‘Birth Registration’ Index of
                      Nineteenth Century Bramhills
By Peter Bramhill

Civil Registration in England and Wales
Before 1837, the ‘vital records’ of births, marriages and deaths were officially recorded only by the Church of England, as a result of edicts issued by Queen Elizabeth 1 and later Monarchs. People of other denominations such as Roman Catholic and protestant Non-Conformists (including Methodist) had to be recorded also by the Church although they sometimes kept their own unofficial records. Only Quakers and Jews were exempt.

In 1837 the government introduced Civil Registration and set up Registration Districts largely but not consistently based on County boundaries. Sub-districts were based on the old ‘Poor Law Union’ boundaries and were made up of groups of Church of England parishes. They covered an area of about 25 square miles on average. One set of sub-districts were defined for the period from 1837 to 1851. The boundaries were revised in 1852 and remained until 1946 when a third revision was undertaken (which is still in place today).

This index of Bramhill births from 1837 to 1900 inclusive has been compiled from the records in the Family History Centre, London. The records are compiled and published quarterly and list the child’s name, the District of Registration together with the Volume and Page number of the original certificates. From 1910 the indexes also show the mother’s maiden name.

Copies of the Birth Certificates are needed to establish dates of birth and parentage.

Here is a link to the Birth Index of 19th Century Bramhills - 1837 to 1900

Why isn’t ‘Great Great Grandfather’ in this Index?
After 1837 some Clergy advised their congregations not to bother registering. Later there was a fine for late registrations and the Bramhills are not noted for willingly handing over money to the government! Better not to bother!

The rules were not tightened until the 1870’s and it has been estimated that perhaps 15-20% of the population were not registered before 1875. As late as 1940 people born in the 1860’s and 1870’s were getting their birth registered in order to be issued with wartime identity cards.

How do I locate my ancestors before 1837?
Before 1837 the only reliable evidence for the existence of our ancestors is whatever was written in the Parish Records and although Marriage information was fairly standard, the Parish incumbent (Rector, Vicar, Curate or whoever) could write what they pleased for births and deaths. Parish Records prior to 1837 were supposed to have been collected and deposited in County archives but some Clergy refused to hand them over and some are still with Parish priests. When the LDS Church (Mormons) started to microfilm the archive material they did not always cover every area so there are gaps in the IGI as a result.

Where are all these Places in the Bramhill Index?
In the nineteenth century the Bramhill ‘family’ is mostly found in two areas of northern England either side of the Pennine hills. There is a grouping in South Yorkshire/North Lincolnshire and a second concentration in the Liverpool area. For the ‘Bramhill’ index the sub-districts show marked concentrations of the ‘family’ in several sub-districts which actually may lie close together, although in different Counties.

The Lincolnshire and Yorkshire Group
The Isle of Axholme, which is historically part of Lincolnshire and includes Epworth and the surrounding villages is covered by the THORNE sub-district in District 9c (Yorkshire). The Isle is at the very western edge of Lincolnshire and has at various times been administered by Yorkshire and the new County of Humberside. Also the southern part is within Nottinghamshire.

Think of the Isle as a frontier province!

GOOLE, SCULCOATES and HULL are sub-districts immediately to the north along the north bank of the River Humber. Bramhills registered in GRIMSBY, GLANDFORD BRIGG, CAISTOR, LOUTH and SPILSBY (going north to south) are in the Lincolnshire coastal area to the east of GAINSBOROUGH which lies between THORNE and this group of coastal sub-districts.

Apart from THORNE, the main clustering of Bramhills in Yorkshire are recorded in DONCASTER, ROTHERHAM, ECCLESALL BIERLOW, SHEFFIELD and WORTLEY. These areas are all close together in the south of present day Yorkshire close to the Nottingham and Derbyshire borders and there are a few Bramhills registered just over the county boundary in EAST RETFORD.

There is another cluster of Yorkshire Bramhills in LEEDS, HUNSLET and HOLBECK all around the present day City of Leeds.

Confusingly, WEST DERBY is nowhere near Derbyshire but is a sub-district next to PRESCOT and LIVERPOOL on the west coast. This is the other big concentration of Bramhill names outside the Yorkshire/Lincolnshire concentration. There other Lancashire Bramhills in CHORLTON, BURNLEY and MANCHESTER.

Finally, the late nineteenth century shows some Bramhills appearing in the West Midlands in DUDLEY and WOLVERHAMPTON and even a few strays much further away.

Birth Index of 19th Century Bramhills - 1837 to 1900