Occasionally you come across a parish vicar who loved attention to detail. Perhaps it was because he was a vicar of the small village of Emberton in Buckinghamshire and so knew his parishioners well, but the Reverend C G Hulton recorded all sorts of useful information in his registers. And it seems his successors continued his love of detail because right through the 19th century, the Emberton baptisms and burials were recorded with a host of interesting facts about the people involved.
Baptisms included the maiden name of the mother, and sometimes their parish of origin too. Burials included details of how they died, sometimes how long they were ill for, where they were from and which area of the churchyard they were buried in.
When John Hale was buried, aged 48, on 12 November 1861, Hulton records he is buried ‘East under the oak he had planted as an acorn’.
We’re told that Hugh Booth, buried on 28 January 1874 aged 48 years, was a joiner and that ‘He died on the anniversary of his birthday’. The next entry in the register is for the burial of William Booth ‘(father of Hugh)’.
Rebecca Hale was buried on 14 February 1873 aged 84 years and in her margin is written ‘On the 14th Feb Miss Hale always gave a bun to every school child’.
The baptisms, as well as citing the mother’s maiden name and including the child’s date of birth, names the sponsor of the baptism (the godparent). It’s interesting to see how often two couples will sponsor each other’s children. It’s a great way of knowing who each family was friends with.
This level of detail is such a treat to a social historian and gives wonderful colour to the list of names and dates usually associated with parish registers. These are details it would be impossible to find during normal family history research.