In creating the Thornbury Roots website, we have relied heavily on the wonderful website, Scribes Alcove which provides a database of baptism, marriage and burial records for Thornbury extracted from the records of St Mary’s Church. The database is restricted to records after 1700, because the easy-to-use facility for searching for names is most effective when there are fewer variations of the way names are written. Prior to 1700 there were many different ways of spelling the same name which makes it more difficult to search for a particular name. Transcribing the records is further complicated by the fact that records are often written in an old English handwriting that included letters and abbreviations no longer used. The records were written in Latin and we have chosen to translate the date but generally we have left the name as it appears in its Latin form e.g. Johannes for John.
We are extremely grateful to our good friend, Roger Howell, local historian and archaeologist who has bravely attempted the job of transcribing the parish records from 1550 onwards. He has shared his work with us and allowed us to use it on this website. Please understand that in many cases the person compiling the original register was often unable to spell and wrote whatever a name sounded like to them. Roger has used his vast experience and local knowledge to read the handwriting and interpret these names. In some cases, the names were written using an old form of lettering which Roger was unable to convert into modern letters so we have been unable to provide a name and in other cases the register was so damaged or faded that the names were occasionally unreadable. Inevitably there are some blanks and there will be many errors in the listings we are providing, but we feel it better to have them and to share them than to have nothing at all.
Roger has spent hundreds of hours of his time transcribing the records and has so far covered the period from 1550 to 1608. Our typed version of Roger’s work is more than 150 pages. For the purposes of this website we have chosen to organise the records into lists covering ten year periods. Each list is in the form of a table which can be viewed by clicking on the links below. It is possible to search each list for a particular name but because of the different spelling we advise it is better browsing the lists. In order to make ‘searching’ for effective, we have created a separate column on each list in which we are entering what we think might be the modern spelling of that name. Be warned that this is only our interpretation of a name.