Gainsborough Wesleyan Circuit Baptismal Register 1801-1837

Between1972 and 1988 I lived in Gainsborough in Lincolnshire. During this period I attended St Stephen’s MethodistChurch, a 1960s building, which had been built on part of the site of the former WesleyanMethodistChurch of 1801. This large Church with seating for 1000 worshippers had been demolished as it was far too large for the needs of the congregation and the surplus land sold to Gainborough District Council to become a Town Centre car park. At the time of the demolition of the GeorgianWesleyanChurch many of the records of the Church were deposited at the Lincolnshire Archives Office [LAO]. However a visit to LAO revealed that the earliest records, the Baptismal Registers of the Gainsborough Wesleyan Methodist Circuit had been surrendered to the Registrar General in 1837 when Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths was introduced. Thanks to William Leary’s booklet “My Ancestor was a Methodist” [First edition], I discovered that the Gainsborough Wesleyan Circuit Baptismal Registers 1801-1837 [Class RG4/1451] were in the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane in London.

So the result was my first visit to the PRO. After getting a Reader’s Ticket and being shown how to order the Baptismal Register, I sat and twiddled my thumbs for nearly 40 minutes before a large Book, not dissimilar in size to the Baptismal Register of All Saints Parish Church, Gainsborough 1813-25 that I was transcribing in the Church Vestry that had 300 pages with 2400 entries.

My heart sank – how many visits to London would I need to make to transcribe this Register?

Imagine my surprise when I removed the pink archival tape and opened the Register to discover that there were only 129 baptisms, and only the first 7 pages had been used.

Two hours later the Register had been transcribed and I was able to go across the road to Portugal Street and spend a couple of hours looking at microfilm of the 1871 Census of North Oxfordshire and discover that one of my Great Great Grandmothers, Julia Kingzett, had an illegitimate child 2 years before she married my Great Great Grandfather, Richard Robinson.

What a day! Who says that Family History isn’t full of surprises?

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