Discover your ancestors who were buried in Staffordshire between 1538 and 1959. Piece together your family history using such details as where your relatives lived, where they died, their occupation, and possibly even how they died. Included in these records are those of Francis Barber, the Jamaican servant of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who assisted Johnson in the revisions of his renowned Dictionary of the English Language. You can also explore the records through the Staffordshire, Parish Registers Browse, which are digitised images from the original registers.
Each record comprises a transcript and black and white image of the original register. The amount of information listed varies, but the records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
• First name(s)
• Last name
• Death year
• Death date
• Burial year
• Burial date
• Burial place
The images may provide further details, including:
• Residence (if in workhouse)
• Birth status (e.g. if illegitimate)
• Marital status
• Occupation or rank (e.g. gentleman)
• Relatives’ name(s)
• Officiating minister
• If the deceased was a pauper
• If buried in unconsecrated ground
• Cause of death
The record set comprises 1,153,045 records from 230 parishes in Staffordshire.
These records date from 1538 to 1959.
Note: some of the older registers may be in Latin. The transcripts will be in English, but the images can be in Latin.
Note: in some of the earlier parish registers, baptisms, marriages, and burials are all written in the same register. The images show all these together.
Colour digital images created from paper originals will be added in due course, expanding the collection considerably so if you can't find your ancestor now there's a good chance they will be here soon.
Staffordshire Parish Register Collection
These records belong to the Staffordshire Collection, a unique set of records spanning baptisms, banns, marriages and burials, which provide details of the history of Staffordshire and its people.
Since its foundation, the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service has been responsible for the records of Staffordshire parishes. The very first deposit of records obtained by Staffordshire Record Office in 1947 was from the parish of Hamstall Ridware. Registers included in this collection are all held by the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service. Registers for those few Staffordshire parishes deposited with other archive services are not included in this collection.
The parish registers in this collection document the key events in the lives of the people of Staffordshire, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent and those parts of the historic county currently within the West Midlands conurbation.
Staffordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England. It borders Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, and Shropshire. (If your ancestors’ records cannot be found in these records, you may be able to search for them in bordering counties.)
Stoke-on-Trent is the largest city in Staffordshire, and is administered independently from the rest of the county. Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire.
From English parish records between 1500 and 1800, historians have discovered that infant mortality – death during the first year of life – was around 140 out of 1,000 live births, compared to around 4 out of 1,000 live births today. Causes of death included unidentifiable fevers, dysentery, scarlet fever, whooping cough, influenza, pneumonia and smallpox.
There are many infant deaths recorded in the registers.
A number of images of burial registers show that the deceased died as paupers or in workhouses. Stone Workhouse is mentioned, which was built on Stafford Road in 1793. The workhouse had around 60 inmates, who were employed in making blankets, linens and mops.
A record of a 1750 burial at Wolverhampton, St Peter simply states ‘Child from Workhouse’.
The letter ‘P’ in the margin indicates a pauper, who often is recorded as dying in the workhouse.
On 30 June 1787, six-year-old John Cartwright was buried after he was ‘bit by a mad dog 13 April’.
William Willington was buried on 8 December 1706 after he was ‘Drowned in a coal pit’.
In 1728, a note in the burial records of Ricardus Lake states that he left in his last will and testament the rent and interest from some land ‘to be distributed in bread to the poor of the parish of Bradley as shall come to Church, by twelve pence a day every Sunday in the year to be distributed at the discretion of the Minister’
And the prize for the best name in these records goes to. . . Athanapus Amery, who was buried at Stone in 1728.
Francis Barber was Samuel Johnson’s Jamaican servant in London from 1752 until Johnson’s death in 1784. Barber was born a slave on a sugar plantation in Jamaica and was brought to England by his owner, Colonel Richard Bathhurst. Colonel Bathhurst’s son Richard was a close friend of Johnson, and the Bathhursts sent Barber to him as a valet after Johnson’s wife died. The legal validity of slavery in England was ambiguous at this time, but when Colonel Bathhurst died, he granted Barber his freedom in his will. Barber served in the Navy for a brief stint but was retrieved by Johnson, who arranged for Barber to be educated at Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School. He subsequently acted not only as Johnson’s valet but also his secretary, keeping Johnson’s diary and assisting him with revisions of his dictionary. When Barber married, he lived with his wife and family in Johnson’s house until Johnson died. Barber then moved to Lichfield, Staffordshire, living off a generous annuity from Johnson until his death in 1801. He was buried in Stafford, St Mary on 28 January 1801. His burial records read ‘Francis Barber from the Infirmary (Dr Johnson’s negro servant)’.
Parish records Parish registers are handwritten volumes in which details of baptisms, banns, marriages and burials are recorded. In 1538, following the Church of England’s split with Rome, it was decreed that each parish priest must keep such a register. In 1813, separate baptism and burial registers were introduced in printed portrait layout.
Burial records Burial records provide information on the date and place your ancestor was buried, and are an essential part of researching your family history. There are records, where the parents of the deceased are listed, and these are often the key to finding out the names of the generation before.