Family History


We have considerable resources to help in family history research.

All the Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers survive for the four former churches of the Parish- Holy Trinity (opened 1714, demolished 1949), Christ Church (opened 1845, closed 1977), St. James' (opened 1753, now the Parish Church), and St. Nicholas' (opened 1694, destroyed by fire 1971, now partly rebuilt as a Chapel of Ease, but all register entries are within the St. James' books).

All except the current registers are kept at Whitehaven Archive Centre (for more details of location and the opening times see our links page).

To request searches, please e-mail us on

Over the years there have been around 75,000 baptisms, 20,000 weddings and 46,000* burials between the four churches. This makes the search often time consuming and difficult. To this end there are indexes to the registers , which are also available at the Record Office where they may be freely consulted (these copies continue to the early 21st century).

Below are copies of those indexes (they are provided for personal research use and should not be reproduced in any form whatsoever, or used for commercial puposes) cut off to guidance issued by the Irish Data Commissioner (which are far more stringent rules than the UK laws). Thus burials are given up to closure of Town Churchyards in 1855, Marriages to 1945 (the 75 year rule) and Baptisms to 1920 (the 100 year rule), so they do not cover any living persons.


Monumental Inscriptions-



When we conduct searches (see below) we can provide data up to the present date.

*Burials- all town Churchyards of all denominations were closed in November 1855 due to overcrowding. The figure of 46,000 is up to that date. Christ Church had no graveyard, but buried at Holy Trinity. *

Please note that until 1856 all Churches in Whitehaven were chapels of ease to St Bees Priory. Thus some of our registers have pages headed St Bees, rather than the relevant Church. Also until the end of the 19th century it was quite common for events to be held at St Bees Priory so their registers shoud also be checked if you are unable to find Whitehaven people in our registers.

For burials from 1731 to 2014 they have an excellent website, which is available on this link

Baptism Indexes 1838-1999 & Wedding Indexes 1837-1995 will be available on the Cumbria Archive Service website-see below

(there are also printed books for the 16th century to 1837/8 of their funerals, baptisms and weddings at Whitehaven Archive Centre [WRO]).

It is also common to find Whitehaven people being married, baptised, and especially buried at Moresby Church, to the north of the town, so indexes to their registers for Burials 1813-1968 (please note there is also a Non-Conformist burial ground just below the church towards Lowca-that register is in private hands and is not publicly accessible, as burials still occur there); Baptisms 1813-1969 and Weddings 1676-1970 are available- see below

(as for St Bees there are printed books for earlier events at WRO)

The other Historical church within the modern town of Whitehaven is Hensingham, which opened in 1811. Indexes to their registers: Burials (to closure of the old Churchyard in 1865); Burials in the Civil Cemetery from opening in 1865 to 2007; Baptisms 1811-1988; Weddings 1825-1994- see below

From 1855 all burials were either at Whitehaven (Preston Quarter) Cemetery or Hensingham Cemetery. WRO have the registers for Whitehaven Cemetery up to 1986 and a transcript beyond 1986 to 2014, and a full index to them. For Heningham Cemetery see above.

Registers for Beckermet/Thornhill (1922 opening to 2015), Millom (1978 opening to 2015) and Nether-Wasdale Cemeteries (1916 opening to 2015) (all run by Copeland Council) are available and transcribed at WRO. They are matched to gravestones for Hensingham and Beckermet/Thornhill. Plot plans for the 4 Copeland cemeteries are also now available at WRO.

When you find events on FreeBMD, Ancestry and find my past and they quote 'Whitehaven' they mean Whitehaven Registration District

Indexes or transcripts of Weddings for all available post 1837 registers for all other Anglican churches from Bassenthwaite to Ulpha are also at WRO. This is the rest of Whitehaven Registration District and the southern part of Cockermouth Registration District.

They cover Kells St Peter 1939 opening to 1988, Mirehouse St Andrew 1966 opening to 1981, Workington St John 1835 opening to 1971, Workington St Michael 1838-1994, Westfield St Mary 1954 (licensing for marriages) to 1976, West Seaton/Northside 1893 opening to 1994, Seaton 1883 opening to 1990, Harrington 1838-1920, Distington 1838-1995, Bigrigg 1880 opening to 1923, Bassenthwaite St Bega 1833-1972, Bassenthwaite St John 1878 opening to 1978, Netherwasdale 1837-1968, Ennerdale 1838-1996, Drigg 1839-1960, Eskdale 1838-1937, Irton 1837-1959, Muncaster 1837-1930, Waberthwaite 1850-1989, Beckermet St John 1837-1983, Beckermet St Bridget 1838-1966, Corney 1801-1980, Ponsonby 1838-1957, Gosforth 1837-1992, Seascale 1896 opening to 1986, Haile 1837-1932, Thwaites 1836-1978, Bootle 1838-1954, Egremont 1837-1922, Cleator 1837-2005, Arlecdon 1837-1980, Frizington 1869 opening to 1968, Cleator Moor 1872 opening to 1986, Lamplugh 1837 to 1987, Whitbeck 1813 to 1989, Whicham 1838-1978, Haverigg 1891 opening to 1963, Millom Holy Trinity 1837-1980, Millom St george 1879 opening to 1957, Ulpha 1837-1971, Seathwaite 1837-1975 and Wythop 1866 opening to 1984.

Siimilarly for Burials-

They cover Arlecdon 1813-1982, Beckermet St Bridget 1813-2012, Beckermet St John 1813-1984, Bootle 1813-1949, Cleator 1860-1962, Cleator Moor 1872 opening to 1958, Corney 1797-2012, Distington 1838-1985, Drigg 1838-1925, Egremont 1813-1864 (The Civil Cemetery then opened, their records are available in book format only from the Town Council), Ennerdale 1813-1877, Eskdale 1813-1930, Frizington 1868 opening-1970, Gosforth 1813-1982, Haile 1813-1990, Haverigg 1891 opening to 1936, Irton 1813-1916, Lamplugh 1813-1887, Muncaster 1813-1880, Netherwasdale 1813-1916 (The Civil Cemetery then opened), Ponsonby 1813-2012, Seathwaite 1736-1992, Thwaites 1838-1972, Ulpha 1813-1991, Waberthwaite 1813-1991, Whicham 1813-1944 and Whitbeck 1813-2012

Also for all surviving Non-Conformist Whitehaven area wedding registers except Roman Catholic-covers Whitehaven Presbyterian 1898-1914 & 1965-1971, Congregational (Duke Street 1840-1875, Scotch Street 1898-1969 closure), Wesleyan (1906-1996) and Primitive Methodist (1901-1940 closure), Kells (1940-1987 closure) and Rowrah Methodist (1920-1993), Quaker (1775-1793), Cleator Moor Presbyterian Church 1892-1952 and Parton Congregational/Independent (1867-1940), and for each church is sorted in groom and bride order

Also for all surviving Workington Non-Conformist Weddings except Roman Catholic- covers Baptist 1916-1979, Congregational 1836-1884 and 1908-1918, Westfield Methodist 1955-1980, Harrington Victoria Square Methodist 1930 licensing to 1950 closure, Workington Corporation Road Methodist 1951 licensing to 1972 closure, Workington John Street Methodist 1930 licensing to 1965 closure, Workington South William Street (later Trinity Church) 1862-1991, Presbyterian Thompson Street 1838-1899 and Presbyterian Sanderson Street 1889-1980.

The Workington (Banklands) registers are all available on microfilm at WRO and Workington Library.

Also available are transcripts of Baptisms for Kells St. Peter (1932-2008) and Mirehouse St. Andrew, both Whitehaven and are 20th century churches

also Ponsonby 1813-2012, Corney 1797-1942 and Whitbeck 1813-2012

and all available Nonconformist Baptism Registers- covers Congregational Duke Street 1819-1897 closure, then Scotch Street 1897-1968 closure, Parton Congregational 1867-1954 closure, Quaker (Births) 1837-1876 , Presbyterian Market Place 1696-1923, Presbyterian (The Kirk, High Street) 1889-1894 closure, Baptist 1753-1837, Cleator Moor Presbyterian Church 1892-1923, 1948-1951 & 1956-1988 (the gaps are due to missing register pages) and all the Methodist Churches in the area-the Methodist Registers are very complex and disorganised, at times being by chapel and at times by circuit- the indexes make them useable for the first time: they are-Primitive Methodist 1839-1882 and 1904-1932 re-unification; Cleator 1888-1934; Cleator Moor 1879-1965; Egremont United Free 1884-1933 (became Bookwell Chapel), Egremont Bookwell 1934-1962 closure, Egremont Main Street 1880-1962, Eskdale 1955-1958; Frizington 1884-1950; Kells 1933-1985; Kirkland 1950-1982; Lowca 1940-1991; Moor Row School Street 1888-1957 closure, Moor Row Scalegill Road 1941-1969 closure; Moresby Parks 1941-1999, Parton 1888-1979; Rowrah 1877-1995; Seascale 1942-1963; Thornhill 1926-1994; Hogarth Mission 1889-1954 closure; Kirk Mission 1905 opening-1964 closure; Wesleyan Circuit 1877-1996; Michael Street Wesleyan 1806-1877 closure,

Slightly further afield there is Loweswater Burials 1838-1976, Weddings 1839-2010 and Baptisms 1838-2014-

and Buttermere Weddings 1868-2007 and Baptisms 1842-2014

and the local Bible Christians registers (a variety of Methodism)

Transcripts of all available Quaker Registers (Weddings, Birth Notes and Burials) are also available.


The registers for Whitehaven St Begh's Roman Catholic Church are not in the public domain but the church will willingly conduct searches for you, for a small donation. Please see their website for full details:


For burials, as well as the indexes we have monumental databases to our three churchyards. There are no surviving plans to the churchyards, so actual burial locations cannot be determined. All three have also had their gravestones cleared to the perimeters. The database (see above for the link to the file) allows you to find any surviving gravestones.

The burial indexes recommence at around 1940 for funerals, and contain details (where known) of the place of interment as well as usual details. There are gaps in this data up to around 1970. It is also available at the Record Office.


We also have, available very detailed Rolls of Honour for those on Town War Memorials of all denominations. This INCLUDES those who were missed off War Memorials for variouis reasons, but were casualties from the town.

These will be published in summary form later in 2016 on the Whitehaven Town Council website.

At St James it is on the windowsill of the Chapel, at St Nicholas' it is available on request in the Parish Office.

Searches for Baptisms, Weddings and Burials are generally free although a charge may be made for copy certificates. There may be fees for complex or lengthy searches and these will be individually discussed. 

To request searches, please e-mail us on

FOR CLARITY these are all register copies only. Actual Death, Marriage and Birth Certificates are obtained from the General Registry Office (GRO): see this link

Update 23rd December 2016- all these indexes/transcripts are available now in printed format at Whitehaven Record Office (except Cleator Moor Presbyterian Baptisms and Weddings, and Kells St Peter Baptisms 1963-2008). They will also be on a dedicated page on the Cumbria Archives website, which will also include similar resources for other areas of Cumbria, and hopefully pre 1837 transcripts for all Anglican churches in the Whitehaven Register Office area-which have been produced in a 43 year project by one dedicated person, which was completed on 4th November 2016..

The page mentioned above is now developing, resources will gradually be added to it. This is at

Over the years we have had a number of requests for information about the Whitehaven lifeboat. Unfortunately many of the records of the Whitehaven and Seascale lifeboats are currently un-obtainable due to lack of clarity over their where-abouts. However below is as complete a history as it is currently possible to write. This will be revised in due course if better information becomes available.