Caring for parish church records

Introduction

In this guide we will offer some general advice on the care and preservation of your parish records.

Managing your parish records effectively is important to ensure that information is easily available whenever you need it.

You do not have to keep everything permanently: if you do, it will be difficult to unearth significant information from the mass of records.

If the wrong documents are destroyed, on the other hand, you and your successors will not be able to access information when it is needed.

It is also important to preserve parish records as they are a key source for anyone interested in local and family history.

The church was responsible for many civil functions in the past, such as giving relief to the poor, repairing parish roads, maintaining law and order and collecting local rates.

Churches were also often involved with local charities and schools, as indeed many still are today.

Documents relating to all these functions may survive in parish collections.

Church records of all dates also contain information about church services, the church fabric and church lands and property, which may be of great value to researchers both now and in the future.