The Joiner Marriage Index

Search for marriage records in England before 1837

Biography : Paul Joiner

Joiner Marriage Index : Photo of Paul Joiner

I had been interested in tracing my family tree for some years in a small way. Then I read a book, "Genealogy for Beginners" by A. J. Willis. This lit the fire in me but given family circumstances I felt that I could not really expect the family to follow through with me. The final catalyst to my addiction to genealogy started with the birth in 1974 of my son, who is now constructing the bones of this web site.

Progress was quick at first and I achieved quite a good line back on my Joiner paternal side to the Chesham, BKM area. Unfortunately the line became mired in a sea of non-conformity and I have been unable to make any further progress for the last 25 years. The results of my research have laid the basis for my One-Name Study on the family. The progress on this life-long quest can be seen at :

Since my roots lay, and still do lie, some 250 miles from where I have lived and worked for so long my prospects for further progress were slight in the short term. I was by now hooked on family history and needed an outlet for my research energy. Some of this was eased by an involvement with the birth of the Cleveland Family History Society. I later became Chairman of the Society, a position which I was proud to hold for over 20 years until family circumstances led me to rethink my commitment.

At the same time I noticed that the County Durham area had a fairly good coverage of parishes in Boyd's Marriage Index - although in the case of Northumberland and Durham it should really be called the Maxwell Wood Index as he did all of the extraction work. I had found this index really useful when tracing my late wife's family in this area.

The one problem I noted with Boyd's Marriage Index was that there was a large gap between the latest registers covered by Maxwell Wood in 1812 and the start of General Registration in 1837. I resolved to do my bit in filling this gap, using a large number of lunch time sessions once a week at Durham County Record Office.

At the same time Geoff Nicholson and the late Bill Rounce had independently started a similar programme for the north west and north of County Durham respectively. I had started with the south of the county as that was nearer where I was living. We agreed, very amicably, not to step on each others' toes and to allow the others access to our data.

I started the index on the back of old computer punch cards and later transcribed the index into searchable A4 documents. My original index stretched to three volumes which are still available (I believe) at Durham CRO and Cleveland Archives. A fourth volume was produced containing the missing 1800-1812 parishes.

By this time PCs were becoming more widely available and my database started its transformation into its current form.

I have recently taken up Geocaching as a hobby for my retirement. In this capacity I have started hiding my own caches including some puzzle caches. One of these, GC398FC, requires the solution to a nonogram. The image on the Geocaching site is rather blurred so here is a better resolution version which can be saved with a right mouse click and selecting "Save Image As...". Please take a look at my caches at