Every record will display the original sacramental register and a transcript of the vital details. The information in each record could vary depending on how much was recorded on the day of the event by the parish priest and the legibility of the records. You will find a combination of the following details:
Spouse’s father’s name
Records year range
The image may provide you more details about your ancestor’s wedding day such as the name of the priest who performed the service.
The registers were recorded in either English or Latin. Until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Latin was the language of the Catholic Church. Many of the registers recorded events in Latin. The names of individuals were Latinised; therefore, the name Mary may appear in its Latin form as Maria. We have included a list of common Latin words found in the England Roman Catholic parish marriages.
Anno Domino – year of Our Lord
Die mensis – day of month
Filium / Filiam - son or daughter
Matrimonium – the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or marriage
Nomina parentum – the names of parents
Observanda – observations or notes
Praesntibus testibus – their presence as witnesses
In some marriages, special dispensation would have been needed to allow the marriage of two related people. In these cases, their relation will be recorded as consanguinati (blood relations such as cousins) or affinitatus (related by marriage). The degree of relation will also be explained, for example the record may state consanguinati in tertio grado, which means the couple are second cousins.
The records in this collection have been made available by the Birmingham Archdiocesan Archives and Westminster Archdiocesan Archives. Findmypast is dedicated to adding further dioceses to this collection of Roman Catholic records. There are records available from 1657 until 1907. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales placed a 110-year closure period on all sacramental records. Most of the records available here are from the 19th century.
For centuries, practicing the Catholic faith was banned in England. However, Catholicism endured in England and was practiced inconspicuously. Some churches even aligned themselves with foreign embassies to gain religious freedom. For example, Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory of Warwick Street was traditionally under the protection of the Bavarian embassy. In 1791, practicing the Roman Catholic faith was decriminalised. Through the next century, a number of relief acts were passed to end the discrimination of Roman Catholics such as the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, which allowed Roman Catholics to sit as Members of Parliament. The Catholic Church has flourished since these times, and in 2001, there were over 4 million Catholics living in England and Wales. The Church has a long and rich history, including the works of Thomas Becket, Thomas More, and Margaret Ward. It has established numerous educational institutions, and its religious orders practice charitable works in the communities across the country.
Between 1754 and 1837, it was a legal requirement to be married in the Church of England. Search parish registers from the Church of England if you are unable to find your ancestors here. Our parish registers are organised by county. Use the A-Z and search for your county to find what registers are available.
Use the name variant search in order to search for the Latin version of your ancestor’s name. For example, searching for Catherine with the name variant option will also return records for Catherina.