Monday, June 16, 2014

South Petherton, Somerset, Genealogy Information - A Volunteer Effort

Once in awhile you run across a website that has been created and filled with excellent information. 

 I found one today while searching for my Laver ancestors in Somerset, in England.  It is at

This database was created by Hanna Nicholas and Liz (Hebditch) James who are cousins three times over, and are searching a number of surnames, including my Vaux, Laver, Axe, and others.

There are transcribed church registers for the South Petherton Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, and also for five non-conformist chapels.

Here is the list of the Church Register transcriptions, separated into baptisms, marriages and burials for the period of 1574-1901 (only top portion of page shown).

I found the baptism record for my 5th great-grandmother, Joanna Lavor, on 5 January 1763, in the transcribed page below:

I've spent several hours today adding content and sources to my RootsMagic database using these records.  I know that they are transcribed records, but I don't have the microfilm of the church records at hand.

The source citation for the Joanna Lavor baptism record is:

Hanna Nicholas and Liz James, "South Petherton Parish Records," online database, South Petherton Information ( : accessed 16 June 2014), "Baptisms, 1738-1812," Joanna, daughter of John and Elizabeth Lavor, entry; citing South Petherton Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul registers, held at Somerset Heritage Centre (

I still have more work to do in these records.  I haven't looked through the Non-Conformist church records yet!  And then there are records in neighboring parishes to be found and searched.

Thank you to Hanna and Liz for their hard work.  I've seen some of these parish registers on microfilm at the Family History Library, and, for some year ranges, they are very difficult to read.

You know, this is another instance of the "Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research:" 

"Genealogy research is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to find, but you have to look everywhere your 'genealogy candy' might be hiding"

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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