Have you ever searched the records of the parish where you know your ancestor lived, only to find nothing about your ancestor? In these situations, good genealogical methodology suggests to search the records of the neighboring parishes. Often you will find the records here, and even the records of the future in-laws.
If your research includes United Kingdom ancestry, there are two excellent software programs that help identify surrounding parishes. They perform radius searches which provide a list of all parishes within a given mile/kilometer distance.
Parish Locator Program enables you to locate any one of over 15,000 UK parishes. It will produce a list of parishes in any County or a list of parishes within a given radius of any other parish and also allows Import and Export via "csv" files. The parishes listed were those in existence at some during the period from the mid 1500s to about 1837 when civil registration began. The best part of this program is its ability to create a map showing your parish in the middle, with all the neighboring parishes plotted around it.
A similar program, Parish Locator for Windows, contains a database of over 25,000 parishes throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. From the full listing you are able to select a 'Home' parish around which you need to identify other churches. You can enter a distance in either miles or kilometers from the 'Home' parish and request a listing of all such churches from the database within that radius. It also tells you about the dates that records are known to be available.
The best part about these two programs is that they are free.
Legacy Family Tree also has radius search via its Geo Location Database feature. Read about it here.
Download Parish Locator Program here.
Download Parish Locator for Windows here.