Birth, marriage and death
If you are researching an individual or carrying out family research, you will need to view records relating to birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial. Before starting your search, you will need to know the name of the person, the approximate date of birth, marriage or death and the area they were registered or living at the time.
We do not hold birth, marriage and death certificates. These can be obtained from the General Registrar.
What records can I find at Denbighshire Archives?
Church and chapel registers
Registers of baptism, banns/marriage and burials which took place in a parish church (Church in Wales) have been deposited at Denbighshire Archives along with other parish records such as tithe maps and churchwarden’s accounts. Parish registers provide different information to post-1837 birth, marriage and burial certificates. If you need to order a copy of a civil registration certificate please contact the registrar.
A baptism register entry will tell you the name of the child, name of parents (father only in earlier registers), address of parents, the date of baptism and the church. Some baptism registers are more informative and provide date of birth in the margin. Earlier registers contain less information.
Prior to 1754, marriage entries were quite uninformative, often showing just the date, the name of the bride and groom and the parish. Later registers provide witness signatures and after 1837 the name of the father of both the bride and groom were added.
A burial register entry will tell you the name and age of the deceased, date of burial and address at time of death. Sometimes the address can be specific to house number and street and sometimes it can just provide the name of a village or area. A burial entry will not provide details such as cause of death, next of kin or plot number in most cases.
Some chapel registers have been deposited, but not all. The majority of registers held at Denbighshire Archives are baptism registers. A chapel register generally provides the same kind of information as a church register. You can see a list of chapel registers we hold here [pdf copy]
We also hold the bishop’s transcripts from the St Asaph diocese on microfilm. These are copies of the registers sent annually to the bishop. For most parishes, we have microfilms of returns from the 1660s to the 1850s. The bishop’s transcripts are a useful source where the parish registers themselves are missing.
Graveyard surveys and monumental inscriptions
Not all burial grounds have a plan and sometimes if a grave is unmarked there is no way of knowing exactly where a person is buried.
Surveys of graveyards have been conducted by groups of individuals with an interest in documenting burials in a particular graveyard (local history societies or church support groups for example).
You can search the catalogue for monumental inscriptions for a particular burial ground.
Not everyone left a will, but it is certainly worth investigating. A will can provide the following information-
- Name and full address of the individual
- Information about the social status and wealth of the individual
- Information about land and property of the individual
- Name of spouse, children, grandchildren and other family relations
- The burial place of the deceased
- Information about occupations
- Names of administrator/executor
We hold a limited number of wills which have usually been deposited with us as part of solicitor’s collections or other private deposits. You can search our catalogue for a person’s name to see if we hold their will.
If you are looking for a Welsh will dated before 1858 you should use the National Library of Wales wills website to search for a will and you can view the will online.
Burial Boards and Cemetery records
Cemetery records are records relating to municipal cemeteries as opposed to churchyards. The Burial Act 1853 enabled parishes and boroughs to establish and administer their own cemeteries. Until the establishment of Parish Councils in 1894, the church vestry was able to elect a burial board, after 1894 this responsibility was taken on the Parish Council.
Burial Board records can be found in Parish Council records or records of Urban District Councils. These records can include burial registers, registers of graves, notices of internment and cemetery plans.
Records in Urban District Council (Ref: UDD) records include-
- Notices or internment for Bron-y-Nant Cemetery, Colwyn Bay (1903-1934)
- Registers of burials, Dyserth Road, Rhyl (1901-1994)
- Cemetery superintendents’ registers of internments, Dyserth Road, Rhyl (1920-1979)
- Cemetery books, Dyserth Road, Rhyl (1964-1975)
- Ministers’ fees ledger, Rhyl (1966-1976)
- Burial fees ledger, Prestatyn (1950-1966)
We do not hold complete records of individual burials at Denbighshire cemeteries in the parish council or urban district council records. In most cases, you will need to contact the cemeteries officer if you are looking for a record of a burial in the following cemeteries-
- Coed Bell, Upper Gronant Road, Prestatyn.
- Fron Bache Cemetery, Vicarage Road, Llangollen.
- Llanrhydd Cemetery, Llanrhydd, Ruthin.
- Maeshyfryd Cemetery, Dyserth Road, Rhyl.
- Y Fynwent Newydd, New Road, Rhuddlan.
- Y Llwyn Cemetery, Mount Road, St Asaph.
- Ystrad Road Cemetery, Ystrad Road, Denbigh.
We hold a microfilm copy (MFD/1694) for burials that took place in Denbigh cemetery (Ystrad Road) between 1889 and 1990. You will need to book a microfilm reader to view these records.
If you are looking for a cemetery burial in Wrexham you can search online for burials that took place in Wrexham’s main cemetery between 1876 and 2012.
Cremation became legal in 1884. Denbighshire Archives holds no crematorium records. The nearest crematoriums are in Wrexham, St Asaph and Colwyn Bay.
The Denbighshire Memorial Park and Crematorium in St Asaph has only recently opened (May 2016). Please contact them to find a record of a recent cremation.
Colwyn Bay Crematorium (Bron y Nant) has been in existence since 1957. Please contact them to find a record of a cremation since 1957.
Shrewsbury Crematorium (Emstrey) has been in existence since 1958. Please contact them to find a record of a cremation since 1958.
Wrexham Crematorium (Pentrebychan) has been in existence since 1966. Please contact them to find a record of a cremation since 1966.
Before 1957, people in North Wales had the option of cremation in Landican, Birkenhead, although it was rarely used.
The coroner’s role has evolved over time and now is primarily concerned with cases of sudden or suspicious death.
We hold the following coroner’s records-
You can find out more about what information a coroner’s record may contain here.
There is a 75 year closure period on coroner’s records.
Hospital records sometimes include maternity registers and registers of death.
What language were the records written?
Most of these records, with the exception of some non-conformist registers, are in English.
Some early parish records are written in Latin. You can see a guide to Latin here.
It is our policy to catalogue records in the language they were originally written.
How can I access these records?
Parish registers for Denbighshire (and all of Wales) are available through a paid subscription to Findmypast.co.uk. You can access this site for free in the searchroom by booking a PC. Denbighshire parish registers available on findmypast.co.uk include:
- Baptisms dated before c.1905
- Marriages/Banns dated before c.1925
- Burials dated before c.1955
Please note that some parishes opted out of having their registers scanned.
If you want to view bishop’s transcripts or parish registers on microfilm, you will need to book a microfilm reader. Original parish registers are not available to view in the searchroom except in very exceptional cases or where a microfilm copy is unavailable. We also have transcripts available for most parishes up to 1812.
To view coroner’s records, wills, monumental inscriptions and original nonconformist registers you will need to book a place in our searchroom. Book a place in the searchroom today.
To access a coroner’s record dated within the last 75 years you must apply to the coroner. You can find the contact for the Denbighshire coroner here.
What records can I find in other archives and organisations?
The National Library of Wales
You can search for wills dated pre-1858 using The National Library Welsh Wills website.
Most of The Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodist) records are held by The National Library of Wales.
The Local Registrar
The Denbighshire Registrar can supply copy birth, marriage and death certificate for those registered in Denbighshire. For more information on how to obtain a copy certificate, visit their website.
The General Registrar (GRO)
The GRO maintains the national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837 for England and Wales. Copy birth, marriage and death certificates can be ordered online on their website.