Projects (general)

general projects category

War Memorials Project

Project Objective

To publish a database of the names from all War Memorials in the 'old' Royal County of Berkshire, with transcriptions, photographs and locations of memorials.

The publication contains all casualties recorded on any memorial including those who fell in the Boer War, in the First and Second World Wars, and in subsequent conflicts in Korea, the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland,  Iraq and Afghanistan.


The Second Edition of the Berkshire War Memorials CD is now published and available; it is searchable by:

  • Name
  • Conflict
  • Location of memorial

This edition contains transcriptions of approaching 880 memorials and over 1100 images.

Area covered

All memorials in the 'old' Royal County of Berkshire — from Abingdon to Yattendon.  Names from all Anglican Church memorials and village and town monuments were transcribed in the 1990s, although some of these now include additional names from more recent conflicts.  There are also many non-conformist churches, post offices, police stations, hospitals, schools and places of work with memorials that have still to be located and transcribed.


The society thanks over 50 members and volunteers who have contributed photographs and  transcription data for a large number of these war memorials.

 Contact details

If you would like more information about the War Memorial Project, please contact the Projects Co-ordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Page updated 19th December 2018

The Berkshire Overseers Project

These records were put into a calendar recording all significant details from surviving documents of the administration of the Poor Laws in Berkshire from 1601-1834. These are now deposited with Berkshire Record Office, in Reading.

Brian Hunt, of Berkshire Family History Society led this project, with significant help from the record office. The work took 12 years to complete and was first published on microfiche in 26 volumes. Details of the volumes and the parishes included in each volume appear below.

Fiche have been superseded by a CD publication. This contains all 26 volumes and is readily searchable in PDF format. The CD is available from

A sample from the CD (for the Abingdon area) can be seen in the Members' Area of this website.

CD publication also removes any need for the abbreviations that were necessarily included in the fiche series. About half of the volumes are still available in fiche form.


The poor in England and Wales lived under the shadow of the Settlement Laws from the middle of the 17th century, until the end of the Old Poor Law in 1834. Administration of these settlement laws through the Justices of the Peace, churchwardens and overseers of each parish generated many documents, substantial numbers of which survive today. The main records for the study of the Old Poor Law are the Overseers’ accounts of receipts and disbursements. They include many references to monies disbursed in the administration of the laws of settlement but are not the only details available.

Of great importance to local, economic, social and family historians are the many settlement orders, examinations and certificates, not least because of the surprisingly detailed information they can give about individual cases and family members. Around 6,000 of these have survived in Berkshire.

Besides application of the laws of settlement, justices and parish officers also dealt with many other matters under the various Poor Acts, creating apprenticeship indentures, bastardy allegations, examination records, bonds and militia documents. Some 4,000 of these kinds of document survive in Berkshire.

These 10,000 or so documents can be found in the deposited parish collections at Berkshire Record Office and are listed in the parish catalogue, sections 13 to 18.

Survival rates of these records vary markedly across the county. Some parishes have no original records of this type at all. Others have several hundreds — two have over one thousand. However, the fact that few if any original documents survive for a particular place does not necessarily mean that it is unrepresented in overall record holdings.

For example, exchange of copies of settlement certificates between the parishes concerned, and the surprisingly detailed accounts of an individual's life history (frequently recorded in examinations for settlement) mean that many other linked place names appear in the records of a single parish. In addition, copies or abstracts of documents were sometimes entered in registers or transcribed into minute or account books.

The Overseers Project

An Overseers Project began in 1975, just after the formation of Berkshire Family History Society. It was revived in 1991 as a joint record office/society venture. It was decided to present the work in the form of a calendar or abbreviated document transcript, with comprehensive indexes. Given the size of the task, the completed calendar was issued in a number of volumes arranged by post-1834 Berkshire Poor Law Union.

Calendar Contents

Many Overseers' documents consist of handwritten entries on printed forms, these being subject to minor variations in form over time, and from county to county. Examples of the most commonly used forms can be found at the end of the introduction on the CD (and fiche). They appear in the order in which they usually occur in parish collections.

Transcripts are considerably abbreviated, whilst retaining all relevant details from the original. Researchers are encouraged to consult original documents if able to do so.

In preparing the calendar, these basic rules apply:

  • Names: The same names can appear several times in the same document. Variations in spelling occurring in the same document are included and, where present, full forenames of individuals have been entered, regardless of how the person signed. Where a surname in a signature differs from that in the text, the fact is noted. Any relevant endorsements on the reverse of documents, in margins, or on envelopes are noted where these introduce other name variants.
  • Place names: Document spellings are retained in all cases (but see the note about the place name index in “The Indexes” below).
  • Notes: These are additions or observations made by the transcriber and do not appear on the original documents. They often refer to nearby contemporary documents, but should not be taken as being fully comprehensive.

Apart from cases where there is only one document under a Berkshire Record Office reference, or where the document is a duplicate, each calendar entry has two numbers attached to it. The left-hand number is cumulative throughout each volume, and is the number that is referred to in the indexes. The right-hand number is the “piece number” in the record office holdings, which together with the DIP… etc at the start of each section, gives a unique reference to the individual document. Four of these numbers can be seen at the base of the example documents, which are on the fiche.

The Indexes

Calendar entries are indexed for personal names, place names and occupations. Numbers in the indexes refer to the first or left-hand entry against each document transcript in the calendar.

In the name index, for simplicity, multiple entries of the same name in a single document warrant only one entry in the name index. For example … “John SMITH and Sarah his wife, with their children John and Sarah”… will be indexed once under SMITH, John and once under SMITH, Sarah.

Volumes of the Overseers' Papers

Vol 1 NEWBURY UNION - Chieveley
Vol 2 NEWBURY UNION - Brimpton, Enborne, Wasing & Woolhampton
Vol 3 NEWBURY UNION - Thatcham
Vol 4 BRADFIELD UNION - Aldermaston, Englefield & Pangbourne
Vol 5 BRADFIELD UNION Bucklebury, Burghfield, Stanford Dingley, Sulham, Sulhamstead Abbots, Sulhamstead Bannister & Theale
Vol 6 BRADFIELD UNION - Tilehurst & Padworth
Vol 7 MAIDENHEAD UNION - Bray, Cookham & Waltham St. Lawrence
Vol 8 FARINGDON UNION - Ashbury, Coleshill, Gt.Coxwell, Kingston Lisle, Longworth, Shellingford, Stanford in the Vale, Uffington
Vol 9 WALLINGFORD UNION - Brightwell, Crowmarsh, Gifford, Newnham Murren, Wallingford St Mary & Wallingford St Peter, Long Wittenham
Vol 10 EASTHAMPSTEAD UNION - Easthampstead, Warfield & Winkfield
Vol 11 WOKINGHAM UNION (part) - Shinfield, Sonning, Swallowfield & Wokingham
Vol 12 WOKINGHAM and WINDSOR UNIONS - Finchampstead, Hurst, Sunninghill and Old Windsor
Vol 13 WANTAGE UNION - Blewbury, Brightwell, Hampstead Norris, West Hanney, Harwell, West Hendred, Peasmore, Sparsholt and part of Wantage
Vol 14 WANTAGE UNION - most of Wantage parish
Vol 15 ABINGDON UNION - Abingdon, Cumnor, Drayton, Kingston Bagpuize and Sutton Courtenay
Vol 16-19 READING UNION - Reading St Giles
Vol 20 READING UNION - Reading St Mary (part)
Vol 21 READING UNION - Reading St Mary & St Laurence
Vol 22 READING UNION - Caversham
Vol 23 HUNGERFORD UNION - Kintbury parish and part of Hungerford
Vol 24 HUNGERFORD UNION - Part of Hungerford
Vol 25 HUNGERFORD UNION - Remainder of Hungerford
Vol 26 NEWBURY UNION - Newbury (Settlement Examinations)

page last reviewed 24th May 2017

Berkshire Strays Index

What is a Stray?

“A stray is a recorded event in which a person is described in the source record as being from, or connected with, a place outside the area in which they normally lived or were born.” FFHS definition

People from Abingdon have strayed to Bury St Edmunds; from Aldermaston to Bristol; Hungerford to Hastings; Maidenhead to New Zealand; Newbury to Yorkshire and so on…  They are all Berkshire Strays.

The Berkshire Strays Index now stands at 20,500 entries made up mostly by census entries (69%), but also with some emigration, address, marriage and burial records.  The index forms part of the Berkshire Name Index which is fully searchable at The Centre for Heritage and Family History

No further census details are being added to the Strays Index as the census details are now readily searchable online, as can deaths in both World Wars, and details from parish records of baptisms, marriages and burials from many places.

Note: Details of events that provide extra information over and above that available from other sources are still being added to the Strays Index. If you find such information, please send it to the Strays Co-ordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


page last reviewed and revised 18th December 2017

Berkshire Marriages

Project Objectives

To create and publish a database of marriage and banns transcriptions from the parish and non-parochial registers of the 'old', historic Royal County of Berkshire, to be known as Berkshire Marriages.

To continue to transcribe more marriage and banns registers so that additional transcriptions, covering extended time periods and further parishes, can be added and published from time to time.

Latest Project Publication

A Third Edition of Berkshire Marriages was published in CD format in September 2014.

This CD contains transcriptions of almost 165,000 marriages and banns, with 580,000 names from 172 parishes of 'old' Berkshire, including many from North Berkshire and the Vale of the White Horse. While the main focus of this edition remains with marriages between 1538 and 1837 (and the start of civil registration in England and Wales) some newly-added entries are as recent as 2006, and others run well into the 19th and 20th centuries. This Third Edition also contains bamms entries for the first time from 10 parishes.

The Second Edition of Berkshire Marriages brought transcriptions of over 450,000 names of grooms, brides, fathers and witnesses from over 140,000 marriages recorded in registers and Bishops’ Transcripts of Berkshire parishes. The new Third Edition brings around 18 per cent more entries than its predecessor. Work is continuing until all available Berkshire marriages and banns have been accurately transcribed.

A number of marriage entries but not all — are also published online in the Parish Records Collection of Findmypast 

Some data is also searchable (within Berkshire Name Search) at the society's Research Centre in Reading.

The intention is to update Berkshire Marriages every 12 to 18 months, subject to sufficient transcriptions becoming available to merit a new CD edition. This follows established practice with Berkshire Burials - the 12th Edition of which holds information on over 900,000 burials.

Purchasers of the Berkshire Marriages CD automatically enjoy a very substantial discount on the full price of the next edition that follows (conditions apply).

Technical Note

Berkshire Marriages is supplied in Adobe Reader format. A copy of Adobe Reader for MS Windows is also supplied. Users of Mac, Unix and other operating systems can download a suitable version of Adobe Reader Minimum requirements for these CDs - Adobe Reader 7.0

Area covered

All of historic Royal County of Berkshire. This includes parishes in the Vale of the White Horse and North Berkshire areas.

Berkshire Record Office (in Reading) holds the vast majority of deposited original registers and, later, marriage and banns registers for the 'old' county of Berkshire (including the Vale of the White Horse).

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre (in Chippenham) holds surviving early Bishop's Transcripts for Berkshire (to 1835/1836). In a number of cases these pre-date surviving registers for a number of Berkshire parishes.

The Archdeaconry of Berkshire transferred from the Salisbury Diocese to the Oxford Diocese in 1836 and any original transcripts sent to the bishop after that date will be found at the Oxford History Centre.

Output of the project

The Berkshire Marriages CD offers seven Finding Aids and two Full Details reports - one each for marriages and banns.

The full details reports largely contain all of the information recorded in the original register. This includes extra details, where given, such as witnesses, occupations, relationships and addresses. However the information recorded varies between registers and even incumbents, and generally later entries hold more detail.

More information If you would like to help to progress this Berkshire Marriages project or to know more about it, contact the society's Projects Co-ordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

page last reviewed and revised 24th May 2017



Berkshire Pedigree Index

Project Objective

The Berkshire Pedigree Index

All names from the pedigrees, deposited by members with the Berkshire Family History Society, are currently being added to a master index which will eventually be fully searchable.

Contact name and contact details

If you are interested in helping with this project, or would like more information about the Berkshire Pedigree Index, please contact the Projects Co-ordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Additional information