----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Hayes" <hayesstw(a)telkomsa.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 9:36 AM
Subject: Re: [SOUTH-AFRICA] Humansdorp Baptism Register.
On 30 Aug 2007 at 16:54, Andrew Rodger wrote:
> Following Derek's latest contribution, I should point out that Old
> Parish Registers in Scotland are a public record. The Church of
> Scotland being the "Church by Law Established", these are also Civil
> Parishes; and judging from what I see in the CORNWALL List, I believe
> the same is true of Parish Records in England in the days before
> compulsory registration with the Civil authorities of all Births,
> Marriages and Deaths (1855 for Births, I forget the dates for other
> events). The census enumerations also are headed with the name of the
> "Civil Parish".
You will see in English census records mention of both civil and
ecclesiastical parishes, the boundaries of which do not always coincide,
the civil parish council was entirely different from the parochial church
Searches of Church of England registers were always in accordance with a
down scale of fees to be charged by the incumbent. Where the registers are
the custody of public archives, the search fees may be waived.
This *might* be a reason for objections to one person doing look-ups for
another in the Humansdorp baptism register, but that would depend on
the custodians of the register are in the habit of charging fees for
But we have not been told the reasons for the objections, so all this is
In England, the Church of England is an established church but the parish
register are the property and copyright of the church - although it is
debatable as to whether that is the incumbant or parochial church council.
A Parochial Church Measure (which has force of law) requires their deposit,
except in a few instances, in the diocescan archives. County Record
Offices are providing this service, at the expense of the local tax payer,
to a private organisation (the Anglican Church). IMHO any charges are not
about access but about covering costs of storage (very very few do this
anyway) and, for making a search i.e the time and expertise of the person
doing it. And why should we, as genealogists, expect the incumbent or an
archivist to do this work for us for free? That would be begging or asking
for charity - help by another genealogist is another matter, of course.