The Liverpool, England Catholic registers are online at Ancestry.com. However, they are easy to miss! It’s important to realize that on most databases for English records, when the term “parish” is used, it typically refers to the Protestant Church of England parish system. Although there were English Catholics who survived the Protestant Reformation, they met quietly, often in houses, and were considered non-conformists, just like any number of other churches. Prior to World War I, Catholic churches would have been considered a “chapel” rather than a parish.
The Church of England, which is part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, became the state religion in 1559. Until 1829, when the Catholic Relief Act was passed, Catholics faced discrimination.
The Liverpool Catholic Records Collections
The collections, which are indexed and connected with the scanned images can be found in four Ancestry collections:
“Liverpool, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1802-1906”
“Liverpool, England, Catholic Confirmations, 1813-1920”
“Liverpool, England, Catholic Marriages, 1754-1921”
“Liverpool, England, Catholic Burials, 1813-1988”
The Liverpool Diocese was established in 1850, and most of the christenings, marriages and burials in these database would date from that time. It’s important to remember, it was the Irish Catholics flooding into the city, which would create huge parishes. The indexes can be searched by name and even by parent’s names if you know them. Also keep in mind that burial is not a sacrament in the Catholic Church, so parishes did not have to keep them. However, baptism and marriages were sacraments.
Importance of the Liverpool Databases
Liverpool was a major drawing place for ships leaving Ireland. Often passengers would disembark and either board another vessel, or they would stay for a while prior to moving elsewhere. This makes the Liverpool collections very important in your quest to document Irish ancestors.
Although Liverpool had one of the largest Catholic populations in England, it’s important to remember, that Catholics tended to register births, marriages and deaths less often with the government. Registration with the government became mandatory in 1874. The sketchy nature of Catholic registration with the government makes these Catholic databases a viable substitute. These are major databases for Irish immigrant research.
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