Here are research tips and links to places to start your family history search
The Jersey Heritage Archives and Collections online catalogue includes numerous records that you can use when starting to search for your Jersey ancestors. Some collections such as the German Occupation Registration Cards, are unique to Jersey, whereas records of Parish Churches will be familiar (though possibly in a slightly different format) from other archive collections around the world.
Jersey Heritage staff and volunteers have digitised a number of the collections listed below and images of the documents can be downloaded as pay per view with a charge per copy or as part of an annual subscription to the catalogue. Online subscription starts at £25 per year for Jersey Heritage members and allows you to download any online images for your own research.
Here are research tips and links to places to start your search.
What do you know already?
Try and write down all the details you know in a family tree – do be aware that sometimes family stories can be inaccurate when compared with the official records.
The German Occupation
Did you have family living in Jersey during the German Occupation of the Island, 1940 – 1945? If so the best place to start your research is to look for an Occupation Registration Card. Each card contains personal details including name, address, date of birth and many have a photograph. Children under the age of 14 are recorded on the back of a parent’s card.
In the weeks prior to the Occupation a number of Islanders evacuated to the UK. Between 1943 and 1945 some families completed applications to return to Jersey at the end of the war. To search for registration cards or applications to return enter the name of the individual in the main search box on the catalogue.
For further information on records relating to the Occupation please refer to the German Occupation Leaflet.
If your ancestors were born in Jersey before 1921 then there is a good chance that their details will appear on the census returns. Censuses were taken every 10 years from 1841. The most recent census to be open to the public was taken in 1921.
Censuses in Jersey were undertaken as part of the UK wide census and records can be searched online via Ancestry or for the 1921 on Find My Past.
Baptisms, Marriages and Burials
Civil Registration was introduced in Jersey in 1842. To trace your ancestors back before this date you will need to use the parish church records of baptisms, marriages and burials.
The Channel Islands Family History Society (CIFHS) have transcribed these records and pdf copies of the transcriptions are attached to the catalogue. The originals of these records are also available on Ancestry and it is useful to use both sets of records to locate and compare entries.
Baptisms, Marriages and Burials
Jersey Archive holds records from the majority of Church of England, Roman Catholic and Non-Conformist Churches in the Island. An online list of the Churches we hold records from can be accessed here.
The Church of England baptisms from 1842 – 1915 and marriages from 1842 – 1940 are now available on the online catalogue. They are all searchable by individual name and images of the entries can be downloaded. Volunteers are currently adding details of burials from 1842 – 1940.
All of the non-conformist church records held, including those of the Methodists, Baptist and Independents have also been added to the online catalogue dating up to the mid-20th century and volunteers are currently attaching records of the Roman Catholic churches.
In terms of Civil Registration records for Jersey the Archive holds the indexes to the births, deaths and marriages, which can be searched online to obtain the parish, volume and page.
Copies of the marriage records are held at the archive and many of the Parish Registrar’s have deposited their records, both sets of records are available to view if you visit in person.
Wills and Testaments
Jersey Archive holds all wills and testaments of movable property from 1660 – 1999. Wills and testaments can contain information relating to the heirs of the family and division of property.
All wills and testaments from 1660 – 1977 have been catalogued and can be searched for by individual’s name. Wills from 1660 to be 1960s have been digitised with images available online.
Funeral Directors records
Funeral Directors records from a number of local firms such as Pitcher and Le Quesne and Croads have been indexed and images are available online. The entries within the volumes give vital family history information such as the name and age of the person buried, their immediate relations, the place and date of death and place of burial.
Immigration and Nationality – Alien cards
In 1920 the States of Jersey introduced the Aliens Restriction Act, which stated that all Jersey residents not of British origin over the age of 16 had to register with the Immigration Officer. The Act included those who already lived in Jersey and therefore the cards that were produced are particularly useful if you think your ancestors settled in Jersey in the second half of 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.
The cards that were created include personal details such as name, address, date of birth, movement in and out of the Island and a photograph. They are closed for 100 years from the individual’s date of birth. All cards that are open to the public can be searched for by individual’s name and copies downloaded.
Royal Court records
Jersey Archive holds the records from the courts service. The courts are divided into different sections dealing with separate actions and an overview of records from the different civil and criminal courts can be searched online.
Many of the pre 20th century records of the courts have been attached to the online catalogue and can be viewed with a subscription. For further information relating to Royal Court records please refer to the Criminal Records leaflet.
The Archive holds several collections of military records including those of the Royal Jersey Militia and the Lieutenant Governor’s WW1 files. Many of these have been indexed and can be searched for under an individual’s name. For further information relating to military records held at the Archive please refer to the Military Records leaflet.
The Jersey General Hospital acted as both a medical hospital and a workhouse or place of assistance for those who could not support themselves and their families. The archive holds admission registers to the hospital from 1839, with yearly registers from 1879 – 1921. These contain useful details such as the reason for admission age, nearest relative, place of birth and date of exit.
The Archive also holds the admission registers for St Saviour’s Hospital, the Island’s Mental Health facility. Both sets of registers from the 19th and early 20th century have been indexed by the name of each inmate and images are available online for subscribers.
Jersey Archive holds prison registers from 1814 to 1939, which include a transportation register. Many of the records have been transcribed by volunteers and these are attached to the online catalogue as PDF’s. The entries contain various information including, name, age, details of the crime and any sentence served.
Jersey Archive holds school records, including admission registers and log books, from many of the Island schools. These can be a useful resource as they contain information about pupils and teachers, with the admission registers giving the name of the child, next of kin, address, previous schools and leaving dates.
Those registers, which are open to the public have been indexed and attached online where subscribers to the catalogue can search for their ancestors to learn more about their childhood.
Good luck with your search. If you need further help, you can contact the archive at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us in person.
Places to Visit
The Island’s national repository holding archival material from public institutions as well as private businesses and individuals.
The Brighton Road tragedy
Donna Le Marrec, who works for the National Trust Jersey, uncovered surprising and tragic stories in her family tree.
Island at war
The Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi forces during World War II, read one woman's extraordinary story.