The genealogical information on this site relating to these names is of three kinds; the vital records of births, marriages and deaths, census returns showing who was living and where, and wills of the deceased. Records with significant numbers of Debenhams and Debnams exist for England and Wales, Australia and the United States, with very small numbers elsewhere so far as is known.
Before July 1837 the main source of vital records is in the registers of each parish of the established church. These record baptisms, marriages and burials, but the amount and quality of information varies with time and place. The various nonconformist denominations usually maintained separate registers. Where information relating to Debenham and Debnam entries in these registers is available it has been included with the parish register information for convenience. There is more information about these early records on the Parish Registers page.
From July 1837 onwards birth, marriage and death records have been held locally at Register Offices of which there is one for each Registration District in England and Wales, and centrally by the General Record Office. Copy certificates can be obtained from the issuing local Record Office or from the General Record Office, in each case on payment of a fee. There is more information about these records and Debenham registrations contained in them on the General Registration page.
Censuses have been held in England and Wales every ten years from 1801, with the exception of 1941 which was during World War II. Those available and useful to family historians run from 1841 to 1911, and microfilmed copies of these can be viewed in person at The National Archives in Kew. These are all now available on-line, and information relating to the Debenham entries can be found on the Census Returns page.
Before 1858 wills were proved in a range of ecclesiastical courts around the country, and lists of grants of probate were recorded in will calendars. These calendars are held in local record offices in the areas of the original courts. From 1858 onwards all wills in England and Wales have been proved centrally by the Court of Probate and its successors. The records of grants of probate are kept by the Principal Probate Registry, and are indexed by year. These indexes, like those of the General Register Office, are available to the public. Further details relating to Debenham wills and grants of probate are on the Wills and Probate page.
Following the loss of the American colonies in 1776, Australia became the prime destination for the deportation of felons from the United Kingdom. Debenhams played their part in this process, but many more decided to emigrate of their own accord. There are thought to be several hundred Debenhams and related names in Australia, and their vital records are preserved in the various state archives. More information about vital records in Australia is on the Australian Records page.
Debenhams are on record as emigrating to the United States from the early 19th century onwards. The American vital records vary greatly between the 50 states and are frequently not available to the public, but a census has been conducted every ten years from 1790 to the present day. Debenhams appear in all the censuses from 1820 onwards, and with the exception of 1890, the records of which were consumed in a disastrous fire in the 1920s, the censuses up to 1930 are available to the public. More information about vital records in the United States is on the American Records page.
While the most important sources for genealogical research are birth, marriage and death registrations, parish registers, census returns and wills, there are many more kinds of information that can throw valuable light on family history. These include gravestone inscriptions, commercial directories, professional directories, newspaper cuttings and many others.
As references to Debenhams and Debnams worldwide are accumulated the major listings will be included here. This section is under continuing development.