Query. 25 June 2020.
I've found out that my ancestors were married at "the Independent" Chapel in Bromley on 25 July 1860. I was wondering if there was any information or parish registers that the NWKHS has on the Independent Chapel.
My family seem to have been quite religious and non-conformists (not really sure what that means) and Annie and Frederick Dickens (above) seem to have moved into the Bethesda Baptist Chapel, Church Yard, Orpington as Annie is living there in 1881 (as a widow). Do you know if the parish registers of the Bethesda Baptist Chapel exist or do you have any information about the Baptist Chapel?
Answer. 26 June 2020.
Our publication 'West Kent Sources' lists the churches in our area parishes. It says 'Independent'
Bethel (1788), later Bromley Chapel (1835) OR C1788-1832 (PRO).
Mf of OR C1788-1832 (CKS)
IGI 1788-97, 1822-32
The translation of this shorthand is: The chapel was known as Bethel from 1788 then became Bromley Chapel from 1835. The Original Registers (OR) Christenings 1788-1832 are at the Public Record Office (PRO), which is now called the National Archives (TNA) and is at Kew.
Microfiche of the OR C1788-1832 are at the Centre for Kentish Studies which is now known as Library and History Centre which is at Maidstone.
The IGI (was called International Genealogical Index) is now VRI (Vital Records Index) but you can access if free online from FamilySearch the site run by the LDS (Church of the Latter Day Saints more commonly known as the Mormons).
To help your future research you can buy 'West Kent Sources' from our online shop. Its now a CD and comes with its sister publication 'Schools Records'. The printed versions are sometimes still available from the Library as they get donated back to the Society. You can see a copy in the Library if you can visit Joydens Wood.
I don't know if we have transcribed or indexed this church since 1998 when West Kent Sources was published. Have a look at the publications list on our web site.
The other place to look is our Library catalogue that is online at our web site.
Once the Library is back open you can find the book by using the LocationID. The other place to look is in the Microfiche collection which at present has not been fully catalogued but is sorted in parish order so one of the volunteers can help you find the Bromley records.
You mentioned you don't know what non-conformist means. Churches other than Church of England (Anglican) or Roman Catholic are called nonconformists. So Baptists, Presbyterian, Wesleyan, Methodist and Independent are all nonconformists. The book 'Tracing your ancestors, The A-Z Guide' by Pauline Saul [Also published under the title 'Enquire within'] is a useful book to give you research clues. It also mentions Quakers, Walloons etc. The Act of 1840 required all nonconformists to surrendered all their registers to the PRO (now TNA) which is why they are listed in the TNA catalogue. Check their search engine 'Discovery' to see if the registers after 1832 are available.
You might find the registers are on Ancestry or the FMP web sites.
Have a look at the Gazetteer on our web site that shows all the details of the churches with photographs.