The Parish Registers of England & Wales.
Dates. Old & New Style.
My name is Pat Molloy and I am married to Rita who is an Ackerman, and in May 1999 we began researching Rita's family history. During the course of our investigations we gathered a great deal of Ackerman information that did not link directly to Rita's family, but which we felt may be of help to other Ackerman researchers. Hence this website.
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The Parish Registers of England & Wales.
Strictly speaking the term "Parish Register" refers to the records of the Anglican Church, (The Church of England). However, nowadays it is taken to mean all church records including the Nonconformist's.
The keeping of the records began in 1538, when Thomas Cromwell, Chief Minister to Henry VIII ordered the clergy to keep a record of all the Baptisms, Marriages and Burials that took place in their Parish. Many of the clergy resented becoming unpaid civil servants and did not comply, but in 1598 Queen Elizabeth issued an injunction which reinforced the original instruction, and from that date all Parish's have kept permanent records.
Unfortunately not all the records have survived. Neglect, damp, carelessness, fire, and theft have all taken their toll, and many were destroyed during the English Civil War. Nonetheless a surprisingly high proportion have survived, although some of the early ones are now difficult to decipher.
Today very few old registers remain in the care of the parish. Almost without
exception they have been deposited in the County Record Offices.
For many entries I do not have the details of the Church or Chapel in which the event took place, so in these instances I have only included the name of the Town or Village.
For both practical and legal reasons I have drawn the line at 1900. There is a
wealth of information after that date but I feel that most people have a good
idea of their family in the past 100 years. The only exception is the GRO
indexes, which I have included up to 1925.
I have not altered any spelling. Alis, Joane and Steyven remain as they are written. I have not "modernized them" to Alice, Joan and Stephen.
The actual spelling in the register seems to depend upon the whim of the minister. Dialect, intonation and even the spelling ability of the minister all play a part. And if the minister changes, or the family moves to a new parish, it often results in a change of spelling.
The possibility of your ancestors surname changing should always be borne in mind.
It was not until the late nineteenth century when education became compulsory
that some kind of real stability came to the spelling of surnames and they
became established in the form we know them today.
From the information I have it is possible to deduce that the "Ackermans"
originated in South Dorset, mainly in the Bridport area. Nonconformisim was
particularly strong in the South West of England and therefore much of the
information on the Ackerman family will be in the registers of the
Nonconformist chapels. At the moment, with a few exceptions, these have not
Dates - Old Style & New Style.
Before 1752, when the Julian calendar (Old Style) was in use, the year began on the 25th March and ended on the 24th March, so April was the 1st. month of the year and March was the 12th, or last month of the year.
With the introduction of the Gregorian calendar (New Style) the start of the year was changed to the 1st January and the end to the 31 December.
Thus any date from the 1st January to the 24th March in the "Old Style" calendar will be 1 year different in the new calendar. For example, '1st January 1748' in the "Old style" would be '1st January 1749' in the "New Style".
Failure to understand this can cause confusion to family historians. It may appear that a child born in December was baptized in January of the same year, when in fact this is not the case.
To overcome this confusion I have followed the convention of showing both
dates. Dates for the months of January, February and March prior to 1752 show
both "Old Style" and "New Style" years.