Using the Church Database


The GENUKI church database started life as the parish database compiled by Gerry Lawson. That is a database largely containing the approximate location of the parishes that existed around 1837. Since then the database had new fields added to contain additional information, many more churches have been added (in some areas), and more precise locations added where known.

This is because the original church locations themselves were given as the corner of the nearest Km square on the Ordnance Survey map in most cases. Some have now been updated to the actual 1/10 Km location, but the majority have not.

N.B. Unfortunately we do not hold any information for Irish churches at the moment.

Please be aware that the term church is used in reference to the congregation meeting at a particular place, rather than refering to an individual building. The records that we are interested in exist as a result of a group of people worshipping together and the registers reflect that rather than the physical church building. So founding and closing dates refer to the congregation rather than a particular building.

Information is continually being added to the database, and some areas contain substantially more information than others. As an example of the leve1 of coverage and detail which we hope to be able to provide, take a look at Barrow in Furness.


The search facilities are designed so that you can specify a starting point, and then ask for all the database entries within a specified distance. The starting point can be either an OS Grid Reference or a place name. If you provide a place name, then the GENUKI gazetteer is used to find the grid reference of the start point.

You can further refine your search by supplying further search terms.

  • For example if you specified John in the dedication field, only entries with a dedication containing John would be shown. E.g. St.John, St Mary and St John, St John the Divine.
  • If you specify a date then all churches that were known to be closed before, or founded after that date are excluded. Unfortunately we do not yet have founding and closing dates for many of the churches and so these will always be shown.
  • You can restrict the search to classes of denomination. The exact denomination is always shown in the results although the search is for broad types. E.g. you can search for Methodist but not down to the finer level of Wesleyan Methodist or Primitive Methodist.
  • The graveyard box is useful when you are trying to work out where somebody may have been buried, particularly in cities where many 19th & 20th century churches have never had graveyards. So if you know when they died, put the year in the year box and then set the graveyard check to Yes or maybe. The options that are available are:
    • - No check -
    • Yes .. select churches where we know they had a graveyard at some time.
    • Yes or maybe .. select churches that have had a graveyard, or where we don't yet know whether they had one.
    • No .. select churches that have never had a graveyard.
    Please bear in mind that particularly in towns and cities that the graveyards may have been closed for new burials in the 19th century. The dates when the graveyards were open for burials is not recorded in the database.

Index page


The locations of churches are stored as OS Grid references and these are used to calculate the distance from the starting point. The initial data used to build the gazetteer only contained approximate grid references, but with time these will be updated to give a more precise location, which will be usually be the centre of an area or the actual location of a prominent place such as the parish church. If only an approximate location is available, the distance is rounded to the nearest whole number and is preceded by a tilde '~' character. The compass direction from the starting point is given after the distance.

Please bear in mind that the distance given is the shortest distance on a map. The actual distance to travel between two places may be considerably further when geographical features are taken into consideration.

Church name

The name and place where the church is located is provided with a link that can be followed to obtain more detailed information. In most cases this link will be to a full listing of details about it held in the database, but where more information is known, it will be a link to a separate page which should also be accessible from the appropriate GENUKI Town/Parish page.


The denomination shown is usually the original one but bear in mind that changes occur over time with splits and amalgamations occuring. For example at one time there were many different types of Methodism, but over the years they have come together and nowadays there is just one Methodist church. N.B. To be technically correct the oldest churches do not appear under their original denomination, as they were Roman Catholic before Henry VIII broke with Rome and they became Anglican!

Full details page

The full details page that is generated from the database has the usual GENUKI button bar at the top, and will frequently conatin an Up link to the Town/Parish page for the are in which the church is located. The information provided as the body of the page will depend on the details held in the database.


A picture will appear at the top of the page if we have a URL for one on the WWW.

Name and address

The contents of the Dedication, Denomination, Street and Place fields are used to construct details to identify which church is being described. If this church has its own WWW page, a link to it can be provided here.

Grid reference

The OS Grid reference of each place found is used to link into online maps so that you see where it is.

Founding and closing dates

The date when the church was founded is given (where known) and if it has closed, then this can be given as well. N.B. Please regard the word 'church' to refer to the institution/congregation rather than the building itself. Genealogically although the dates of a particular building are interesting, it is the dates for the body of people that make up a church that are the more useful information, as that is of more relevance to the life events and possible records which may help in our research.

The founding/closing dates are given as an indication of whether records for a time period may exist. The survival of records may be for different time periods, so please remember that events may have taken place for which there is no longer a record. If the founding date of the church is not known, the date of earliest surviving record is shown. For the older churches particularly, use the founding date as a guide, not an absolute fact.

Providing additional information

Notes describing how you can help provide information for the church database.

Information for database maintainers

The database is maintained and developed at the county level. There are detailed instructions on how to do this which are only relevant to the county maintainers.