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So far I have found two online sources for parish records from the Isle of Man.

There seem to be gaps in both sources, but the supporting documentation at neither site discusses what gaps might be in the records. My 3*great-grandmother, Catherine Oates, turns up in the 1851 and 1861 Censuses with my 3*great-grandfather, Daniel Keig, at their farm in Ballaugh, and I can find her first marriage and her burial in parish records, but I can’t find either her christening or her marriage to Daniel. There is a christening of a Catherine Oates in Bradden parish in 1795, but as both Censuses list her as being born in Peel, I think it’s unlikely to be her. Bradden is on the wrong side of the island.

There is a CD mentioned over at the Manx notebook, but its parish records for German parish, where Peel is, seem to stop at 1775 for baptisms. This makes me wonder if the online databases have substantial gaps. Is there any way to find out how complete these – or indeed any other 18th and 19th century parish record transcriptions – might be?

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I still think the question has general application – it would be good to have some general information on the record about the completeness of parish records. But wouldn’t you know it, not long after posting the question, I found the record in the Manx iMuseum. The problem was I was looking for “Catherine Oates”, but she was recorded as Catherine Callister in the marriage record. Still haven’t found the birth record, though. –  Verbeia Jan 15 '13 at 11:33
    
"it would be good to have some general information on the record about the completeness of parish records." Yes. I spend so much time trying to identify and understand substantial gaps and at least as much time hoping to discover a work around. –  GeneJ Jan 16 '13 at 0:37

3 Answers 3

The GENUKI reference for Isle of Man states:

Church Records
The IGI for Manx baptisms and marriages is virtually complete.
Parish register copies (Isle of Man) in the library of the Society of Genealogists.

For most UK locations, GENUKI provides an excellent overview of the availability and completeness of records.

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If you select the Learn more link on the page at Family Search, you will get a very full statement of how good they think the coverage is.

For example

In 1910, all parish registers were passed temporarily to the General Registry so that government staff could make handwritten copies of all records prior to 1849. These copies, together with the original registers spanning 1849-1883, were subsequently microfilmed in the late 1940s, together with indexes arranged by parish for baptism and marriage entries. This collection covers records for the years 1598 through 1950.

This seems to indicate that there are no major gaps.

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No major gaps in what was still extant in 1910, perhaps. There are many examples in Wales of Parish Registers going missing in the 19th century, so I would not read that statement as optimistically as you. –  ColeValleyGirl Jan 16 '13 at 9:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Although the online databases are complete records of the records that still exist, all collections of parish records have gaps.

The Manx Notebook has a comprehensive page describing the start dates and any gaps in the register, broken down by parish. The start dates also differ. Although Familysearch.org labels the Manx records as being from 1598 onwards, only Ballaugh really starts that early.

There doesn't appear from this list to be a gap at the crucial point in Peel of German so I don't know why I haven't found Catherine yet, other than the possibility that she really was baptized in Braddann but moved to the other side of the island as a small child, and so recordeed her bithplace as Peel.

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