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the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale  project


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Ravenstonedale data: Vital Records

VITAL RECORDS - As every family history researcher knows, BMDs and Census information forms the basis of our research - particularly when building your family tree. However, it is important to be aware of the high level of nonconformism in Ravenstonedale, as you may need to search records from several sources.  You can read more about the churches in Ravenstonedale on this page of the Ravenstonedale Community Website.


Ravenstonedale Parish Church - St Oswald's: When complete, this collection of data is likely to be the most important to all our Ravenstonedale family researchers.  I will continue to add further transcripts of the entries for St Oswald's, but it is a long and tiring task so one that I can only do in short bursts - keep checking for updates! 

  • Baptisms  - coming soon

  • Marriages 1577-1677

  • Burials  - coming soon

  • St Oswald's Gravestones - The Ravenstonedale Community website holds an alphabetical index to all the gravestones in the churchyard.  This was compiled in 1994 by Mrs C Bunney (1910-1995) of Hwith, Ravenstonedale

Nonconformists in Ravenstonedale

A high proportion of Ravenstonedale families belonged to nonconformist groups at various times ... if you have not been able to locate your ancestors in the records of St Oswalds parish church (which are available in index form on Family Search, though I aim to complete transcribing them myself from Rev Metcalfe's excellent book of transcriptions, which includes much more information than is available elsewhere) I have created a spreadsheet which includes the Society of Friends births, the High Chapel baptisms, plus some additional 'Dissenter' entries which Rev. Metcalfe added as an Appendix to his Registers of St Oswalds.  A few of these appear in both the 'Dissenter' list and on the High Chapel list - often with one entry recording the birth and the other the baptism.

The following spreadsheet shows all the Dissenters' birth entries from a variety of nonconformist data - eventually I hope to produce a similar record of Dissenters' burial records.

Download the BIRTHS spreadsheet here but please note it is a VERY large document - the spreadsheet covers the years 1650 to 1837 and contains 667 entries! But most entries include information about WHERE the family lived, which helps enormously in ensuring you have located the correct birth entry, given the number of different families that shared  the same surname.

Society of Friends - Ravenstonedale Meeting -

Marriages 1657-1834

Burials - coming soon

Ravenstonedale High Chapel


High Chapel Member List (to 1782)


Note: Nonconformist chapels were not permitted to perform marriages until 1837 (the exceptions were Quakers and Jews), so you will find many High Chapel members (and other known Dissenters) marrying at St Oswalds.


NB: Many nonconformist records are available on The Genealogist (this is a subscription site), and includes images of the original documents, which can provide additional information about your ancestors.

Where to access records for the Parish Church of St Oswalds

Ravenstonedale Birth/Baptism, Marriage and Death/Burial records   

Find My Past seem to have parish baptism and marriage records online for Ravenstonedale, but not burials (which suggests they sourced the details at Family Search!)  But the original Registers include additional information which is very useful. However, it is taking me ages to transcribe all the Ravenstonedale records, so if you want to search for your own families yourself, here are some helpful links:

By far the most reliable source is the copy of Rev Metcalfe's own transcriptions - which includes ALL the additional details available on the original records. Many years ago I purchased a digital copy of volumes I & II in PDF format (on a CD) from Anguline Research Archives, which has been hugely useful, though it only covers the years 1571-1780. 


There is also a searchable ebook version on Google books (also covering the years 1571-1780), which seems to work well.


HOWEVER, I strongly to be extremely careful if you decide to order one of the printed copies pf the book which are available to purchase online - these are invariably OCR copies and as all the formatting is lost, so dates have been separated from names, they are absolutely useless! Take a look at what YOU might end up buying!

Though I did locate a printed copy of Metcalfe's Registers at Abe Books which is a perfect hardback copy of the original Metcalfe publication, but it was rather expensive!


Family Search has transcriptions, which can be very useful for an initial trawl to discover whether your Ravenstonedale ancestor appears in the records: HOWEVER these may not be complete, and do NOT include the full details and, in common with most Family Search records, there are no Deaths or Burials included at all.

HINT: you can go straight to the relevant collection of records by using the Batch Numbers below in the Search Box:

St Oswald's Parish Church:

Baptisms 1571-1813     P003081

Marriages 1571-1812    M003081


Society of Friends:

Births 1650-1806           P004591

Only Birth records are available for the following nonconformist groups and dates:


Congregational 1811-1837          P004611

Congregational/Ind 1775-1811   C004612

Presbyterian 1775-1809              P004601

I located the Batch Numbers shown on the left at the VERY USEFUL website - Family Search: a Guide to the British Batches (created by Archer Software) .... save the url now!

You can search for a specific parish in Britain on this site and it will provide the Family Search Batch numbers for records in that parish, so you can go directly to the correct set of records.

e.g. the Anglican records for Ravenstonedale Births/Baptisms are in  the following Batch Nos:

1571-1813       P003081

1813-1874       C003082

Ravenstonedale Census information

I have only transcribed the 1841, 1851 and 1911 censuses to date - given the wide availability of census information, I had not  intended to transcribe any more years, however, as part of an online course I was undertaking, I began transcribing the 1861 census for Ravenstonedale.  It proved to be fascinating stuff, as this period coincides not only with the process of many tenants becoming enfranchised and gaining the freeholds of their properties (so they can for the first time buy and sell the freeholds), but also the railway line is marching forward and the town is full of workmen involved with making cuttings and laying tracks. Though many are lodgers, it looks as if some have married Ravenstonedale girls and settled down in their own properties.  The assignment that set me off on this task only required a dozen or so pages of transcriptions to be analysed (for errors), but the data proved so interesting, I decided to complete the whole parish - I will upload it here when I eventually complete this task.


I have also produced Migration spreadsheets showing which other counties people born in Ravenstonedale migrated to.


You can view the Migration spreadsheet here

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Ravenstonedale DNA project

Ravenstonedale DNA project

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