Registration Districts in Medway Branch's area

 

Our catchment area for projects is centred on the Medway towns and extends west to Gravesend, east to Sittingbourne and Sheppey, south to approximately the M2/A2 and north to the the natural boundary of the River Thames.  This neatly fits with the eastern half of the Rochester Archdeanery area for which the parish registers are available on CityArk.  The western part of the Archdeanery is within the North West Kent Family History Society area

When civil registration began in 1837 the Registration Districts were based on the Poor-law Unions created in 1834.  Over the years there have been many boundary changes as the structure of local government developed.  Until the 1830s *the parish* was the most important body, dealing with all sorts of things but mostly with caring for their own poor.  

By then the industrial revolution had truly got underway and we were changing from a rural pastoral nation into a manufacturing one and the introduction of Union workhouses and civil registration was a huge change.  As people became more aware of the need for clean drinking water and removal of sewage those Unions/Reg DIstricts in many cases became Urban or Rural Sanitary Districts; USD or RSD seen after addresses on certificates 1875-1894.  Then in boroughs/larger towns the sanitary authority was merged into the corporation and all other urban sanitary districts were renamed as urban districts, governed by an urban district council (UD on certificates) and rural sanitary districts were replaced by rural districts (RD on certificates); which for the first time gave country people a directly elected council.  District councils had remit to deal with things like council housing, street lighting, parks and cemeteries.

A higher tier of local government was introduced in 1888 with the creation of County councils, originally as modernisation of the justice system, they were elected bodies to administer the county court Quarter Sessions but gradually education, highways and social services were added to the remit.  In the larger city areas Unitary Authorities took on duties of both Urban District and County Council.

This lasted until 1974 when Urban and Rural District councils were abolished and each county was divided into District councils which had a mix of urban and rural areas.  In Kent the districts are: Ashford, Canterbury, Dartford, Dover, Gravesham, Maidstone, Sevenoaks, Shepway, Swale, and Thanet plus Medway which became a Unitiary Authority in 1998.

The significant dates (in our area) were:
1st July 1837 - start of civil registration
26th December 1884 - North Aylesford District abolished/renamed Strood
1st August 1923 - Strood and Hoo Districts merged to form Strood & Hoo DIstrict
1st April 1935 - some smaller parishes abolished/absorbed into neighbouring parishes
1st April 1941 - major re-organisation of boundaries
1st October 1952 - Gravesend transferred from Chatham District to Dartford District
1st April 1974 - major local government re-organisation
1st January 1980 - Dartford District abolished/renamed Gravesend
1st April 1998 - Medway Unitary Authority created
1st April 2003 - all of Kent (excluding Medway) became a single Registration District.

The original register books are now divided between Kent (held at Tunbridge Wells) and Medway (held at Rochester).  In general the registers for parishes which are now within the Medway Unitary Authority area will be in Rochester and all the others in Tunbridge Wells but there are exceptions because a register book cannot be split.  For instance Strood District was divided into two sub-districts, Northfleet sub-district was entirely parishes which are now in Kent and the books are held at Tunbridge Wells but Strood sub-district included parishes now in Medway and in Kent.  The birth and death register books are now held in Rochester even though they include Higham and Luddesdown which are Kent rather than Medway.  Marriage registers are all held by the authority in which the marriage place is now subject.

Map of 1837 Registration Districts    Map of current District Councils 

   1837-1884  1884-1923  1923-1935  1935-1941  1941-1952  1952-1974 1974-1979  1980-1998  1998-2003  2003-present
 Allhallows  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Birling  Malling  Malling  Malling  Malling  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Kent
 Burham  Malling  Malling  Malling  Malling  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Kent
 Chalk  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Chatham  Medway  Medway  Medway  Medway  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Cliffe  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Cobham  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Cooling  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Cuxton  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Denton  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham   Dartford  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Frindsbury(Intra)  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway  Medway  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Frindsbury(Extra)  NorthAylesford>  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Medway  Medway  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Gillingham  Medway  Medway  Medway  Medway  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Grain  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Grange  Medway  Medway  Medway  Medway  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Gravesend  Gravesend&Milton  Gravesend&Milton  Gravesend&Milton  Chatham  Chatham Gravesend  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Halling NorthAyesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 High Halstow  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Higham  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham Chatham  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Hoo St Werburgh  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Ifield  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham Gravesend Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Lidsing  Medway  Medway  Medway  Medway  Chatham Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Luddesdown  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham Chatham Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Milton Gravesend&Milton  Gravesend&Milton  Gravesend&Milton  Gravesend&Milton  Chatham Dartford Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Rochester Medway  Medway  Medway  Medway  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 St Mary Hoo  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Shorne  NorthAyesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Dartford  Gravesend  Gravesend  Kent
 Snodland  Malling  Malling  Malling  Malling  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Kent
 Stoke  Hoo  Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Strood  NorthAylesford  Strood  Strood&Hoo  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Chatham  Medway(Unitary)  Medway(Unitary)
 Wouldham  Malling  Malling  Malling  Malling  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Maidstone  Kent