Discover your Sheffield ancestors today by exploring over 239,000 baptism records across ten parishes, which includes the names of a highly decorated World War 1 soldier and a pioneer of American baseball. The records will reveal you ancestor’s birth date, residence and parents’ names.
The records includes a transcript of the original baptism registry. The amount of details in each record can vary, but the majority of records will include the following:
In some records the comment field with have further details about the baptism such as if the child is considered illegitimate.
Located in South Yorkshire, historically apart of West Riding of Yorkshire. The name comes from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Sheffield grew from industrial roots and is known worldwide for the production of Sheffield Steel. One third of the city lies within the Peak District National Park. It boasts more woodland than any other city in the country. The records were created by the Sheffield and District family history society. There are ten parishes included:
Norton Lees 1877-1994
Sheffield Cathedral 1752-1757
St. Paul’s 1751-1756
Major William Barnsley Allen, V.C., D.S.O., M.C. and bar, was decorated four times during World War 1 including the Victoria Cross. William was born to parents Edith and Percy Edwin Allen and baptised on 10 June 1892 at St. Mary in Sheffield. He can be found again on the findmypast website in the 1911 census. He is listed as a medical student living at home with his mother and his sister. In 1914, Allen joined Royal Army Medical Corps not long after Britain had declared war on Germany.
For his ‘conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty’ Allen received the Victoria Cross for his actions near Mesnil, France, on 3 September 1916. Captain Allen exposed himself to heavy shell fire in order to attend to the wounds of several injured men after a German shell fell in one of the limbers and exploded the ammunition. Allen was hit four times by pieces of shell, one fractured two of his rips, but he continued to assist the wounded.
He was also awarded the Military Cross and then in September 1917 he awarded a bar to his Military Cross. During the war he also received a mention in despatches. Overall Captain Allen was wounded seven times during the Great War and served three years and two months in France. Major William Barnsley Allen died in 1933 from opium poisoning.
Harry Wright was born 10 January 1835. Through these records we can find that he was baptised on 10 May 1835 in St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. His father was Samuel Wright, a professional cricketer player. Harry’s family immigrated to America in 1838. His father continued to play cricket for St. George’s Cricket Club for 32 years. By the age of 19, Harry had started to play cricket for various clubs in New York, until he received a professional place in the Union Cricket Club in Cincinnati.
In 1866 he helped to organised the Cincinnati Red Stockings Baseball team, played center field and became the captain of the team. Cincinnati became the first professional baseball teams and began for the first time giving players a salary. Wright’s keen eye for recruiting talented played lead the team to years of success. The team became a national sensation in 1869 by playing 67 consecutive undefeated games. However, due to financial constraints the club returned to its amateur status in 1871 and Wright and many other played moved to Boston to join the newly created Boston Red Stockings (later to become the Boston Red Socks).
Later Wright went on to manage the Philadelphia Phillies (known as the Philadelphia Quakers until 1890) for 10 years. Throughout his career he won twelve pennant titles for different baseball clubs. In 1953 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Harry Wright died on 3 October 1895 in Atlantic City, NJ. He is buried at the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery in Pennsylvania. On 20 June 1897, a memorial erected to the ‘father of baseball.’
The records show 495 baptisms of illegitimate children. In England, the 1235 Statute of Merton states that “He is a bastard that is born before the marriage of his parents.” The use of the word “bastard” continued through the 16th century, with the Poor Law of 1576 forming the basis of English bastardy law. It aimed to punish the child’s unmarried mother and putative father and to relieve the parish from the cost of supporting the mother and child.
The language changed in the 20th century, with the introduction of the Legitimacy Act 1926, which legitimized the birth of a child in England and Wales if the parents later married each other. The act refers to the child of unmarried parents as “the illegitimate person.”