How to look for records of... Clergy in the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

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Visit us in Kew

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Pay for research

This is a brief guide to researching records of Anglican or Roman Catholic clergy. Many records of clergy survive, especially Anglican clergy, and they are held in a variety of archives. Material on persecutions of Roman Catholics is kept by many local archives. There are also some useful online databases to consult.

What do I need to know before I start?

If the parish your ancestor belonged to no longer exists, you might have to do some detective work to find out where its records are now.

Records of the clergy held by The National Archives contain little information useful to family historians.

Try to find out:

  • a date range to focus your search
  • in which diocese the person was ordained, and the name of their church or parish

What records can I see online?

There are no records of members of the clergy available online.

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

The National Archives is not the best place to find records of Church of England clergy.

Records of Roman Catholics (1580-1858)

Consult the in-depth research guide on Catholics for information about which series to search. The records of Roman Catholics held at The National Archives mostly relate to the imposition of fines or seizures of land for failure to attend Protestant services.

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Organisations such as Lambeth Palace Library and the Catholic Family History Society are working to preserve records and make them more widely available.

Church of England clergy

Download the source guides from the Lambeth Palace Library website to trace an Anglican clergyman from the 17th century onwards.

Records held locally

Search our catalogue and refine your results using the filters.

What other resources will help me find information?


Search King’s College London’s online Clergy of the Church of England Database (1540-1835).

Search the lists of Oxford and Cambridge alumni online at (£). You can also search the Cambridge lists at the Cambridge Alumni Database.

Printed sources

Consult Crockford’s Clerical Directory (Church House Publishing) for biographies of Anglican clergy in the UK from 1858.