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Kent England Research

Kent Nonconformist and Late Baptism Index

Most of the roughly 35,000 entries in this relate to Kent, with a few from Sussex and elsewhere. The index largely represents an attempt to shed light on some Nonconformists in Kent by means other than their own registers. Covering dates are roughly 1640 to 1875, with the occasional earlier or later reference.

Since some Nonconformists are opposed to infant baptism, "late" or "adult" baptisms may sometimes be found for them in Church of England parish registers. They may have been baptised as adults due, for instance, to impending death (this often being reflected in a burial entry soon afterwards, which would also be indexed if noticed):-

1748 Jan 4 John son of Richard & Mary Burden, aged about 17 (baptism, Maidstone)

1748 Jan 7 John son of Richard & Mary Burden (burial, Maidstone)

Sometimes, a religious affiliation is indicated in such late and adult baptisms; but often, these are not very helpful to the genealogist, giving rather sparse details:-

1712 Nov 1 John Knott (aged 22 or 23) (baptism, Elham)

1741 Mar 14 Jonah Motte, adult, from among the Baptists (baptism, Staplehurst)

Occasionally, though, especially in later years, entries are more informative:-

1832 Feb 9 Charles son of William & Maria Smith otp, butcher (aged 24 years)(baptism, Cranbrook)

1846 Dec 6 Samuel son of Samuel & Sophia Clerk of Tidy Street, Brighton, lapidary (an adult, born 1829 Jul 23) (baptism, Sevenoaks)

Other connected entries, where noticed, are also included, or at least notes added:-

1714 Aug 29 Samuel Flye, aged about 18 years (baptism, St. Andrew Canterbury)

1715 Mar 17 Samuel ffly of St. Andrew & Margarett ffriend of this Church (marriage, Canterbury Cathedral - from printed copy)

1716 Jan 30 Spencer son of Samuel & Margaret Flye (baptism, St. Andrew Canterbury)

(Later children of this couple were also baptised at St. Andrew Canterbury.)

Births or infant baptisms of Nonconformists' children were sometimes recorded in parish registers, and the index includes quite a few such references. Where the name of the officiating Nonconformist Minister is given in a baptismal entry of this kind, this adds to its interest, and the Ministers' names are also added to the index:-

1696 Oct 7 Elizabeth dau of Thomas & Mary Burren (born 1696 Sep 21; baptised by Mr Walter of Staplehurst)(baptism, Sutton Valence parish register)

This is one of three Burren baptisms - all performed by different, named, Ministers - which appear in a list of Dissenters' Children in the parish registers of Sutton Valence.

Wills of Nonconformists are on occasion readily identifiable by reason of the testator's express wish to be buried in, for example, a Quaker Burying Ground, or perhaps a legacy to a Baptist Chapel or to poor members of its Congregation. A number of Wills and Administrations of Nonconformists (known or suspected) have been indexed for all names mentioned - those of testators or intestates and their relatives, witnesses, occupiers of properties, Nonconformist Ministers, and others.

Due to the diverse sources used, it is not possible to produce a full contents list for this index, but it includes references to Nonconformists from other sources including:-

* Meeting House Certificates or Licence applications
* Marriage Licences
* Census Returns
* Settlement Papers
* Land Tax Returns
* Rate Books
* "Compton Census" of 1676 (all listed Nonconformists in East Kent)
* Registers of Nonconformist Chapels (births, baptisms, deaths and burials)
* Memorial Inscriptions
* Apprenticeship Indentures

Further Notes:-

For the new official website relating to Nonconformist registers, including all those held at The National Archives (mainly up to 1837), see http://www.bmdregisters.co.uk. Basic searches in the comprehensive database available on this website are free of charge, while there are charges for more advanced searches and for viewing transcripts and images of pages from the original documents.

Many UK Nonconformist registers are included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI), available online free of charge - see http://www.familysearch.org. There is some further coverage in their British Isles Vital Records Index CDs, which can be purchased through this FamilySearch website or accessed at various repositories.


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