Discover if your ancestor was born in the British county of Wiltshire in South West England. Search more than two million baptism registers, including some rare early parish records, to find out your ancestor’s name, birth date, and parents’ names.
Each record contains a transcription of an original parish record. The transcripts were created from both parish registers and bishop’s transcripts. The information varies, but you might be able to find out the following about your ancestor:
There are over two million records in this collection taken from the baptism registers from across Wiltshire. Some baptism records go back to 1530. Parish records generally begin in 1538 and, until the introduction of civil registration in 1837, were the most reliable documented source of records for life events. Whilst the registers are for Church of England parishes, most other denominations also used the Anglican parishes for registration purposes, with the exception of Quaker and Jewish records. Transcriptions were created by both Findmypast and Wiltshire Family History Society.
Wiltshire is a largely agricultural county in South West England. A landlocked county, it is bordered by the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Berkshire. Salisbury Plain is known for being the location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites. The county is named after the former county town of Wilton, which itself is named after the River Wyle.
Those born and bred in Wiltshire are sometimes called ‘Moonrakers’. The story goes that a group of 16th century smugglers, trying to evade the excise men or tax collectors, hid their contraband in the village pond. When the excise men turned up, they raked the surface of the pond, causing convenient, camouflaging ripples, and explained that they were trying to fish out the ‘big cheese’ that could clearly be seen floating in the pond. The ‘big cheese’ being the moon of course. The excise men, thinking them mad, let them go, and the contraband was saved. The location of the village pond has been claimed by a number of places but most often as The Crammer, in Devizes.
Benjamin Pitman is known for introducing the Pitman shorthand to the United States. He was baptised in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, on 8 September 1822. Pitman immigrated to the United States in 1853 to instruct Americans in the shorthand system he developed with his brother Issac. Pitman toured America and lectured on the use of the Pitman system. Later, he became an official stenographer and attended the trial of the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.
Christopher Wren was an acclaimed architect born in East Knoyle, Witlshire. Across London, Wren designed more than 50 churches after the Great Fire of London, including the incredible St Paul’s Cathedral (despite set backs such as Parliament turning down his first two designs for the cathedral). He is also known for designing the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, Trinity College Library at Cambridge, and the monument to the Great Fire of London.
The English essayist, poet, and playwright was baptised on 1 May 1672 in Wiltshire. Addison was a leading contributor to The Tatler and later founded The Spectator. He was also a founding member of the Kit Kat Club, a group used for the association of leading Whig politicians and frequented by Robert Walpole and the Duke of Marlborough.
If you are not having luck finding your ancestor when searching by name, try using name variants or abbreviations. For instance, if you cannot find Charles Smith, try searching by C Smith.
If you are searching by a precise year and cannot find the record you are looking for, try broadening the year range, or try removing the year field altogether. Years were not always accurately provided and, in some cases, they may have been mistranscribed. In such cases, searching by a range of years allows those records to appear in results.