- Parish registers
- Electoral registers
- My account
1. Parish registers
1.1 Do the parish registers in Essex Archives Online cover the whole of Essex?
Yes. They cover the whole of the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford, which follows the boundaries of the historic county of Essex. To find out what registers we hold from any parish, and to identify images available online to subscribers, visit our Parish register page.
1.2 What about parts of historic Essex that are now in Greater London?
Essex Archives Online includes parish registers from all five London Boroughs that used to be in Essex (Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest).
1.3 What about the unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock?
These are included.
1.4 Are there registers from every Essex parish?
Not quite. Some modern parishes, created from the mid 19th century onwards, have not yet deposited registers with us.
1.5 Is there a list of parishes arranged by dedication instead of by place-name?
Yes, there is a list of parishes arranged by dedication. Please note, this list is not maintained by ERO and it does not include modern parishes.
1.6 Does a subscription include all the parish registers held by the ERO?
Yes, except for marriage registers from after 1957. If you find any registers that seem to have been omitted in error from the digitisation programme, do let us know. Please bear in mind that newly deposited registers may take some time to be copied.
1.7 Does a subscription cover parish registers that are held outside the ERO?
Parish registers held by Waltham Forest Archives (parishes of Chingford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow) are included in Essex Archives Online. Registers that are still held by parishes themselves are not included.
1.8 Are there registers from any counties apart from Essex?
Technically North Woolwich (in Newham, on the north bank of the Thames) used to be part of the county of Kent. Otherwise, no.
1.9 What types of parish register does a subscription cover?
A subscription covers registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. In general, parish registers do not reveal precise dates of birth or dates of death.
1.10 What about banns of marriage?
Banns are included if they appear in the same register as marriages. Any separate banns registers are not included.
1.11 Is the coverage of baptisms, marriages and burials the same?
Not quite. A subscription includes all the parish baptism and burial registers held either by the ERO or by Waltham Forest Archives, no matter what their date. Marriage entries from after 1957 are excluded.
1.12 What happens when a marriage register straddles 1957?
If a marriage register was started before 1957, we have included every page in it that was completed by the end of 1957, but excluded any pages that include data from 1958 or later. We have excluded entirely any marriage registers that were started during or after 1957.
1.13 Are you going to publish post-1957 marriages in the future?
No, we have no plans to publish post-1957 marriages.
1.14 Are new deposits of parish registers being added?
Yes. Newly deposited registers are added to the subscription part of Essex Archives Online once they have been conserved, catalogued and digitised. Significant additions are announced in the ERO's e-bulletin.
1.15 Are there registers from non-Anglican churches?
No. The ERO does hold some non-Anglican registers, especially from Protestant nonconformist churches, but these are not yet included in a subscription.
Essex nonconformist registers that are held by the National Archives are available on a single terminal in the ERO searchroom. These registers are not included in a subscription.
1.16 Are there baptism registers from hospitals?
Yes. Where the hospital chaplains have deposited baptism registers in the ERO, these are included in a subscription. The only exceptions are baptism registers from mental hospitals, which are closed to protect the privacy of the patients.
1.17 What about burial registers from cemeteries?
Most of these are still held by the cemetery authorities. The ERO does hold some, but these are not yet included in a subscription.
1.18 Will more records be added later?
Yes. If you have a suggestion for a series of records that you would like to see added, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.1 Does a subscription include all the original wills held by the ERO?
Yes, a subscription covers all the original wills that we hold from the pre-1858 probate courts, except for a few that need conservation treatment before they can be digitised.
2.2 What about registered wills?
Registered wills - the file copies kept by the courts - are not yet available online. They overlap with the original wills, but are not a complete match.
2.3 Does a subscription cover wills of Essex people that are held outside the ERO?
No. For wills of Essex people that were proved in the London diocesan courts you should approach the London Metropolitan Archives. Wills proved in the highest pre-1858 court, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, are held by the National Archives.
2.4 What about post-1858 wills?
The official copies of wills proved from January 1858 onwards are held by HM Courts Service. For more information see the Wills, probate and inheritance pages on Gov.uk.
The ERO does hold small numbers of private copies of post-1858 wills. These are listed in Essex Archives Online, but have not been digitised, so images are not available online.
2.5 Does a subscription include wills from any counties apart from Essex?
Yes. The pre-1858 wills held by the ERO cover parts of eastern Hertfordshire, and these Hertfordshire wills are included in a subscription. There are also very small numbers of wills from London, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
3. Electoral registers
3.1 Which electoral registers are available with a subscription?
A subscription covers images of the county electoral registers for 1833-1867 (with many gaps), 1918 and 1929.
3.2 Why those years particularly?
The registers for 1833-1867 are a consistent set, falling between the First Reform Act in 1832 and the Second Reform Act in 1867. The registers for 1918 were the first to include all men aged 21 or more, plus women aged 30 or more. The registers for 1929 were the first to include all women aged 21 or more.
3.3 Are you going to include more registers later?
Yes, a programme is underway to publish images of all the pre-1974 electoral registers held by ERO. The next batch will be from 1869 onwards.
3.4 Do the electoral registers available as part of a subscription cover the whole of Essex?
Yes, they cover the whole of the historic county, but with some exceptions.
In general, the ERO does not hold electoral registers from the old Parliamentary boroughs that were preserved by the Reform Acts at Colchester (pre-1918), Harwich (pre-1885) and Maldon (pre-1885). Those few that we do hold have not been digitised and are not included in a subscription. However, these places do still appear in the county registers, because some electors were qualified to vote in respect of property in them.
From 1918 the right to vote was based on residence, not property. However, the Essex registers for 1918 and 1929 exclude Southend and - within what is now Greater London - East Ham, Ilford, Leyton, Walthamstow and West Ham. All of these newly populous places had become separate Parliamentary boroughs, and they no longer appear in the county set. For more details, see our guide to Understanding electoral registers and poll books.
3.5 Does a subscription include electoral registers from any counties apart from Essex?
4.1 Are your images scanned from microfilm, or taken directly from the originals?
In order to provide the best possible quality, we use images made directly from the original records, not scanned from microfilm. Manuscripts are copied in colour; printed records are copied in greyscale.
4.2 Are the images of parish registers in Essex Archives Online indexed?
The images of parish registers are not indexed, but many partial indexes are available elsewhere. For some free examples see FamilySearch or FreeReg.
Other indexes, such as the National Burial Index, may be available on CD or by subscription online.
To find out what registers we hold from any parish, and to identify images available online to subscribers, visit our Parish register page.
4.3 Are the images of wills in Essex Archives Online indexed?
All original wills are indexed by the full name of the person making the will (the testator). The catalogue also includes the testator's occupation and place of residence, if these appear in the will itself. Where the place of residence is outside Essex, the county is shown too. Spellings of occupations and places have been modernized, but surnames are shown as they appear in the will itself. Thus an 'Image' search for the words Braintree will Clark finds images of Braintree wills where the testator's name was Clark, but excludes the spelling Clarke. To find unusual spellings, try a search for the place and a date, without specifying a name.
4.4 Are the images of electoral registers in Essex Archives Online indexed?
The electoral registers are indexed by parish or place-name, but not by personal name. The registers for 1833-1867 now available as images through Essex Archives Online are arranged alphabetically by surname within each parish or place. By 1918 - and even more so by 1929 - the registers for major towns were arranged by street, but the remainder were still arranged by surname.
4.5 Your watermark is obscuring a piece of information that I need. What should I do?We have made the document reference more transparent in order to mitigate this problem, and we hope that future versions of the software may make the watermarks moveable. In the meantime, please email us at email@example.com or write to us at ERO, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, UK and we will see if we can help.
Alternatively, for a small extra charge, we can supply you with an un-watermarked copy of the image in question. Simply click on the link underneath the thumbnail image and we will send you an order form.
4.6 How can I get a copy of the images that I see on your website?
The software does not have any mechanism for directly printing or downloading images. However, some browsers (including Windows Internet Explorer) may allow you to make a copy by right-clicking on a full-sized image and either emailing it to yourself, or saving it elsewhere, or copying and pasting it into another application. When images have been pasted into a Word document, they need to be re-formatted by right-clicking and choosing Format Picture. Reduce the picture's height to about 35% (under 'Size') and then place it in front of the text (under 'Layout') before re-sizing it using the corner handles.
Copies made in this way remain subject to our terms and conditions and to copyright law. In particular, they will carry our reference and watermark, which you must not remove.
If you are a subscriber to Essex Archives Online and you prefer to buy a copy from us, or you need an un-watermarked copy of a particular image, you can instead click on the link that appears below each subscription image. We will send you a suitable order form by email. Non-subscribers, or users of non-subscription images, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an order form. For both subscribers and non-subscribers, there is a small charge.
4.7 Can I re-publish images from your website?
The use of copies is governed by our terms and conditions and by copyright law. Publication of images in any form requires written permission from us. Publication includes uploading images to websites or other online resources.
4.8 If I find a mistake in subcription-only content, can it be corrected?
We have tried to make a subscription as accurate as possible, but we know that there will be some errors and omissions, and we hope that you will point them out. Please email your correction to email@example.com, or report it to the searchroom staff at Chelmsford. Simple mistakes in the text can often be corrected straight away. Correcting mistakes in the actual images will take a little longer: we will keep you informed of progress.
4.9 I spent a long time looking at images of a document, and the system suddenly threw me out. Why?
For the protection of customers, a subscription has a maximum session length. After 60 minutes of inactivity, the system cuts out. Browsing within a single item does not count as activity for this purpose, so after an hour looking at images of a single item, you may need either to re-select the image you were using or to log-in again.
5.1 Are all the images on your website now charged for?
No. We make a charge for the images behind the subscription paywall, covering parish registers, wills and electoral registers. Some other images, mainly of pictorial material, remain free to view.
5.2 Is there anywhere that I can see the images in a subscription without paying?
Yes. All the images on our website, including the subscription-only images, are free to view in the ERO searchroom in Chelmsford. The ERO searchroom has 25 terminals available for all purposes including a subscription. There is no booking system.
You can also see the images without charge at the Archive Access Points in Saffron Walden Library and Harlow Museum, but please note that the Access Points have limited viewing facilities and opening hours.
5.3 Can I see the images free of charge in Essex Libraries?
No. a subscription exists to raise money to support the archive service, and free access in libraries would undermine its financial basis.
5.4 Why doesn't the ERO sell images of its records to one of the commercial family history sites instead?
By using our own system, we keep control of the images of records entrusted to us; we stay in direct contact with our users; and we retain all the income for Essex County Council (less a small charge that we have to pay for each financial transaction). This helps to keep the Record Office on a sound financial footing, limiting its cost to Essex taxpayers.
5.5 I have the exact details of an entry in a parish register or an electoral register that is included in a subscription. Can I buy a copy of that entry without subscribing?
Yes. For an order form that you can print off please email firstname.lastname@example.org
5.6 I am interested in a will that is included in a subscription. Can I buy a copy of the will without subscribing?
Yes. For an order form that you can print off please email email@example.com
5.7 Does the ERO's search service still cover records that are only available to subscribers?
Yes. For an hourly fee, the search service can check through the images and provide you with a written report. The researcher may provide copies instead of a written report where this represents the most efficient use of their time, but otherwise you can use the information in the report to order copies separately.
5.8 Are microfilms or microfiches of parish registers and wills still available?
Yes. The microfilms and microfiches that have been available in the ERO searchroom in Chelmsford, or at the Archive Access Points in Colchester Library, Harlow Museum, Saffron Walden Library and Southend Library, are still there, although their future is subject to review.
Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend have full sets of parish register microfiches; Harlow and Saffron Walden generally hold only the fiches relevant to their area. Please bear in mind, however, that we have not produced new microfiches for many years, so a subscription includes some parish registers that have never been available in this format. The only other copy of the original wills now available in a subscription is an old microfilm copy held at Chelmsford.
We are no longer able to supply duplicate parish register microfiches.5
5.9 Can I buy my own digital copies of records that are included in a subscription without actually subscribing?
Yes. If you can identify particular records or individual images that are available online, we can usually sell you duplicate images for non-commercial research or private study. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for prices and an order form.
5.10 What about records where there is no image at all, free or charged? Can I get digital copies of those too?
It depends. Provided that you can identify exactly what you need without our having to search for it, and the original record is available to the public (not closed), and copying it will not cause damage, we can usually make new images and supply them for non-commercial research or private study. For more details please see our Reprographics service page.
If you are able to visit the ERO searchroom in person, we also allow self-service digital photography of most types of document, subject to certain conditions and to a daily charge. Please email email@example.com for further details. We do not allow further copying of original records that are already available as images from us.
6. My account
6.1 If I register with you, will I be bothered with adverts for other services?
No. We will use your details for matters connected with your registration or subscription. We may also supply you with information about our other services, but if you don't want to receive these just tick the 'Do not include me in email communications' box on the registration form, or write to Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, or email firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your surname and forename and your current email address as registered on the system). Unless legally required to do so, we will not pass on your details to other organizations.
6.2 When I try to register, the system tells me that my email address has already been used. Why?
Your registration is personal to you and Essex Archives Online does not allow more than one person to register from the same email address. Please make sure that you have typed your email address correctly. If you have, this message may mean that you have already given us your email address when registering on Essex Archives Online. In this case, there is no need to re-register: use the login option.
6.3 I have registered, and I have the system's automated email asking me to validate my email address, but I missed the deadline to respond. What should I do?
Log in using your email address and your password. From the secure area, click on 'Buy new subscription' (this does not actually commit you to buying one). The system will detect that you have an un-validated email address and will ask you to validate it. If you choose to do so, it will send you another automated email.
6.4 I have registered online, and when I try to log-in the system asks for my email address or my 'reader number'. What does this mean?
The system gives everyone who registers online a unique reader number. If you log in using your email address, you will see your reader number displayed on screen. If you wish, you can use this instead of your email address when you next log in.
6.5 I've moved house, or changed my email account. Do I have to update my registration?
Yes. Part of our terms and conditions is that you keep your registration details accurate and up-to-date. If you cannot agree to do this, please do not register. It is particularly important to keep your email address up-to-date: the system uses this (as well as your password) to identify you, and to communicate with you if necessary. You can update your personal details and your email address by logging-in and then clicking on the 'Update your details' button or the 'Change email / password' button.
6.6 I don't have an email account. Can I still register on Essex Archives Online and subscribe?
No. The combination of an email address and a password is needed in order to create a secure online account. If you do not have an email account you can still browse through the whole of the catalogue on Essex Archives Online, and look at any free images, but you cannot register on Essex Archives Online or buy a subscription.
6.7 What happens if I forget my password?
We have no access to your password. We cannot tell you what it is or reset it for you. If you forget it, use the button on the login screen. a subscription will send you an automated email with a time-limited code allowing you to set a new password.
Please be sure always to keep your registered email address up-to-date. If you forget your password and your email address is out of date, you will be locked out of your account.
6.8 What if I think someone else knows my password?
You are responsible for keeping your password secure and for any use that is made of it. We have no access to your password, and we cannot re-set it for you. If you think that it has been compromised, let us know in writing, and change your password straight away using the button on the login screen.
7.1 I'm already registered with Essex Archives Online, but I'd like to try a subscription. Do I have to register again?
No. Choose the Login option and login using (a) your email address - if you have registered it with us - or your reader number and (b) your postcode or zipcode. Before you buy a subscription, the system will ask you to validate your email address and to set a password for your account. Once you have set your password, it will replace your postcode or zipcode when you access your account in future.
7.2 I'm registered with Essex Archives Online, but I don't want to use a subscription. Can I carry on just as before?
Almost, but the system will look slightly different. In the past, EAO asked you to login using your reader number and your postcode or zipcode. When you login now, you have the option of using your email address instead of your reader number, provided that you have registered an email address with us.
Once you have logged-in, you will come to your personal account page. From here, you can update your personal details online. You can also update your registered email address, if you have one, but please note that if you do this you will also have to set a password. Your password will replace your postcode or zipcode when you access your account in future.
If you don't need to update your details, simply click on New Search (or on Retrieve to retrieve your saved searches) and carry on as usual. EAO works just as it did before, but you will not be able to view images of parish registers or wills.
7.3 I'm already registered with Essex Archives Online, and I'm planning to visit the ERO in person for the first time. How does all this affect me?
Whether you have subscribed to a subscription or not, we can use your online registration as the basis for issuing a County Archive Research Network (CARN) reader's ticket, but you will still need to bring proof of identity incorporating your name and home address. In the searchroom, you will only need your CARN ticket number to log on; there is no charge for the images and no passwords are required.
If we use your existing online registration as the basis for issuing your CARN ticket, your new CARN ticket number will supersede your original online registration number. If you then log on online, your original online registration number will no longer work: use your CARN ticket number instead.
7.4 Can I have two accounts with you - one for using a subscription online and the other for my County Archive Research Network (CARN) reader's ticket?Yes, if you wish. Even if you have a CARN ticket registered with us, you can re-register online, obtain a new account with a different reader number, and use that to subscribe to a subscription. Please note, however, that if you register an email address for your CARN account you cannot then use the same email address for any other account.
If, on the other hand, you are visiting us in person for the first time and you want to keep your existing online account separate from your new CARN account, make sure that we do not use your existing online registration as the basis for your CARN account.
7.5 I have not registered with you online, but I do have a CARN reader's ticket issued elsewhere and I'm planning to visit the ERO for the first time. Am I affected by the subscription system?
No. When you arrive we will create an account for you on Essex Archives Online by taking the details from your CARN ticket. This will allow you to log on in the searchroom and to order original documents.
If you decide later to subscribe a subscription online, login using (a) your email address - if you have registered it with us - or your CARN ticket number and (b) your postcode or zipcode. Before you buy a subscription, the system will ask you to validate your email address and to set a password for your account. Once you have set your password, it will replace your postcode or zipcode when you access your account online. In the searchroom, you will still need only your CARN ticket number.
7.6 I visit the ERO and I have a County Archive Research Network (CARN) ticket registered with you. How does the subscription system affect me?
Not at all, unless you wish to subscribe online (remember that all the images are free to view in the ERO searchroom).
If you decide to subscribe a subscription online, login using (a) your email address - if you have registered it with us - or your CARN ticket number and (b) your postcode or zipcode. Before you buy a subscription, the system will ask you to validate your email address and to set a password for your account. Once you have set your password, it will replace your postcode or zipcode when you access your account online. In the searchroom, you will still need only your CARN ticket number.
7.7 Before I can subscribe, the system asks me to validate my email address - and then it asks me again. What should I do?
Occasionally Essex Archives Online will accept an email address at registration but then fail to recognize it as a valid address for subscription purposes. If you have validated your email address once and are then asked to do so a second time, please contact email@example.com. We will validate your address manually.
7.8 What does it cost to subscribe?
Subscriptions are available for various periods between 1 day and 1 year:
1Day (24 hours) - £10.00
1 Week (7 days) - £20.00
1 month (30 days) - £30.00
6 months (182 days) - £60.00
1 year (365 days) - £85.00
These prices include Value Added Tax (VAT) at the current UK rate.
7.9 I don't have a credit or debit card. Can I pay for a subscription in some other way - say with cash or by cheque?
Unfortunately not. a subscription is designed to match online payments securely with an online registration. A system that separated the payment from the registration would be more complex and less secure.
7.10 Is there an age limit for subscribers?
All the material in Essex Archives Online, so far as we know, is suitable for people of all ages, and there is no formal age limit. However, if you subscribe you must be the holder of the credit card or debit card used to pay for the subscription.
7.11 When I try to buy a subscription, the system tells me that 'payment was already made'. Why?
In order to reduce the risk of customers paying twice by mistake, Essex Archives Online will only accept one payment per user per calendar day (measured by UK time). If you login to your account, you should find that you have a current subscription.
7.12 When I try to buy a subscription, my payment does not go through. What can I do?
Please check Essex Archives Online for any announcements about system maintenance or other issues. Failing that, we will help if we can, but before contacting us you can try these simple steps:
- clear any temporary internet files from your device
- make sure that you are using the most up-to-date version of your browser
- try to subscribe from your usual device but with a different browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari ...)
- if you have access to another device, try to subscribe from that
7.13 I've bought a subscription. Does my time start straight away?
No. Your subscription will be activated when you next log in.
7.14 Do I have to use all my subscription period in one go?
Yes. Once you activate your subscription by logging in, it will run continuously until your subscription period expires.
7.15 How long does a day's subscription actually last?
It lasts for exactly 24 hours, measured by UK time. Bear in mind that UK time currently changes twice yearly, from GMT in winter to BST in summer, with 1 hour's difference between them. At these moments, you may gain or lose an hour.
7.16 Does a monthly subscription last for a calendar month?
No. To be fair to everyone, a monthly subscription lasts for a standard 30 days.
7.17 What about subscriptions for 6 months or a year?
A 6-monthly subscription lasts for 182 days. A yearly subscription lasts for 365 days.
7.18 Can I buy a new subscription while my existing subscription is still current?
Yes. When you log in, the system will tell you when your existing subscription runs out and give you an option to extend it. Otherwise, when you near the end of a weekly, monthly, 6-monthlyor yearly subscription, the system will send you an automatic reminder by email. Any extra subscriptions that you have bought will be listed for you when you log in. Logging in after your existing subscription expires will activate your next un-used subscription.
7.19 How will my subscription appear on my credit card statement or my bank statement?
Payments will be credited to 'Essex County Council'.
7.20 I subscribed, but I don't think a subscription is for me after all. Can I get a refund?
You may cancel your subscription, for a full refund, for 14 whole working days after you subscribe, provided that you have not activated the subscription by logging on. To cancel a subscription you need to apply in writing to the Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, UK or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your surname and forename, the email address that you gave us when subscribing, the date when you subscribed, and the period that you subscribed for.
You cannot cancel a subscription that you have activated by logging on.
In exceptional circumstances we will consider written applications for refunds of the unexpired parts of activated subscriptions. If we agree to make a refund we will deduct an administration charge of £15 or 20% of the subscription paid, whichever is the greater. If we are at fault, we will not make an administration charge.
7.21 Are there any arrangements for corporate subscriptions to Essex Archives Online?
No. We have no plans to provide for corporate subscriptions.
7.22 Is my subscription linked to my device?
No. Your account is available from anywhere on the Internet.
7.23 Is there a fair usage policy?
Provided that you observe our terms and conditions, you may view as many images as you like.
7.24 Some similar services allow users a free trial. Have you thought of doing this?
We raise quite a lot of our revenue from short subscriptions and a free trial would undermine this. If you want to see what our images are like, try looking at some of the many free images still available on Essex Archives Online (a search for any Essex place name should find some). Except for the need to subscribe, a subscription works in the same way as the rest of this website.