Before civil registration in 1837 parish registers provide historical demographers with the best means of calculating population statistics. Their techniques involve the counting of monthly totals of events in parish registers (aggregative analysis) and the reconstruction of individual families by linking together baptisms, burials, and marriages (family reconstitution). The reliability of their results, however, depends on overcoming the many deficiencies of Anglican parochial registration, since registers record church ceremonies, rather than births, deaths, and marriages. Many babies died before baptism, and, over time, an increasing proportion of the population deserted the Church of England so that by the 1810s English registers contain only about two-thirds of the nation's births and deaths.
"parish registers." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/parish-registers
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