dioceses on which we are currently working by going to the Content of Database page.

  6. I am researching the parish of x. When will the data for that parish be available?

    That will depend on which diocese the parish is in. Our data is being processed diocese by diocese, as detailed in FAQ 5 above.

  7. Who were Venn and Foster?

    J. and J. A. Venn, and J. Foster compiled the volumes of Cambridge and Oxford graduates. See FAQ 2 above.