Find your ancestors in Norfolk Baptisms

Learn about these records

Was your ancestor baptised in the East Anglia county of Norfolk? Norfolk is the home of both Lord Nelson and Abraham Lincoln’s great-great-great-grandfather. You can discover the records for both in this collection, along with your ancestor’s birth place, parents’ names and baptism date.

What can these records tell me?

Each record will give you an original image of the parish register and a transcript of the details found in the records. The transcripts can vary depending on the age of the record and its condition, but most will include the following.

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Birth date
  • Baptism date
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Parish
  • Diocese
  • County and Country
  • Archive reference

The image displays the parish register page on which your ancestor’s name appears. It is the original record created at the time of your relative’s baptism. In some cases, the image will hold additional notations about your ancestor such as if they were awarded a knighthood or if they had a private or public baptism and the dates for both.

You can use the arrows on the left or right of the image to browse through the whole register. Discover more about your ancestor’s community and neighbours.

Discover more about these records

Norfolk Baptisms are a collection of parish records from the Norfolk Record Office, which have been digitised and indexed. Norfolk’s parish registers are now available to search by name, parish and parents’ names. By searching only your ancestor’s parents’ names, you can discover your ancestor’s siblings and extend your family tree further. The records include over 1.8 million names from 546 parishes across the rural county. Consult the Norfolk Parish List for a full list of all the parishes and years available.

In the records, we have found two notable names: Lord Nelson, the British national hero, and Samuel Lincoln, a forefather of Abraham Lincoln’s family, who made the first jump across the pond to a new life in the American colonies.

Lord Nelson

In the Norfolk Baptisms you can find the record for the British naval commander and national hero, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson. He is known for his most famous naval victory at Trafalgar against the French and Spanish fleets. Horatio Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe on 29 September 1758. He was the sixth child of Edmund and Catherine Nelson. At the time of Horatio’s birth, Edmund was the parish rector, an appointment given to him by Horace Walpole, a distant cousin of Catherine’s.

The couple would have eleven children in total but two died in infancy. The collection holds the parish baptism records for nine of Horatio’s siblings. Two siblings, William, baptised in 1757, and Ann, baptised in 1760, can be found on the same image as Horatio’s baptism. Horatio was sickly when he was first born and his father worried that he would not survive until his public baptism. Edmund had lost two children as infants. In the Anglican Church, children were usually baptised as part of a public ceremony with the congregation present; however, if there was a concern for the infant’s welfare a private baptism could be organised. The parish register for Burnham Thorpe in 1758 shows that Horatio Nelson was given a private baptism on 6 October 1758 and then a public baptism a month later on 15 November. The parish record book also notes that Nelson was given a knighthood on 27 September 1797.

Catherine Nelson died on 26 December 1767, nine months after giving birth to her daughter Catherine. After his mother’s death, Horatio was sent away to school and by the age of 12 he had entered the navy. He first served on board HMS Raisonnable under the command of his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling. By the age of 20, Nelson was promoted to captain. He was known for his bold actions and many victories during his career. In 1798, Nelson destroyed Napoleon’s fleet at the Battle of Nile. He was severely wounded on two occasions. At Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he lost his right arm and then at Corsica he was blinded in one eye. In 1801, he was promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy. His most famous and final victory came at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, when his attack on the French and Spanish fleets saved Britain from an invasion. Lord Nelson was fatally wounded by a French snipper while on board his ship HMS Victory. He was given a state funeral and today numerous monuments to Lord Nelson can be found in Great Britain.

Samuel Lincoln

Samuel Lincoln, an ascendant of Abraham Lincoln, was baptised on 24 August 1622 in Hingham parish. The parish record book only lists his father, Edward. Samuel became an apprentice weaver with Francis Lawes. On 8 April 1637, Lincoln set out for the American colonies with his master and his master’s family. It took two months and twelve days to reach Boston harbour. Before Samuel arrived, his two brothers, Daniel and Thomas, had settled in Hingham, Massachusetts. Settling into life in Massachusetts, Samuel married his wife Martha and together they had eleven children, however, only eight survived. The Lincoln ancestors continued to migrate westwards through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky. In Hardin County, Kentucky, on 12 February 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States and Samuel’s great-great-great-grandson, was born.