Did your ancestor come from the same parish as the famous Cary Grant? Explore more than 500,000 names in this baptism index from Bristol. The index includes 116 parishes. Among the records we have discovered the baptism record of the debonair actor Cary Grant, born Archibald Alexander Leach.
Each record is a transcript of the original document. The amount of information in each transcript can vary but most will include:
Archive and reference
This collection of baptism records from Bristol comprise transcripts created by Findmypast using the original records held at the Bristol Archives and transcripts from FamilySearch’s International Genealogical Index (IGI).
Bristol is located in South West England on the rivers Frome and Avon. Because of its location it has had a long history with maritime trade. Most of the ports and business grew in the city through trade with France, Portugal, Wales, Ireland and America. Legend says that the famous pirate Blackbeard was born in Bristol. The city further prospered during the industrial revolution. It is the 7th largest city in England. St. Mary Redcliffe church is the tallest building in Bristol.
Findmypast was able to discover the baptism record of actor Cary Grant, who was born Archibald Alexander Leach. The baptism record only recorded the surname Leach, but by using other evidence available, such as parents’ names and location we could decipher that it was, in fact, Archibald Leach. This is an example of why it is important to look at the whole record when deciding whether it is or is not your ancestor. An additional clue was the baptism date, which usually often occurs only weeks after an individual’s birth. There are many reasons why the records can be incomplete; the record may have been illegible, damaged or it could have been a simple human error.
Cary Grant was born in 1904 in Bristol. He was born Archibald Alexander Leach to Elias and Elsie Marie Leach. The couple were married in 1898 at St Matthias. Their record is available in the Gloucestershire, Bristol Marriage Index 1644-1939. Archibald Leach’s baptism record states he was baptised at Horfield, a suburb of Bristol on 8 February 1904.
We have been able to further trace the family through the 1911 Census records, which show them living together in Bristol. At the young age of 16, Leach left Bristol for America to pursue acting as part of the Bob Pender stage group. Findmypast’s Passenger lists leaving UK 1860-1960 records show that the group left Southampton on 21 July 1920 on the HMS Olympic with 1,207 passengers. The acting group later returned to England, but Leach stayed in America and followed his dream. Archie Leach performed in vaudeville shows and then made his way into Broadway musicals. Then in 1931 he drove cross-country to Hollywood in the hope of appearing on the big screen. He made his first feature film in 1932, one of seven that same year. In order to sign with the studio, Archie was told to change his name. He chose Cary Grant and the name and star were born.
Throughout his career, Grant was famed for his roles in screwball comedies and as a leading man opposite talented actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, Mae Davis, Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn. On Findmypast we find Grant traveling back and forth from America to England and in the US Census 1940 living in Santa Monica. He had a number of unsuccessful marriages but his acting career continued to grow until his retirement in 1966. His biggest box office hit was the Hitchcock film, North by Northwest. Today Cary Grant is still regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time.