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Genealogy/UK Genealogical Records


Hi Frances,

Is it true that UK genealogical records only go back 500 years?


It depends on what records you are talking about.  There are several records of people who came with William the Conqueror in 1066 although they might be inaccurate.

There is also the Domesday Survey of 1086.  This consists mostly men who owned property.  Tax record are from the early 1100's.  Freemen's Rolls or Registers are from the 1200's.  The Statute of Winchester (1285) required every man between 15 and 60 to be assessed and sworn to arms according to his land.

Parish records vary from the early 1500's to date.  It is true that birth, death, and marriage records were only official kept from 1837.

I have been able to find some of my family back to the late 1100's.  In order to find someone it seems they have to be wealthy enough to own land, be involved with the church or to have committed a crime.  There are very few records for the common man.

Hope this answers your question.


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Frances Sampey Deak


I specialize in English genealogy. I can answer questions on where to look for specific records and advise what is not available.


20 years experience in England as a professional genealogist.

Society of Genealogists, London
Northwest Kent Genealogical Society

Family Tree, England
Genealogical Helper, US

BA and MA University of South Florida
ABD University of Florida

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