An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Parish Register

The formal record of the various official acts in a parish church. Canon 15 of the Constitution and Canons of 1789 required every minister of the church to keep a register of baptisms, marriages, and funerals within his cure. The Canon Law of the Church of England also required that the clergy keep a register of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. These records from the colonial period are a primary source of historical and demographic data for the early days of this country. Other data to be kept in the parish register are a list of all baptized members, a list of all communicants, a list of all confirmands, a list of all persons who have died in the last year, and a list of those persons who have been received, and all who have been removed by letter of transfer. There should also be a list of those whose domicile is unknown and those who are inactive but whose domicile is known.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.