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Section III: Central Records

Section III is devoted to essential Central Records that will be of interest to all who use the CMS Archive.

Part 1 of Section III brings together the Annotated Register of CMS Missionaries, the History of the CMS by Eugene Stock, and the Catalogues to the Overseas Archive, CEZMS and FES Archives. Researchers seeking to trace, for instance, individual women missionaries will find that List II of the Annotated Register provides much useful data including place of domicile, date of sailing, place of work, dates of service, periods of leave and any relationships with other CMS missionaries.


The CMS Register of Missionaries provides biographical information on all missionaries and agents employed by CMS and is a private and confidential record compiled at headquarters for official reference by staff. Originally produced in 1854 it was brought up to date and printed in 1895 as a volume covering the years 1804-1894 for headquarters circulation. A further separate volume was later published covering 1895-1904. There are also further lists for the years 1905 onwards and the microfilm edition comprises all of these.

The Registers contain three separate lists: European clerical and lay male missionaries, women missionaries, and indigenous clergy. Each list has entries in the chronological order in which the people were accepted in full connection to the Society. Each entry is allocated a number. At the back of the volume is a name index for each list, giving the appropriate number of the Register entry.

The CMS headquarters in London holds the editorial interleaved copy of the Register into which the clerks (now the archivist) add relevant information to augment the printed material. This version is also included in this microfilm edition. A manuscript copy of these additions is also held in Birmingham.


Eugene Stock, CMS Editorial Secretary, wrote a three-volume history of the Society to celebrate its centenary in 1899. In 1916 he added a fourth volume bringing events up to date.

These volumes provide an invaluable resource for the researcher. Stock aimed to provide not only factual accounts of the Society’s work but to demonstrate how the Society related to its ecclesiastical and political environment both at home and overseas. For CMS mission areas he placed the Society’s work in the context of that of other societies Protestant and Roman Catholic. There is also much on the history of the Evangelical movement in the British Isles. In his Preface he explains that the history of the Society "is quite a different thing from the history of the Society’s missions. Accepting this fact as a guiding principle I have devoted probably one-third of the whole work to the affairs of the Church and the Society at home". He records matters of missionary policy, still relevant today, such as the relationship between voluntary societies and the official church authorities at home and overseas.

The value of these volumes is further enhanced by an exhaustive index of names, places and subjects.


These were compiled by Rosemary Keen who was the Archivist for CMS for over 30 years. They are included in this microfilm publication in their entirety in the Central Records section and the individual Catalogues are also included in the appropriate section of microfilm. They provide a detailed listing of the contents of each section of the Archive, together with essential introductory information such as the arrangement and classification of the series, the citing of reference numbers and the names and dates of office of relevant headquarters staff.

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