Walk up the hill on Hillside from Medina Way in Newport to number 26 and you will find an unassuming building tucked back from the road. This is the Isle of Wight Record Office. Behind its door are many records and finding aids pertaining to family history research on the Isle of Wight and one of the most useful is the amazing card index to the Island’s Parish Registers. The card index is arranged by surname and includes baptisms, marriages and burials from 1539 through to 1900 for all the parish churches on the Isle of Wight. It is an invaluable finding aid for locating your ancestors in the parish registers.
Here is a scanned copy of the card showing the first marriage of my 6th great-grandmother Lydia Osborne to William Dore. Lydia and William were married in the parish church at Gatcombe in 1706 by license. According to the entry, both Lydia and William were residents of Freshwater at the time of their marriage but married in the parish of Gatcombe, about thirteen miles away. Without the card index I would have faced a difficult search to find their marriage record.
While visiting the Isle of Wight a few years ago, I was able to scan the index cards pertaining to many of my IOW family names but there were so many names and so little time and so my collection of cards was not complete.
Luckily for those of us who do not live on the Isle of Wight, there is another option available if we want to go through the cards in the index. The LDS church microfilmed the index cards back in 1980 and they have it available on seventy-five microfilm reels. Their films include the cards for baptisms, marriages and burials from 1539 through to 1858 only. The individual microfilms can be borrowed for viewing at your closest Family Search Centre. A list of these microfilms is available from their online catalogue on the Family Search website. The loan period is normally six weeks and the cost of borrowing a film varies from centre to centre but is generally the cost of the postage for the film.