How to trace your Jersey ancestors at Jersey Archive
Jersey Archive is the island’s public records office holding collections that date from 1378 to the present day. The collections are an invaluable resource for family historians. Some collections will be familiar to researchers who have traced family in England, while some are unique to Jersey and the Channel Islands.
Jersey collections that are common across most jurisdictions include church records, the records of civil registration and census returns.
Baptisms, marriages and burials
Channel Islands Family History Society Transcriptions pre-1842: The Channel Islands Family History Society (CIFHS) has transcribed all baptisms, marriages and burials prior to 1842 from all 12 parish churches in the Island. The transcriptions for each parish have differing start dates with some as early as 1540.
Access to CIFHS transcriptions is available to subscribers of its online catalogue. Once you have subscribed the collection can be accessed in a pdf format using the following link: http://catalogue.jerseyheritage.org/categories/channel-islands-family-history-society/.
Baptisms, marriages and burials post-1842: Jersey Archive holds records from the Church of England, Roman Catholic and Nonconformist Churches in the Island. At present the majority of these records can only be accessed at Jersey Archive. The baptisms for St Helier Town Church from 1842-1909 have been transcribed by volunteers and are available for subscribers to view online.
Civil Registration in Jersey began in 1842. Indexes to the birth, marriage and death registers are now available for subscribers to view online at http://catalogue.jerseyheritage.org/categories/parish-registrars/.
Jersey Archive holds copies of the marriage registers (not births and deaths) for all parishes from 1842 onwards and copies can be requested by emailing email@example.com.
Certificates must be ordered from the Superintendent Registrar, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your ancestors were born in Jersey before 1911 then there is a good chance that their details will appear on census returns. Censuses were taken every 10 years from 1841 as part of the UK wide census and records can be searched online via online data websites.
The Jersey Heritage online catalogue http://catalogue.jerseyheritage.org/ holds descriptions of over 250,000 records relating to the Island. In 2015 it launched a new version of the catalogue which now includes more than 200,000 images and pdfs of original documents that can be downloaded by subscribers to the catalogue, or on a pay per view basis.
The catalogue home page contains a simple ‘Google’ type search box which allows you to enter a surname you are interested in, eg Pinel, or the full name of an individual, eg Charles de Gruchy.
Next to the simple search box is a link to an advanced search page. Entering a family surname in the ‘Person or Institution’ part of the advanced search screen will allow you to view a list of the names of all individuals with records that have been indexed under that surname.
The following collections have all been indexed by individual’s name and will appear when you use a simple or advanced search. Copies of the original documents can be downloaded from the online catalogue on a pay per view or subscription basis.
The German Occupation
If you have ancestors who lived in Jersey during the German Occupation of the island during the Second World War the best place to start your research is to look for an Occupation Registration Card.
Each registration card contains personal details, such as name, address, date of birth and a black and white passport sized photograph. Any child under the age of 14 is recorded on the back of the father’s card. Just before Jersey was occupied a number of Islanders evacuated to the UK. Some of these families applied to come back to Jersey at the end of the war.
Wills and Testaments
Jersey Archive holds all wills and testaments of movable property from 1660. They can contain useful information relating to the heirs of the family and division of property.
Immigration and Nationality – Alien Cards
In 1920 the States of Jersey introduced the Aliens Restriction Act, requiring all Jersey residents not of British origin over the age of 16 to register with the Immigration Officer. The cards created under the act include personal details such as name, address, date of birth, movement in and out of the Island and a photograph.
Prison registers from 1814-1931 have been indexed by individual's name and transcriptions of the records are available to subscribers. Criminal prosecutions from 1797 are currently being indexed under the name of the individual prosecuted.
Hospital Admission Registers
The Jersey General Hospital acted as both a medical hospital and a place of assistance for those who could not support themselves and their families. Admission registers to the hospital date from 1839 and many of the 19th century admissions have been digitised and indexed by individual's name.
The Pitcher and Le Quesne Collection, which consists of a number of St Helier funeral directors' business records, is currently being indexed and images placed online. Records in the collection date from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Pictured: D/Y/A/7/10 - Will and Testament of Adrian du Maistre, 1738; St_C_3_7 - Registration Card of Cyril Le Cras, 1941; Alien332 - Alien's Card of Marie Baron, 1920.