The largest groups of nonconformists in England and Wales were Baptists, Congregationalists and Methodists. Numerically smaller were many groups including Churches of Christ, Presbyterians, Quakers, Salvationists and Unitarians. An understanding of the origins and the beliefs of nonconformists is valuable to appreciate the nature, scope and location of extant records. That a veritable treasure trove of records may be found is as possible as a total black hole!
Of the denominations noted above, no further mention will be made of Salvationists or Churches of Christ. The Churches of Christ are very similar to Baptists and Independents as far are records are concerned. The Salvation Army was only formed in the latter part of the C19th so is outside the period covered by much of this article. Salvationists are addressed in the Society of Genealogists (SoG) My Ancestors series, as are
most of the other denominations covered here. Catholics and Jews are not nonconformists as their origins do not stem from the Church of England.