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Family History

Our Heritage Room holds some materials relevant to Sark family history. People visiting the island are welcome to make use of our collections during normal opening hours. The Room has wireless broadband connection for those travelling with laptop computers. The Society does not offer a search service, but our Family History group leader, Jane Norwich, may sometimes be able to help with requests. Generally, records of individuals who lived on Sark are rare and not easy to find unless they were born, married or died in Sark. 


Most significant in the Society’s collection is the handwritten Alphabetical Index of Sark Registers 1570-1899, by AH Ewen and AR De Carteret. (This includes a list of Cornish families working as miners in Sark 1835-1845.) Photocopies of the Index are held by Guernsey’s Island Archive and by the Priaulx Library. Microfilms of the original Registers are held at the Priaulx. Original and current registers are held by the Sark Church wardens.


Also in the Society’s collection are Allan De Carteret’s working papers for the preparation of The Fief of Sark (1969); they contain draft genealogies for many Sark families and for the descent of the 40 original tenements. Additionally, there is a handwritten transcript of the Sark Parish Registers 1900-1960.


The original Sark censuses for 1841, 1851, 1871, 1891 can be viewed on CD at the Heritage Room. Transcripts of the censuses for 1841, 1901 and 1911 are available in typescript and digitally.


Hard-copy projects by Society members include plans of the ‘old’ (17-19C) and ‘new’ (19C-) cemeteries, with transcripts of legends on the tombstones. Recent work by members includes Men of Sark (2011) a biographical study and database of the veterans of two world wars; and a documentary portfolio of Sark and Channel Island Deportations in World War II (2008).


The Registrar’s records since 1925 are kept at Sark Greffe. Information about people who were litigants or petty criminals may possibly be found in the Acts of Court, kept by the Greffier. Record of Sark paupers in the 18th and 19th centuries may sometimes be found in Minutes of Chief Pleas.


Anyone interested in tracing ancestors in Sark will find comprehensive help in Marie-Louise Backhurst’s recent book, Tracing Your Channel Island Ancestors, published by Pen and Sword, 2011 (ISBN 978 1 84884 372 1).

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