Family History in Guernsey

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One of the reasons we started Donkipedia, is because there is not a lot of help online for Family Historians with Guernsey roots. There is a wide range of information and resources on Donkipedia which can help you trace your family tree and learn more about your family history. This page provides an index to help you find them.

This page is divided into three main sections:

  • Starting out - a guide to the main records and their locations
  • Donkipedia resources – an overview of what you will find on Donkipedia to help your research
  • Going further – other resources that can help you find out more about your ancestors (property, occupational records, military service, etc)

Contents

Starting out - Main Records and Locations

Civil Registration (Births, Marriages and Deaths)

Civil Registration of births and deaths begain in Guernsey in 1840 (three years later than the UK). Registration of marriages did not begin until 1919, before which marriages can only be found in the church registers (see below).

The States of Guernsey Greffe (Guernsey’s Registry Office) holds the originals, and they are available on microfilm in the Priaulx Library.

Church Registers (Baptisms, Marriages and Burials)

As in England, parish churches began recording baptisms, marriages and burials in 1563, but not all Guernsey parishes’ registers survive that far back.

Many of the registers have been indexed, and are available for consultation, along with microfilm of the original registers, in the Priaulx Library.

A limited range of Town Church, St Peter Port baptisms between 1820 and 1907 can be found on the Family Search web site under batch number I02949-1.

Census

A census has been taken every 10 years in Guernsey since 1821, as in England & Wales – with detailed schedules surviving since 1841. The Guernsey census can be found amongst the same record series in the National Archives in Kew.

They are indexed and available online through subscription sites ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.co.uk. (Warning: The quality of the transcription of Channel Islands surnames on these sites is variable - see Transcription errors in Census indexes).

There is a free online transcription of the 1841 Census.

There was also a one-off census carried out in 1827 – although the records only survive for some parishes. The St Peter Port 1827 Census is available on microfilm in the Priaulx Library.

Donkipedia resources

These pages are expanding all the time, so check back. If you would like to contribute, please contact Donkipedia editor at User talk:Sgfoote or email donkipedia [at] guernsey-society.org.uk.

Lists and Indexes

Going further

World War I

Over 3,000 Guernseymen fought in World War I – 1,000 of which served in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry. The Guernsey Museum holds a lot of material and a large photograph archive in the RGLI museum in Castle Cornet.

The National Archives holds the major records relating to this perdiod. Medal Rolls, and some War Diaries are available online through their web site, and the Soldiers’ Service Records that survive can be found in Kew.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has an online database of those who died in the war.

Channel Islands and the Great War forum has a comprehensive web site and regular journal dedicated to research into the roles that islanders played in the war.

World War II

The Channel Islands were occupied by Germany for most of the war, and over 17,000 Guernseymen and women were evacuated to England before the occupation, and 1,000 were deported to prison camps in Germany during the occupation.

The German Occupation pages on Donkipedia have a wide range of information about this period. The Island Archives Service holds registration cards of the islanders that stayed, which often include photgraphs.

Property deeds & Livres de Perchage

All property transactions up until 1924 were recorded in the Date and Lire registers in the States of Guernsey Greffe. Property records after that date are recorded at the States Cadastre Department.

Each fief carried out a survey roughly every 25 years, the results of which were recorded in Livres de Perchage .

Alex Glendinnig's Guernsey Datestones project can also provide some useful clues.

See also Old Guernsey Houses for more details about house histories.

Occupational records

Merchant Seamen

Many islanders went to sea, and the National Archives hold Seamen’s Tickets, Crew Lists and many other records relating to the islands’ Maritime History.

A limited range of Crew Lists can be found at the Guernsey Crew List Index site.

Butchers

Stephen Foote’s History of Guernsey Butchers site contains details of many butchers and their families who came to Guernsey during the 19th century.

Silver makers

Channel Islands Silver makers' marks.

The Poor

Guernsey's equivalent of workhouses were the Town Hospital and the Country Hospital in the Castel parish. Their records are kept in the Island Archives Service.

Newspapers

Newspapers and Periodicals, in English and French, have been published regularly in Guernsey since La Gazette de Guernesey was first published in 1791. The Priaulx Library has a comprehensive collection of many of these, which is in the process of being scanned.

The British Newspaper Archive includes digitised images of The Guernsey Star 1869-1900 which are fully searchable online.

Societies

Guernsey Society has published The Review 3-4 times a year since 1945, which contains a wide range of articles about Guernsey families and other aspects of Guernsey history. References to these can be found on the relevant Guernsey Surnames pages. More details can be found at the Guernsey Society web site.

La Société Guernesiaise has a Family History Section which published a journal twice a year, and also undertakes research on behalf of members. More details at their website.

Links to other research groups

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