Source Information

Ancestry.com. Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1938 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Gloucestershire Anglican Parish Registers. Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire, England.

About Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1938

This data collection contains marriage records and marriage banns from Church of England parish registers from various parishes in Gloucestershire.

Parish records are the best source of vital record information before Civil Registration began in 1837. Both the British government and the church had an interest in record keeping, and a 1538 Act of Parliament required ministers in the Church of England to record baptisms, marriages, and burials. The Marriage Act of 1753 (known as Lord Hardwicke’s Act) required marriages to be recorded in a separate register, and after 1812, George Rose’s Act called for preprinted registers to be used as a way of standardizing records.

See the browse to determine which parishes are included in this collection and the dates of coverage. Also, some churches continued to record marriages in composite registers after 1753, so if you don’t find who you are looking for in these records, you may want to check Gloucestershire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1813.

What You Can Find in the Records

Records are typically arranged in chronological order and contain the following information:

  • names of spouses
  • fathers’ names
  • age
  • marital condition
  • rank or profession
  • father’s rank or profession
  • residence
  • marriage date or dates of publication of banns
  • marriage place (parish and county)
  • whether married by license or by banns

About Marriages

Couples were usually married in the bride’s parish. Until the early 20th century couples could marry at a very young age. Legally, the couple was required to be married either by banns or by license.

If married by banns, the couple was required to announce or publish their intention to marry for three consecutive Sundays. If no one objected to the intended marriage, the couple was allowed to marry. Just because banns were published does not guarantee the marriage actually took place. Therefore, it is possible to find a couple among the marriage banns whom you aren’t able to find an actual marriage record for.

Couples usually married by license if they didn’t want to wait the required three weeks for the publication of banns or if the bride and groom lived in different dioceses. Marriage by license was also common among the upper class.