Portsmouth, Hampshire Genealogy

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Guide to Portsmouth, Hampshire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish register transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Portsmouth ships.jpg

Parish History[edit | edit source]

Flag of the city of Portsmouth
Portsmouth coat of arms
Location of Portsmouth within Hampshire

PORTSMOUTH (St. Thomas à Becket), a seaport, borough, market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, in the union of Portsea Island, locally in the hundred of Portsdown, Fareham and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, 21 miles (S. E. by E.) from Southampton, and 72 (S. W.) from London; containing, exclusively of the parish of Portsea, which is within the borough. Here are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians.[1].

Portsmouth is mainly built upon on Portsea Island and is the United Kingdom's only island city. The Romans built Portus Adurni, a fort, at nearby Portchester in the late third century. The city's Old English name "Portesmuða" is derived from port, meaning a haven, and muða, the mouth of a large river or estuary. It was mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for the year 501.

The south coast was vulnerable to Danish Viking invasions during the 8th and 9th centuries. In 787, it was assaulted and conquered by Danish pirates, and then during the reign of Æthelwulf, King of Wessex in 838, a Danish fleet landed between Portsmouth and Southampton and the surrounding area was plundered. In response, Æthelwulf sent Wulfherd and the governor of Dorsetshire to confront the Danes at Portsmouth, where most of their ships were docked. They were successful although Wulfherd was killed. In 1001, the Danes returned and pillaged Portsmouth and surrounding locations, threatening the English with extinction. The Danes were massacred by the survivors the following year and rebuilding began, although the town suffered further attacks until 1066.

When Richard the Lion Heart returned from captivity in Austria in May 1194, he summoned a fleet of 100 ships and an army to the port. He granted the town a Royal charter, giving permission for an annual fifteen-day free market fair, weekly markets, and a local court to deal with minor matters, and exempted its inhabitants from paying an annual tax of £18.

Henry V built the first permanent fortifications of Portsmouth. In 1416, a number of French ships blockaded Portsmouth, which housed ships that were set to invade Normandy. Instead, Henry gathered a fleet at Southampton and invaded the Norman coast in August of that year. Recognizing the town's growing importance, he ordered a wooden Round Tower to be built at the mouth of the harbour, which was completed in 1426.

n 1539, Henry VIII built Southsea Castle, financed by the Dissolution of the Monasteries, in anticipation of a French invasion.[39][40] He also invested large sums of money into the town's dockyard, and expanded its boundaries to 8 acres (3.2 ha). Around this time a Tudor defensive boom stretched from the Round Tower to Fort Blockhouse in Gosport, as a protection to Portsmouth Harbor.

Over the years, Portsmouth's fortifications were rebuilt and improved by successive monarchs. In 1563, Portsmouth suffered from an outbreak of a plague, resulting in about 300 deaths out of the town's population of 2000.

In 1805, Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth to command the fleet that defeated the Franco-Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar. Before departing, Nelson told the crew of the HMS Victory and workers in the dockyard that "England expects every man will do his duty". The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to it becoming the most fortified city in the world.

At the turn of the 20th century, Portsmouth was considered "the world's greatest naval port" when the British Empire was at its height of power, covering a quarter of Earth's total land area and 458 million people. In 1900, Portsmouth Dockyard employed 8000 men – a figure which more than doubled to 23,000 people during the First World War.

During the Second World War, the city, particularly the port, was bombed extensively by the Luftwaffe in the Portsmouth Blitz. Between July 1940 and May 1944, the city was hit by 67 air raids which destroyed 6625 houses and severely damaged 6549 of them. The air raids caused 930 deaths and wounded almost 3000 people, many of them in the dockyard and military establishments.

Portsmouth was affected by the British Empire's decline in the latter half of the 20th century. Shipbuilding jobs fell from 46% of workforce in 1951 to 14% in 1966, drastically reducing the manpower in the dockyard. In the early 1980s, then Defense Secretary John Nott concluded that of the four home dockyards, both Portsmouth and Chatham would be closed. However, Portsmouth City Council won a concession, and rather than face closure, the dockyard was downgraded to a naval base. Shipping has always been, and will continue to be, a major part of the history and economy of Portsmouth. [2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Portsmouth has 3 active cemeteries.

Kingston Cemetery
Douglas Road
Portsmouth PO1 5RR

Milton Cemetery
Milton Road
Milton PO4 8RS

Highland Cemetery
Highland Road
Southsea PO4 9AH

Census records[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Church records[edit | edit source]

Portsmouth parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

FS PRs = England, Hampshire Parish Registers, 1538-1980 (FamilySearch) - free
FS BTs = England, Hampshire Bishop's Transcripts 1680-1892 (FamilySearch) - free
FS = FamilySearch - free
FREG = FreeREG - free
FMP = Hampshire Baptisms, Marriages, Burials (FindMyPast) - ($)
TGEN = Hampshire Parish Records (TheGenealogist) - ($)[3]
ANC = Hampshire, England, Allegations for Marriage Licences, 1689-1837 (Ancestry) - ($)
IGI = International Genealogical Index (FamilySearch) - free[4]
FS Catalog PRs = FamilySearch Catalog Parish registers - free
FS Catalog BTs = FamilySearch Catalog Bishop's transcripts - free
Portsmouth Online Parish Records
Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
FS PRs 1538-1980
FS BTs 1680-1892
FS 1538-1975
FREG 1538-2000
FMP 1752-1851
TGEN 1537-1800s



FS Catalog PRs

FS Catalog BTs

To find the names of the neighboring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851 Map. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.

Records are also available at the Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.

Parishes[edit | edit source]

The Diocese of Portsmouth covers many Anglican Churches in South East Hampshire. It's website follows:

Some representative churches within the city boundaries follow:

St Michael's and All Angels Church
Hemsted Road
Portsmouth PO6 4AS

Portsmouth Cathedral
High Street
Portsmouth PO1 2HH

St Mark's
10 - 12 Derby Road
Portsmouth PO2 8HR

Saint Nicholas
Battenburg Ave
Portsmouth PO2 0SW

St Albans
104 Copnor Road
Portsmouth PO3 5AL

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Portsmouth parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

BOYD = Boyd's Marriage Index (findmypast) - (£)[5]
FMP = FindMyPast - (£)[6]
FREG = FreeREG - free[7]
FS = FamilySearch - free[8]
GENUKI = GENUKI - free[9][10]
JOIN = The Joiner Marriage Index - (£)[11]
PALL = Pallot's Marriage Index (Ancestry) - (£)[12]


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
1653-1775, 1813-1837

FMP 1700s-1800s

FS 1654-1873





Willis, A. J.  Register of Persons Who Have Provided Certificates of Settlement.

Article is a transcription of  alphabetical listing of surname, given names, Parish of Settlement, date of Certificate, starting from 1680, from a mixture of Counties, many included in Hampshire.  Article in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 2, no.1, pages 10-13, FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

Walcott, Michael.  Stray Marriages From the Registers of St. Thomas A Beckett, Potsmouth 1776-1812.  An alphabetical listing of surname of groom, A-B only, given name, place, and person who they married and date of licence, dated from 1776-1812.  Transcription is in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 2, no.3 November 1975, pages 40-41, FHL Ref 942.27 B2.  The Listing from C-G is in The Hampshire Family Historian vol.2, no.4, Feb. 1976, pages 57-58.  FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Portsmouth also boasts a large Roman Catholic community and has a Catholic Cathedral:

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Bishop Crispian Way
Portsmouth PO1 3HQ

Other Christian Groups represented in Belfast follow:

  • Baptist
  • Church of Christ
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • City Life Church
  • Methodist
  • Portsmouth Vinyard
  • Russian Orthodox
  • Seventh Day Adventist

Non Christian Groups include:

  • Muslim
  • Hare Krishna
  • Hindu
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. Civil registration records were recorded at the local registration office and the National registration offices. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes.

Emigration[edit | edit source]

A major emigration to Canada occurred in 1869-1870. Due to the changes in how ships were constructed and other factors, many Admiralty Dock Workers became unemployed without prospects for other jobs. There were many opportunities to work in Canada and free passage was given under strict guidelines. One stipulation was that married men needed to take their wives and children to Canada with them.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Walcot, N. G. "The Walcots of South East Hampshire." Article covers the history and family tree of Clement Walcot from years 1774-1823.  Article in The Hampshire Family History Journal vol.1, 1974 page 11-12, Family History Ref. 942.27 B2f

Evans, Charles. "The Vining Family of Newport and Portsmouth. Names, dates and other information on the many Vining Family covering years 1623-1774." Article is to be found in The Family History Journal of the South East Hampshire Genealogical Society, no. 5, February 1975, pages 91-93, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2f

Willia, Arthur J. "Register of Persons Examined Concerning Their Settlement". The following list is concerned with those people examined by J.P's in Portsmouth in order to ascertain their last legal place of settlement. The original is in the Portsmouth City Record Office. Article to be found in The Family History Journal of the South East Hampshire Genealogical Society, no. 5, February 1975 pages 97-99. ; Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2f

Hurst, N.H.G. "The Main Line". This article continues the Genealogy of William Main, and concentrates on the brother Reuben, who was Master of the Tug, "Grinder" at the time of the fatal accident. Reuben marries Suzanne Miller in 13th December, 1863, and proceeds onwards with their children. Descendants seem to live mainly in the Portsmouth, Petersfield area, if you look at the current phone book.  Article covers years 1792-1957, and is to be found in The Hampshire Family Historian, Vol. VIII, no.2, August 1981, pages 69-70. Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h

Evans, D.M.H. "The Linzees of Portsmouth and the Royal Navy". List of Linzee names, and birth and death and place dates, occupation in some cases covering period 1725-1896 and article is to be found in The Hampshire Family Historian vol.IX, no.2. August 1982. page 49, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h

Shotter, George William. "The Shotter Family of Portsmouth". Article contains a small family history of Thomas Shotter, born and died in Portsmouth, whose ancestor had moved from Easebourne, W. Sussex to Portsmouth in 1811. Article to be found in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. XI, no. 3, Nov. 1984, pages 137-138, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h and a further article in The Hampshire Family Historian vol. XI, no.4. Feb. 1985, page 207-208

Howell, Peter. "What the Papers Said". Article has a copy of the death notice of Lieutenant Commander of the Royal Navy, Henry Briton Howell of Portsmouth. Gives also a list of the chief mourners, and the relationship to him, and a history of his service in the Navy. Article to be found in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol.XI, no.4.Feb 1985,pages227-228, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h.

Perrin, Peg. "From Portsmouth to Victoria. Charles James Bryant. 1830-1898". ; A description of Charles and his life in Maldon, Victoria, Australia, sadly losing 3 wives. Article is in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol.XV,no2, Aug. 1988, pages 94-95, Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h

Genealogy from Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Clarke, Midge.  Am I Descended From Milton.  Facsimilie of John Milton 1608-1674, photo of Manning Milton and family at Petworth, Sussex 1902, and one of Milton children, history  and family tree, also the Pubs and cottages where they worked and lived. A branch emigrated to U.S.A. Article in the Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 30 part 1, pages 33-36, FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

Eaton, Dinah.  My Hastings' Line of Seafarers.  Charles Hastings married Martha Nixon in 1814, children John, Jane, Richard, Martha and Eliza Ann; with family surnames of Gilbert, Tregarthen, Anderson, Long, Hastings, Foot, Wilson and Hartley, with a history of the family and 1 dying in South Australia in Sept 1938.  Picture of Gerry Hastings and wife Phyllis 1933 and one of Rondald Lindon Hastings 1907-1959.  Article in the Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 29, no.4, pages 263-268, FHL Ref 942.27 B2h 

Clarke, Barry. Clarke Family at Cosham's King and Queen Inn.  The King and Queen Inn was situated on Cosham High Street at its junction with Albert Road.  There is a picture of the Inn, and the history of James Clarke born about 1779 and family who ran the Inn, up to 1953. Other family surnames are Tribe, Steves, Windbank, Shank, Irish Till, Samways and Longs.  Article in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 32, no.1, pages 33-35, FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

Allaway, Peter.  Samuel And Louisa Barlow Parents of 15 Children.  Picture is of Samuel and Louisa Barlow nee Nancarrow, who lived most of their lives in Blackheath, Lewisham. Their 15th child married in Portsmouth Parish Church, in 1870.  Gives a basic history of the family.  Article in The Hampshire Family Historian, vol. 34, no.3, Dec 2007, page 170, FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Name changes of road

Edwards, E. Changing Names of Portsmouth Roads. Some of the streets of portsmouth and Portsea mentioned in the old registers and Census returns have had their names changed over the years.  List of former names, and present  names given. Article in the Hampshire Family Historian, vol. XII, no.3, November 1985, page 192-193. Family History Library Ref. 942.27 B2h v.12

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupation[edit | edit source]

Heighes, John.  Some Hampshire Master Shipwrights.  A list of names of shipbuilders, the shipyard they worked in and dates, from 1652-1820 in Potsmouth. Article in the Hampshire Family Historian Magazine, vol. 34, part no. 1, June 2007, pages 20-21.  FHL Ref 942.27 B2h

A tenth of the city's workforce is employed at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, which is directly linked to the city's biggest industry, defense, with the headquarters of BAE Systems Surface Ships located in the city. Including companies directly involved with the defense industry, almost 30% of the cities occupations are military related. Portsmouth will help build, and be the home port of, two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers: HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the largest ships ever built by the Royal Navy. The super-carriers were first ordered by then Defence Secretary Des Browne on 25 July 2007.

There is also a major ferry port that handles both passengers and cargo,primarily to French and Spanish ports, and the city has a dedicated fishing fleet consisting of 20 to 30 boats that operate out of the camber docks in Camber Quay, Old Portsmouth. They land fresh fish and shellfish daily, most of which is sold at the quayside fish market.

The city is also the UK headquarters of IBM, and there are a large number of IT support companies in the area.

Finally City and County Government provides many occupational opportunities for local residents.[13]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Hampshire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Web Sites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel A. Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of England, (1848), pp. 596-602. Date accessed: 07 June 2013.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Portsmouth," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth, accessed 23 September, 2017.
  3. Searching Parish Records online (Hampshire) - The Following Parishes are Available at TheGenealogist, ParishRegister.co.uk, accessed 23 April 2019.
  4. ArcherSoftware.co.uk
  5. Percival Boyd, A List of Parishes in Boyd's Marriage Index (London: Society of Genealogists, 1987).
  6. 'Over 1.4 million new Hampshire parish records published', Find My Past, accessed 3 October 2013. Date ranges are not clearly identified.
  7. 'Hampshire Coverage', FreeREG, accessed 23 September 2013.
  8. 'IGI Batch Numbers for Hampshire, England', IGI Batch Numbers - British Isles and North America, accessed 8 October 2013.
  9. Phillimore Hampshire Parish Marriage Registers, Vol. 10 (1900). Digital version at GENUKI - free.
  10. Phillimore Hampshire Parish Marriage Registers, Vol. 15 (1900). Digital version at GENUKI - free.
  11. 'Hampshire Coverage,' The Joiner Marriage Index, accessed 13 September 2013.
  12. Pallot's Marriage and Birth Indexes, Guide to Parishes.
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Portsmouth," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth, accessed 25 September, 2017.