Skip to main content

Subscriptions - FAQs

  1. Parish registers
  2. Wills
  3. Electoral registers
  4. Images
  5. Alternatives
  6. My account
  7. Subscriptions

1. Parish registers

1.1 Do the parish registers in Essex Archives Online cover the whole of Essex?

Yes. They cover the whole of the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford, which follows the boundaries of the historic county of Essex. To find out what registers we hold from any parish, and to identify images available online, visit our Parish register page.

1.2 What about parts of historic Essex that are now in Greater London?

Essex Archives Online includes parish registers from all five London Boroughs that used to be in Essex (Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest).

1.3 What about the unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock?

These are included.

1.4 Are there registers from every Essex parish?

Not quite. Some modern parishes, created from the mid 19th century onwards, have not yet deposited registers with us.

1.5 Is there a list of parishes arranged by dedication instead of by place-name?

Yes, there is a list of parishes arranged by dedication. Please note, this list is not maintained by ERO and it does not include modern parishes.

1.6 Do your images include all the parish registers held by the ERO?

Yes, except for baptism registers less than 16 years old and marriage registers from after 1957. If you find any registers that seem to have been omitted in error from the digitisation programme, do let us know. Please bear in mind that newly deposited registers may take some time to be copied.

1.7 Does Essex Archives Online cover parish registers that are held outside the ERO?

Parish registers held by Waltham Forest Archives (parishes of Chingford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow) are included in Essex Archives Online. Registers that are still held by parishes themselves are not included.

1.8 Are there registers from any counties apart from Essex?

Technically North Woolwich (in Newham, on the north bank of the Thames) used to be part of the county of Kent. Otherwise, no.

1.9 What types of parish register do your images cover?

The images cover registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. In general, parish registers do not reveal precise dates of birth or dates of death.

1.10 What about banns of marriage?

Banns are included if they appear in the same register as marriages. Any separate banns registers are not included.

1.11 Is the coverage of baptisms, marriages and burials the same?

Not quite. The images include all the parish burial registers held either by the ERO or by Waltham Forest Archives, no matter what their date. Baptism entries less than 16 years old and marriage entries from after 1957 are excluded.

1.12 What happens when a baptism register includes some entries that are more than 16 years old and some that are not?

We publish as many images as we can, excluding any pages that include data less than 16 years old.  Each year we publish any further images that have passed the 16-year threshold. 

1.13 What happens when a marriage register straddles 1957?

We publish as many images as we can, excluding any pages that include data from 1958 or later. We have excluded entirely any marriage registers that were started during or after 1957.

1.14 Are you going to publish post-1957 marriages in the future?

No, we have no plans to publish post-1957 marriages.

1.15 Are new deposits of parish registers being added?

Yes. Images of newly deposited registers are added to Essex Archives Online once they have been conserved, catalogued and digitised. Significant additions are announced in the ERO's e-bulletin.

1.16 Are there registers from non-Anglican churches?

No. The ERO does hold some non-Anglican registers, especially from Protestant nonconformist churches, but these are not yet available as images.

Images of Essex nonconformist registers that are held by the National Archives are available through subscription sites such as Ancestry, Findmypast or TheGenealogist. They are not available through Essex Archives Online.

1.17 Are there baptism registers from hospitals?

Yes. Where the hospital chaplains have deposited baptism registers in the ERO, images of these are included in Essex Archives Online. The only exceptions are baptism registers from mental hospitals, which are closed to protect the privacy of the patients.

1.18 What about burial registers from cemeteries?

Most of these are still held by the cemetery authorities. The ERO does hold some, but images of them are not yet included in Essex Archives Online.

1.19 Will more records be added later?

Yes.  If you have a suggestion for a series of records that you would like to see added, please email it to



2. Wills

2.1 Do your images include all the original wills held by the ERO?

They include all the original wills that we hold from the pre-1858 probate courts (references D/A...W ...), except for a few that need conservation treatment before they can be digitised.

2.2 What about the registered wills?

Registered wills - the file copies kept by the courts - are not yet available online (references D/A...R ...). They overlap with the original wills, but are not a complete match.

2.3 Do your images include private copies of wills?

The ERO holds small numbers of private copies of wills, from both before and after 1858. These are listed in Essex Archives Online (references usually D/D...), but they have not been digitised, so images are not available online. 

2.4 Do your images cover wills of Essex people that are held outside the ERO?

No. For wills of Essex people that were proved in the London diocesan courts you should approach the London Metropolitan Archives. Wills proved in the highest pre-1858 court, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, are held by the National Archives.

2.5 What about post-1858 wills?

The official copies of wills proved from January 1858 onwards are held by HM Courts Service. For more information see the wills and probate pages on the government site

2.5 Do your images include wills from any counties apart from Essex?

Yes. The pre-1858 wills held by the ERO cover parts of eastern Hertfordshire, and these Hertfordshire wills are included among the images on Essex Archives Online. There are also very small numbers of wills from London, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.


3. Electoral registers

3.1 Which electoral registers are available as images?

Essex Archives Online includes images of the county electoral registers for 1833-1883 (an incomplete set), 1918 and 1929. 

3.2 Why those years particularly?

The registers for 1833-1867 form a consistent set, between the First Reform Act in 1832 and the Second Reform Act in 1867.  We are adding the post-1867 registers in sequence, and so far have reached 1883.  However, we have already published images for 1918 (the first to include all men aged 21 or more, plus women aged 30 or more) and 1929 (the first to include all women aged 21 or more). 

3.3 Are you going to include more registers later?

Yes, the full programme will include images of all the pre-1974 electoral registers held by ERO.

3.4 Do the electoral registers available as images cover the whole of Essex?

Yes, they cover the whole of the historic county, but with some exceptions.

In general, the ERO does not hold electoral registers from the old Parliamentary boroughs that were preserved by the Reform Acts at Colchester (pre-1918), Harwich (pre-1885) and Maldon (pre-1885).  Those few that we do hold have not been digitised and are not included in a subscription.  However, these places still appear to a limited extent in the county registers, because some electors were qualified to vote in respect of property in them.

From 1918 the right to vote was based on residence, not property.  However, the Essex registers for 1918 and 1929 exclude Southend and - within what is now Greater London - East Ham, Ilford, Leyton, Walthamstow and West Ham.  All of these newly populous places had become separate Parliamentary boroughs, and they no longer appear in the county set.  For more details, see our guide to Understanding electoral registers and poll books.

3.5 Does Essex Archives Online include electoral registers from any counties apart from Essex?


4. Images

4.1 Are your images scanned from microfilm, or taken directly from the originals?

In order to provide the best possible quality, we use images made directly from the original records, not scanned from microfilm.  Manuscripts are copied in colour; printed records are copied in greyscale.

4.2 Are the images of parish registers in Essex Archives Online indexed?

The parish register images are not indexed within Essex Archives Online, except by place and year.  However,  Ancestry has created name indexes to most of our images of parish registers, except the very latest ones.  The indexes cover baptisms 1538-1918, marriages 1538-1935, and burials 1538-1994.  Ancestry is a subscription site, but you can see it free of charge in the Essex Record Office or in any Essex library.

Users of these indexes on Ancestry can click through to Essex Archives Online and buy an emailed copy of any particular indexed image.  This single-image service is quite separate from our subscription scheme.  In order to use it you do not need to register on Essex Archives Online or take out a subscription.  These single images cost £3.65 each, including Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable.

Many partial indexes are available elsewhere. For some free examples see FamilySearch or FreeReg.  Other indexes, such as the National Burial Index, may be available on CD or by subscription online.

To find out what registers we hold from any parish, and to identify images available online, visit our Parish register page.

4.3 Are the images of wills in Essex Archives Online indexed?

All original wills are indexed by the full name of the person making the will (the testator). The catalogue also includes the testator's occupation and place of residence, if these appear in the will itself. Where the place of residence is outside Essex, the county is shown too. Spellings of occupations and places have been modernized, but surnames are shown as they appear in the will itself. Thus an 'Image' search for the words Braintree will Clark finds images of Braintree wills where the testator's name was Clark, but excludes the spelling Clarke.  To find unusual spellings, try a search for the place and a date, without specifying a name.

4.4 Are the images of electoral registers in Essex Archives Online indexed?

The electoral registers are indexed by parish or place-name, but not by personal name.  The registers for 1833-1867 now available as images through Essex Archives Online are arranged alphabetically by surname within each parish or place.  By 1918 - and even more so by 1929 - the registers for major towns were arranged by street, but the remainder were still arranged by surname.

4.5 Your watermark is obscuring a piece of information that I need. What should I do?

We made the document reference more transparent in order to mitigate this problem, and we hope that future versions of the software may make the watermarks moveable. In the meantime, please email us at or write to us at ERO, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, UK and we will see if we can help.

For ways of obtaining an un-watermarked image see 4.6.

4.6 How can I get a digital copy of the images that I see on your site?

The software does not have any mechanism for directly printing or downloading images. However, there are several ways of getting copies of individual images.

Firstly, if you already have a full-sized watermarked image on your screen (this always involves registering, and for most images also subscribing), your browser may allow you to make a copy.  Try right-clicking on the full-sized image and either emailing it to yourself, or saving it elsewhere, or copying and pasting it into another application. When images have been pasted into another document, you may need to re-format them.

Secondly, for an un-watermarked copy of a particular charged image, subscribers can instead click on the link that appears below each thumbnail. We will send you a suitable order form by email. Non-subscribers, or users of free images, can email for the order form. For both subscribers and non-subscribers, there is a small charge.

However, for those parish register images that have been indexed by Ancestry (baptisms 1538-1918, marriages 1538-1935 and burials 1538-1994) there is another way to get an un-watermarked copy - without registering, subscribing or filling in an order form.  Just find the entry that you need on Ancestry's index, click through to Essex Archives Online, and buy an emailed un-watermarked copy of that particular indexed image online.  These single images cost £3.65 each, including Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable. 

By whatever means these copies are made or supplied, and whether they are watermarked or not, they remain subject to our terms and conditions and to copyright law.    

4.7 Can I re-publish images from your website?

The use of copies is governed by our terms and conditions and by copyright law. Publication of images in any form requires written permission from us. Publication includes uploading images to websites or other online resources.

4.8 If I find a mistake, can it be corrected?

We have tried to make Essex Archives Online as accurate as possible, but we know that there will be some errors and omissions, and we hope that you will point them out. Please email your correction to, or report it to the searchroom staff at Chelmsford. Simple mistakes in the text can often be corrected straight away. Correcting mistakes in the actual images will take a little longer: we will keep you informed of progress.

If you find a mistake in Ancestry's indexes of our images we would be interested to know but we cannot correct it for you. Only Ancestry can correct their indexes.

4.9 I spent a long time looking at images of a document, and the system suddenly threw me out. Why?

For the protection of customers, Essex Archive Online has a maximum session length. After 60 minutes of inactivity, the system cuts out. Browsing within a single item does not count as activity for this purpose, so after an hour looking at images of a single item, you may need either to re-select the image you were using or to log-in again.

5. Alternatives

5.1 Are all the images on your site now charged for?

No. We make a charge for the images of parish registers, wills and electoral registers. Some other images, mainly of pictorial material, remain free to view.

5.2 Is there anywhere that I can see the charged images on Essex Archives Online without paying?

Yes. All the images on our website, including the charged ones, are free to view in the ERO searchroom in Chelmsford. The ERO searchroom has 13 terminals available for all purposes including looking at images.

You can also see the images without charge at the Archive Access Points in Saffron Walden Library and Harlow Museum, but please note that the Access Points have limited viewing facilities and opening hours.  Please check before visiting.

5.3 Can I see the images free of charge in Essex Libraries?

No. Essex Archives Online exists to raise money to support the archive service, and free access in libraries would undermine its financial basis.

5.4 Why doesn't the ERO sell images of its records to one of the commercial family history sites instead?

By using our own system, we keep control of the images of records entrusted to us; we stay in direct contact with our users; and we retain all the income for Essex County Council (less a small charge that we have to pay for each financial transaction). This helps to keep the Record Office on a sound financial footing, limiting its cost to Essex taxpayers.

5.5 I have the exact details of an entry in a parish register where images are included on Essex Archives Online. Can I buy a copy of that entry without subscribing?

Yes.  If the entry is within the date range indexed by Ancestry (see 4.2 above), and you can find it in Ancestry's indexes, you can click through from the index to Essex Archives Online and buy an emailed copy of that image for £3.65 (including Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable).

Alternatively, for an order form that you can print off and use to order the same emailed image (or for any images not indexed by Ancestry) please email

5.6 I have the exact details of a will or an entry in an electoral register where images are included on Essex Archives Online. Can I buy a copy of that without subscribing?

Yes.  If you email we will supply an order form that you can print off and use to order emailed images of wills and electoral registers.

5.7 Does the ERO's search service still cover records that are available as charged images?

Yes. For an hourly fee, the search service can check through the images and provide you with a written report.  The researcher may provide copies instead of a written report where this represents the most efficient use of their time, but otherwise you can use the information in the report to order copies separately.

5.8 Are microfilms or microfiches of parish registers and wills still available?

The microfilms and microfiches that have been available in the ERO searchroom in Chelmsford, or at the Archive Access Points in Colchester Library, Harlow Museum, Saffron Walden Library and Southend Library, are still there.  Access arrangements outside the ERO may vary: please check with the venue before you visit.

Chelmsford, Colchester and Southend have full sets of parish register microfiches; Harlow and Saffron Walden generally hold only the fiches relevant to their area. Please bear in mind, however, that we have not produced new microfiches for many years, so a subscription includes some parish registers that have never been available in this format. The only other copy of the original wills now available in a subscription is an old microfilm copy held at Chelmsford.

We are no longer able to supply duplicate parish register microfiches.

5.9 What about records where there is no image, free or charged? Can I get copies of those too?

It depends. Provided that you can identify exactly what you need without our having to search for it, and the original record is available to the public (not closed), and copying it will not cause damage, we can usually make new images and supply them for non-commercial research or private study.  For more details please see our Reprographics service page

If you are able to visit the ERO searchroom in person, we also allow self-service digital photography of most types of document, subject to certain conditions and to a daily charge. Please email for further details. We do not allow further copying of original records that are already available as images from us.

6. My account

6.1 If I register with you, will I be bothered with adverts for other services?

No. We will use your details for matters connected with your registration or subscription. We may also supply you with information about our other services, but if you don't want to receive these just tick the 'Do not include me in email communications' box on the registration form, or write to Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, or email (please include your surname and forename and your current email address as registered on the system). Unless legally required to do so, we will not pass on your details to other organizations.

6.2 When I try to register, the system tells me that my email address has already been used. Why?

Your registration is personal to you and Essex Archives Online does not allow more than one person to register from the same email address. Please make sure that you have typed your email address correctly. If you have, this message may mean that you have already given us your email address when registering on Essex Archives Online.  In this case, there is no need to re-register: use the login option.

6.3 I have registered, and I have the system's automated email asking me to validate my email address, but I missed the deadline to respond. What should I do?

Log in using your email address and your password. From the 'My account' page, click on 'Buy new subscription' (this does not actually commit you to buying one). The system will detect that you have an un-validated email address and will ask you to validate it. If you choose to do so, it will send you another automated email.

6.4 I have registered online, and when I try to log-in the system asks for my email address or my 'reader number'. What does this mean?

The system gives everyone who registers online a unique reader number. If you log in using your email address, you will see your reader number displayed on screen. If you wish, you can use this instead of your email address when you next log in.

6.5 I've moved house, or changed my email account. Do I have to update my registration?

Yes. Part of our terms and conditions is that you keep your registration details accurate and up-to-date. If you cannot agree to do this, please do not register. It is particularly important to keep your email address up-to-date: the system uses this (as well as your password) to identify you, and to communicate with you if necessary. You can update your personal details and your email address by logging-in to your account and then clicking on the 'Update your details' button or the 'Change email / password' button.  As part of the process you will receive an automated email from and it may be worth adding this address to your safe senders list beforehand.

6.6 I don't have an email account.  Can I still register on Essex Archives Online and subscribe?

No. The combination of an email address and a password is needed in order to create a secure online account. If you do not have an email account you can still browse through the whole of the catalogue on Essex Archives Online but you cannot register on Essex Archives Online or buy a subscription.

6.7 What happens if I forget my password?

We have no access to your password. We cannot tell you what it is or reset it for you. If you forget it, use the button on the login screen. Essex Archives Online will send you an automated email with a time-limited code allowing you to set a new password.  Automated emails come from and it may be worth adding this address to your safe senders list beforehand.

Please be sure always to keep your registered email address up-to-date. If you forget your password and your email address is out of date, you will be locked out of your account.

6.8 What if I think someone else knows my password?

You are responsible for keeping your password secure and for any use that is made of it. We have no access to your password, and we cannot re-set it for you. If you think that it has been compromised, let us know in writing, and change your password straight away using the button on the login screen.


7. Subscriptions

7.1 I'm already registered with Essex Archives Online, but I'd like to try a subscription. Do I have to register again?

No. Choose the Login option and login using (a) your email address - if you have registered it with us - or your reader number and (b) your postcode or zipcode. Before you buy a subscription, the system will ask you to validate your email address and to set a password for your account. Once you have set your password, it will replace your postcode or zipcode when you access your account in future.

7.2 I'm already registered with Essex Archives Online, and I'm planning to visit the ERO in person for the first time. How does this affect me?

Personal visitors to the ERO need an Archives Card.  This is a national system allowing cardholders to inspect records in any member archive.  To obtain a card you need to visit a member archive in person, but the issuing process will be quicker and easier if you register beforehand on the Archives Card site.

The Archives Card system is separate from our own online accounts.  To look at original records you only need an Archives Card; to use our paid online services you only need your online account with us.

7.3 Can I have two accounts with you - one for using a subscription online and the other for my Archives Card?

Yes. Even if you have an Archives Card registered with us, you can re-register online, obtain a new account with a different reader number, and use that to subscribe.  Please note, however, that if we record an email address on your Archives Card account with us you cannot then use the same email address for any other account. 

7.4 I have not registered with you online, but I have an Archives Card issued elsewhere and I'm planning to visit the ERO for the first time. Am I affected by the charged image system?

No. When you arrive we will create an account for you on Essex Archives Online using the details from your Archives Card. This will allow you to see all our images free of charge in the searchroom.

7.5 I have an Archives Card registered with you but now I would like to take out a subscription. What should I do?

You can either add subscriptions to your Archives Card account with us or you can take out a separate online account.

To take out a subscription on an existing Archives Card account with us, you need first to add an email address and a secure password to the account. Login as usual with your Archives Card number and your postcode or zipcode. From the ‘My account' page, update your account with an email address and a password (this is different from the password that you set on the national Archives Card site itself). Then go to the subscription service page and buy your subscription. Once you have added a password to your Archives Card account with us, it will replace your postcode when you login online. In the searchroom, you will still need only your Archives Card number and your postcode. Remember, however, that a particular email address can only be used once: if you add an email address to your Archives Card account, you will not be able to use the same email address for any other account with us.

The alternative (which may be easier) is simply to take out a separate online account and subscribe from that, keeping your Archives Card just for your visits to the searchroom. Accounts once created cannot be merged.

7.6 Before I can subscribe, the system asks me to validate my email address - and then it asks me again. What should I do?

Occasionally Essex Archives Online will accept an email address at registration but then fail to recognize it as a valid address for subscription purposes. If you have validated your email address once and are then asked to do so a second time, please contact We will validate your address manually.

7.7 What does it cost to subscribe?

Subscriptions are available for various periods between 1 day and 1 year:

1 Day (24 hours) - £20.75
1 Week (7 days) - £31.00
1 month (30 days) - £43.50
6 months (182 days) - £78.00
1 year (365 days) - £103.00

These prices include Value Added Tax (VAT) where applicable.     

7.8  Is there a discount for those with special access requirements?

Yes.  Where a user has additional requirements when accessing images, subscriptions can be provided at a discount. The discount offer comprises an additional free subscription with the same length as an earlier purchased subscription.

Users must apply for the free subscription within one year of their payment, and must supply:
1) a description of the specific requirement(s) involved (e.g. sight impairment, dyslexia, learning disability) and of their impact on the user's ability to access the service;
2) formal evidence such as registration of sight impairment i.e. BD8 registration card or Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI); dyslexia, cognitive or neurological assessment; or a copy of other disability related documentation e.g. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Users from outside the UK must supply equivalent local documentation.

7.9 I don't have a credit or debit card. Can I pay for a subscription in some other way - say with cash or by cheque?

Unfortunately not. Essex Archives Online is designed to match online payments securely with an online registration. A system that separated the payment from the registration would be more complex and less secure.

7.10 Is there an age limit for users?

All the material in Essex Archives Online, so far as we know, is suitable for people of all ages, and there is no formal age limit. However, if you subscribe or buy single images online you must be the holder of the credit card or debit card used to pay the bill.

7.11 When I try to buy a subscription, the system tells me that 'payment was already made'. Why?

In order to reduce the risk of subscription customers paying twice by mistake, Essex Archives Online will only accept one subscription payment per user per calendar day (measured by UK time). If you login to your account, you should find that you have a current subscription.

7.12 When I try to buy a subscription or a single image online, my payment does not go through.  What can I do?

Please check Essex Archives Online for any announcements about system maintenance or other issues.  Failing that, we will help if we can, but before contacting us you can try these simple steps:

  • clear any temporary internet files from your device
  • make sure that you are using the most up-to-date version of your browser
  • try to make a payment from your usual device but with a different browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari ...)
  • if you have access to another device, try to make a payment from that
  • make sure that you are not using a pre-paid card (we cannot accept these)

If none of this works, please email us at or write to us at the Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, UK.

7.13 I've bought a subscription. Does my time start straight away?

No. Your subscription will be activated when you next log in.

7.14 Do I have to use all my subscription period in one go?

Yes. Once you activate your subscription by logging in, it will run continuously until your subscription period expires.

7.15 How long does a day's subscription actually last?

It lasts for exactly 24 hours, measured by UK time. Bear in mind that UK time currently changes twice yearly, from GMT in winter to BST in summer, with 1 hour's difference between them. At these moments, you may gain or lose an hour.

7.16 Does a monthly subscription last for a calendar month?

No. To be fair to everyone, a monthly subscription lasts for a standard 30 days.

7.17 What about subscriptions for 6 months or a year?

A 6-monthly subscription lasts for 182 days. A yearly subscription lasts for 365 days.

7.18 Can I buy a new subscription while my existing subscription is still current?

Yes. When you log in, the system will tell you when your existing subscription runs out and give you an option to extend it. Otherwise, when you near the end of a weekly, monthly, 6-monthly or yearly subscription, the system will send you an automatic reminder by email. Any extra subscriptions that you have bought will be listed for you when you log in. Logging in after your existing subscription expires will activate your next un-used subscription.

7.19 How will my subscription or single-image payment appear on my credit card statement or my bank statement?

Payments will be credited to 'Essex County Council'.

7.20 I subscribed, but I don't think a subscription is for me after all. Can I get a refund?

You may cancel your subscription, for a full refund, for 14 whole working days after you subscribe, provided that you have not activated the subscription by logging on. To cancel a subscription you need to apply in writing to the Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford CM2 6YT, UK or by email to, including your surname and forename, the email address that you gave us when subscribing, and your receipt.

You cannot cancel a subscription that you have activated by logging on.

In exceptional circumstances we will consider written applications for refunds of the unexpired parts of activated subscriptions. If we agree to make a refund we will deduct an administration charge. If we are at fault, however, we will not make an administration charge.

7.21 Are there any arrangements for corporate subscriptions to Essex Archives Online?

No. We have no plans to provide for corporate subscriptions.

7.22 Is my subscription linked to my device?

No. Your account is available from anywhere on the internet.

7.23 Can I stay logged in permanently?

No.  In order to conserve the site's resources you will be logged out after 20 minutes of inactivity and will need to log in again.

7.24 Is there a fair usage policy?

Provided that you observe our terms and conditions, you may view as many images as you like.

7.25 Some similar services allow users a free trial. Have you thought of doing this?

We raise quite a lot of our revenue from short subscriptions and a free trial would undermine this. If you want to see what our images are like, try looking at some of the many free images still available on Essex Archives Online (a search for any Essex place name should find some).