20 February 2021

The Best Database for Somerset Resources

In a genealogy Q/A session you can rely on being asked which is the best database. I was asked about Ancestry, Findmypast and MyHeritage at the BIFHSGO open house on Friday.

The answer is that for England they all have the common databases national in scope, and each have strengths in particular counties. In deciding which is best you need to dig into their holdings for your area of interest.

As an example I looked at Somerset, for which MyHeritage has no coverage, for titles with more than 1,000 records.

Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1531-18124,462,551Ancestry
Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-19142,943,017Ancestry
Somerset Baptism Index2,140,273Findmypast
Somerset Marriage Index1,713,126Findmypast
Somerset, England, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754-19141,521,727Ancestry
Somerset Burial Index1,517,693Findmypast
Somerset, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1914585,287Ancestry
Somerset Banns Index258,480Findmypast
Somerset, England, Gaol Registers, 1807-1879101,284Ancestry
Somerset Monumental Inscriptions80,052Findmypast
Somerset, England, School Registers, 1860-191447,047Ancestry
Somerset Electoral Registers, 1832-191431,783Findmypast
Somerset Monumental Inscriptions (Full)24,260Findmypast
Somerset England, Evercreech Parish 1538 - 189017,099Ancestry
Wells, Somerset, England, Bishop's Transcripts, 1594-173615,917Ancestry
Somerset & Dorset Notes and Queries, 1890-198010,092Findmypast
Notes and Queries for Somerset and Dorset, 1888-1899, 1905-19063,349Ancestry
Somerset Registers & Records1,970Findmypast
Somerset Medieval Will Abstracts, 1385-15581,616Findmypast
Somerset, England, Church of England Confirmations, 1843-19131,504Ancestry
Parish Apprentices For Somerset1,245Findmypast

Ancestry has 9.7 million records, Findmypast 5.8 million so on the face of it for Somerset your chances are probably better with Ancestry. But you need to dig deeper as you may find one service has images of the original record that are lacking in the other.

People often overlook TheGenealogist. For Somerset it contains information in 1,185 Somerset titles listed separately by parish and for baptisms, marriages and burials.

While FamilySearch has nothing for the county in the Records collection, as always, check the Catalog where you'll find 171 titles online you may be able to browse, if they're open outside Family History Centres and affiliate libraries.

Digging deeper there are sites like the online parish clerk and Dusty Docs for Somerset. Those are just examples. Google can help.

Not to be overlooked are the online archival resources in the county such as at Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies and and indexes from the Somerset Archive via the South West Heritage Trust.


Roger Harris said...

Fabulous!! Somerset is my primary county of interest, and I, too, have found them THE most helpful., Much thanks.

Sophronia said...

My favourite place for Somerset transcriptions wasn't even mentioned. It is FreeREG. Their transcribers usually know the area and the surnames they are dealing with and are much more accurate than others. They have great coverage in Somerset. As Online Parish Clerk for Ansford & Castle Cary, I donated all my transcriptions to them. They do a great job on other counties as well and are always the first place I search for parish records.