Family History in Guernsey
Jerripedia contains a large number of articles and lists of records to help with researching family history in Jersey. The Guernsey section of the site, retained after separating from Donkipedia, is much less comprehensive. This page explains what is available in this website, and elsewhere, to help with researching Guernsey families.
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, but two years before Jersey). Registration of marriages did not begin until 1919, before which marriages can only be found in the church registers. None of these records can be found online. 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 and Jersey, parish churches began recording baptisms, marriages and burials in 1563, but not all Guernsey parish registers survive that far back. These registers have not been digitised and are not available online. 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 St Peter Port baptisms between 1820 and 1907 can be found on the Family Search web site under batch number I02949-1.
A census has been taken every ten years in Guernsey since 1821, as in England and Wales – with detailed schedules surviving since 1841. The Guernsey census can be found among the same record series in the National Archives in Kew. They are indexed and available online through subscription sites Ancestry and Find My Past. The quality of the transcription of Channel Islands surnames on these sites is variable. 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.
This website's resources
- Guernsey family trees and histories
- Guernsey Surnames - the main family names of Guernsey
- Old Guernsey Houses - histories of some of the old farmhouses in the island
- Emigration - sources of information on emigration from the islands
- Guernsey Timeline - a timeline of the major events in Guernsey's history
- A glossary of Channel Island terms
Lists and Indexes
- Cholera epidemic - list of the victims of the 1832 Cholera epidemic in Guernsey.
- List of Jurats of Guernsey
- List of Deans of Guernsey
- List of tenants of Herm
- List of Bailiffs of Guernsey
- Huguenot refugees
Over 3,000 Guernseymen fought in the Great War – 1,000 of whom served in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry. The Guernsey Museum holds a large collection 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 Island Archives Service holds registration cards of the islanders who stayed, which often include photgraphs.
Property deeds and 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.
The Guernsey Datestones project can also provide some useful clues.
Old Guernsey Houses has histories of a limited number of houses
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.
Stephen Foote’s History of Guernsey Butchers site contains details of many butchers and their families who came to Guernsey during the 19th century.
Channel Islands Silver makers' marks.
Newspapers and Periodicals, in English and French, have been published regularly in Guernsey since La Gazette de Guernesey started 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.
Guernsey Society has published The Review 3-4 times a year since 1945. It contains a wide range of articles about Guernsey families and other aspects of Guernsey history. More details can be found at the Guernsey Society web site.