Guide To Using the CFHS Database


Use wildcards (*) when searching by name, as this will take into account any variations in spelling.  For example, Eli*beth or El*, which will pick up Elesebeth/Eliza etc.

Column headings in red can be sorted by date or alphabetical order by clicking on the relevant heading.

‘Less is more’
Begin your search using just the name and see how many results you find.  If there are too many to search through, you can then reduce the number by adding additional information in the search boxes.

Bear in mind that the person you are looking for may not have been baptised immediately after birth and could have been baptised in either an adjacent parish or, for a first child, in the mother’s original parish, as mothers sometimes gave birth at their parents’ house.  See our Location Index which includes information on each parish and lists the adjacent parishes. This record set is not complete.

Parish Marriages
Parish marriages prior to the beginning of the 1800s usually only contain the names of the bride and groom.

Early burials normally only contain the name of the person and sometimes their age.  You could also check the Cemetery Burial Books record set (Council cemeteries) in case your ancestor appears there.  This record set is not complete.

Monumental Inscriptions
We began documenting headstones in all parishes in Cornwall in the late 1970s and are currently revisiting each churchyard, updating our records, and taking photos of the headstones.  Information for some parishes is still held on index cards in our office and only the basic information appears on the website.  These records will show ‘Card’ on the record.

Where a record says ‘Ref’, this means that the person is mentioned on the headstone but wasn’t buried in that grave.  For example, the headstone would read ‘husband/wife of’,’ son/daughter of’

If families were unable to afford a headstone, there may have been no marker at all on the grave, or there may only have been a wooden marker which is no longer there.  Since we began this project, headstones in some parishes may have been damaged and/or removed.

Census Records
If you’re searching for someone with a common name and are having trouble finding a record, try searching for the name of another family member with a less common first name.

The ages on the 1841 census were rounded up or down, so take this into account if you enter an age in the search field.

Other Record Sets
Additional record sets such as Oath Rolls and Strays can be found in Miscellaneous under the Research drop-down, and under the Free Content heading you will find record such as Convicts and Fowey Harbour Masters and Mates.

We suggest that you familiarise yourself with our database and the records we hold so that you don’t miss out on records that may be of use to you.