Taking care of the records 17th-century style: Chief Pleas April 1658

An Ordinance of 19 April, 1658.

Since the Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials have been so poorly organised and greatly neglected in the majority of parishes, to the great detriment of the public, the Parish Ministers are ordered to either keep the registers themselves or nominate a capable and just man to be sworn in to the task, within a month, who will receive the same fees as the Ministers; the Ministers are enjoined to alert the said Register-Keepers to any Baptisms and Marriages they are to undertake, and people taking bodies to be interred at the Cemeteries should also warn them of forthcoming burials.

And Martin Simon was presented by Matthew Herivel, Minister of the Parish of Torteval, to be the Register-Keeper of that parish, and was sworn in to that effect. [From the French.]

See Ordonnances de la Cour Royale, p. 187.

From Thomas Le Marchant's Remarques et Animadversions, I, p. 338 (written c. 1650-1675).

The Approbation [des Lois] says, when discussing Chapter 14 of Terrien, that the ministers who have charge of a Church keep the Burial, Baptismal and Marriage Registers, to include everybody.

Observation 1. Registrations in the Baptismal and Burial Records are generally very badly miskept, in as much as one usually only includes the day the child is baptised, when the child might have been born eight or ten days earlier, or more, before they are baptised, and the day when a person is buried, when they might have died three or four days before. These differences can cause various difficulties when it comes to priority of inheritance. It is necessary therefore, following what is said in the Coustumier, Article 2e, and in the commentary, to include not only the time of the said baptism, but the date and exact time of birth as well, with the names of not only the father and god-parents, but the mother also; and the same should apply to the Burial Register; it should include the date and time of death. And in accordance with Article 4, a true copy of the said registers should be placed with the Royal Greffe for each year, so that they may be available for consultation.

First reformed Colloque, St Peter Port, 24 September 1585. 

Those ministers who have recently been removed from their incumbency are politely requested to return the minute books of the Colloques, should they have them in their possession. The same request is made for the registers (mémoires) of baptisms, marriages, and burials, and the records of the Consistories of their respective parishes, when applicable. Every effort should be made to encourage their return. If these old documents cannot be recovered, they will be replaced with new versions.