The church of St Andrew Holborn is the largest of Sir Christopher Wren’s London parish churches and stands at the western end of Holborn Viaduct by Holborn Circus. It also served one of the biggest parishes in London (it actually spanned the boundary of London and Middlesex) out of which five new parishes were eventually formed.
The registers are large and contain many thousands of entries as the parish has always been a popular place to marry. More significantly, the entries from the marriage registers do not appear on the International Genealogical Index or in Boyd’s Marriage Index. Pallot’s Marriage index has entries for 1780-1837 but these give only the year and omit many of the details from the original registers. It is for these reasons that in 2003, the Society decided to embark a project to transcribe and index the registers.
The index for the period 1754-1812, comprising 18,724 marriages and around 75,000 names, is now available online.
The St Andrew Holborn marriage index records contain much more information than many other marriage indexes. For both bride and groom the following information is provided:
- Full name – including any title
- Age – this is simply "full age" (i.e. over 21), "minor" or unknown
- Status – i.e. spinster/bachelor, widow/widower, or unknown
- Occupation – though rarely stated
- Parish and county – over 4% of grooms and nearly 3% of brides come from outside London or Middlesex
- Parish and county as in the register – these are not always exactly the same as the standardised parish and county names. For example, because St Andrew Holborn is split between the City of London and Middlesex, sometimes the county is shown in the register as London and sometimes as Middlesex, though for searching we have included St Andrew Holborn in London.
- Whether the register has been signed – in only a handful of cases has the register not been signed by both parties, but quite often only a mark is made – ie because the party cannot write their name. In 13% of cases the groom "made [his] mark", but in 32% of cases the bride made a mark, showing how widespread illiteracy was among women in the late 18th century.
- How they were married – by banns or by licence
- Date of the marriage
- Name of the officiating clerk or minister who conducted the ceremony
- Names of witnesses – names of two witnesses are generally present (missing in under 1/2 % of cases), but the Remarks field will often contain further witnesses’ names
- Remarks – this section contains miscellaneous information, including, for example: name of the person or persons who gave permission for the marriage where one or both parties were minors (usually a parent but can be someone else if the parents were dead), names of further witnesses, more details of where a party came from, a fuller name for the party (e.g. if they were titled or had academic qualifications).