Tracing An English Family Tree Before 1837

When you are tracing your ancestors in the British Isles there is a rich seam of information on the internet until we get back to 1837. This is the year when civil registration began and the state took over the registration of its citizens vital records.

Online-Old-Parish-Records

Many newcomers to English and Welsh family history are amazed at how easy it is to go to one of several websites, pay a subscription (or buy some credits) and begin finding records of ancestors with relative ease. Lulled into a false sense of security, we begin to think that all the information that we will ever need to find, for our family tree research, is going to be accessible online. But soon you find that quite a small percentage of all the genealogical records, that there are, actually make it on to the net.

So what are the other records that family historian with English or Welsh ancestry need to go hunting for? How about wills; manorial records; the many types of occupational records; various military service records; or, if like me you had a merchant seaman in the family, then the merchant navy’s records? This is just a short list, there are more!

What About Research Before 1837.

Once you have been able to get back as far as you are able to do, using the census entries and Birth Marriages and Death records, you will now need to turn your attention to Parish records – these date back to 1538 and a time when Thomas Cromwell, Chief Minster to Henry VIII, ordered that every wedding, baptism and burial should be recorded. Historically, England and Wales was divided into about 11,000 parishes. Your research will need to be in the Parish Registers relating to the place where your ancestor lived, in order to find out as much information on your forebears line in that parish.

Where should you look for parish registers? The answer is that the original will normally have been microfilmed and stored in the local County Record office. True that there are a few parishes where the registers are still with the incumbent minster; but the majority are now in the safe keeping of the relevant record office. An alternative, to looking at images of the original record is, if you have access to the web to go and look at the websites that offer transcripts of Parish Register for you to search. Remember, however, that a good genealogist will always understand that a transcription is secondary data only. It is an indication of information for you to follow up and so you do need to then go and confirm the details by looking for the original source. The reason is that errors may possibly have been made by the person making the transcription and you don’t want to allow those errors to get into your own family tree, now do you?

While English and Welsh parish records stretch back as far as 1538, not all will have survived the ravages of fire and flood, so don’t expect to be able to sail back as far as this date! The earlier records were recorded on paper, but from 1558 onwards the more durable parchment (made from sheepskin) was used in preference. Even so, very few parish record survive before the 1600s.

From 1598, annual copies were made and sent to the local bishop. Called Bishops’ Transcripts (or Register Bills in East Anglia), these make a good substitute for lost original records, and occasionally contain information omitted from the registers themselves. These Bishop’s Transcripts will often be in a better condition and also more legible than the original parish register and they can be found in the county record offices. While the older records were, in theory, supposed to have had copies made, it is believed that some never managed to be copied and others have been lost over time.

Family tree researchers need to be aware that there can be gaps in Parish Registers between 1553 and 1558 when Henry VII’s daughter Mary Tudor, a Catholic, was on the throne. Also there is the so called “Commonwealth gap” between 1642 and 1660 in the English Civil War and under Oliver Cromwell’s protectorate.

There is so much to learn in this area that I’ll be posting a second article on tracing your English and Welsh family tree before 1837 shortly.

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Why Do We Need To Know Our Ancestors?

There are several things in this world we live in that fascinate me, but do to the fact that I don’t want to write a 7000 word article, I will just tell you about one in particular. Let’s talk about family and where we come from. These days it is becoming more important to know where you come from. By that I mean we all have families, but not all of us know the beginning of our existence. Knowing about your family tree is very important.

The reason why it is important is because if we knew our ancestors, we could very well find out why we act and do the things we do. Knowing your ancestors could be good and bad in many ways.

Knowing your ancestors could be bad especially if your family has had a history of diseases that have plagued generation after generation. Most definitely you can just about determine your life expectancy knowing these things. I know that this could be a very sensitive subject, but the best thing to do is to always look for the bright side of everything.

Take for instance if you knew that your family had a history of cancer. By knowing that this is in your generations before you, it gives you a heads up on how to deal with this fact. If you know this is a severe and direct threat, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent the cancer from going undetected and eventually causing you and you immediate family stress. Once you know the facts you can take steps to help you get ready for the journey and possibly beat this disease.

Now days if you give your doctor all the ammunition needed, they can help you defeat this terrible disease. Take for instance breast cancer. We know how many families lose their love ones to this awful disease every year. Early detection has proven time and time again that people have defeated breast cancer through early detection.

We could talk about all kinds of scenarios, but they all will have the same result good or bad. Let’s just say if you are a person who just want to connect with a mother or a father that has been lost. With the right resources you could very well find that person.

So there really is no excuse to some of the things we go through these days. History always repeats it’s self that we all know. But if we learn or find a way to search for our ancestors, all your questions can be answered in full.

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Find Your Ancestors and Build Your Family Tree The Right Way

Here is a great article for family history buffs that I came across. It teaches new researcher just how to put the Family tree together in the right way. For the more experienced among us it may be a timely reminder!

Find Your Ancestors and Build Your Family Tree The Right Way

By Elizabeth Larsen

You get a little bug in your brain to find your ancestors, at least your grandparents and great grandparents. They might be easy to find right at home in the family Bible or in drawer that is set aside for important pictures and documents.

It is so exciting to find anything on your family and one find leads to another. You may leave home and search the clerk and recorder documents in the courthouse. There you may find marriage licenses and birth and death records. Stop right now and cite those sources.

Citing your sources means writing down the source that you used to find a certificate or document or even a phoned statement from your aunt about her sister. I know this is as exciting as watching snow melt. Get in the habit of documenting your sources right as soon as you start researching your ancestors.

As your adventure unwinds of finding your family, you will be amazed at the number of notes, sheets of paper, pictures, certificates and documents you will accumulate. If you don’t start right off writing down where you found all of those, you will end up with an awful mess.

Without documentation, your hard work will be useless. Some people think you just jump on the internet or visit the courthouse a few times and “voila” a family tree appears. You may spend hours, even years accumulating all the data necessary. If you haven’t written down the sources for all that data, your children, cousins, nieces or nephews, whoever is going to carry on that tree, will not know where to look for that information for their own satisfaction.

If your family has a common name, you may have recorded the wrong family. If you type that online or send it to a relative, that information will be replicated as truth. However, if you have a source for that data, your receiver will be able to check on the accuracy.

If you produce a quality genealogy, you will be able to go back to the original sources and find the facts. And, those facts should be proven. Many counties publish books about all the families in the county. If you use such material, you must cite the source and give credit to the folks who wrote the book.

Family tree software that is available for the computer will help you document your sources. I have to confess that I have now documented my sources in my online tree. I do know the sources, but have been too lazy to put them in. That would be a good New Year resolution.

I also have not kept track of all my research. That is dumb as it wastes valuable time as you look at the same web sites over and over. Or even make trips to the courthouse or wherever to look up the same people.

Quality genealogy and family trees are well worth the effort you put into them. They are priceless keepsakes for the family. Start off right and keep a research log and cite all your sources.

Elizabeth Larsen has researched her family tree for 35 years. For more information on beginning a good genealogy, good tips and good books to help you go to http://www.squidoo.com/basicgenealogy

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Elizabeth_Larsen
http://EzineArticles.com/?Find-Your-Ancestors-and-Build-Your-Family-Tree-The-Right-Way&id=5543118

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Family Tree Researchers See More Online Parish Records

I have noticed recently that there seems to be more Parish Records coming online for those of us researching our English Family Tree. Welcome news indeed for family historians that find it difficult to travel to the areas where their ancestors came from.

Websites such as Freereg.org.uk are aiming at putting more than a million transcripts on the web thanks to a programme of digitisation by the Parish Register Transcription Society (PRTSoc). Until recently this society has only ever made its transcripts available on CD, so this is good news.

In partnership with a technology firm called Frontis Archive Publishing, the first batch of transcripts have been uploaded from more than 300 parishes across 17 English counties.

To search the indexes cost you nothing. To view an entry is one credit and 10 credits can be bought for £2 with a sliding scale if you want to purchase more. The proceeds are going towards funding further transcription and should they end up with a surplus, then this will be given to the mental health charity Rethink.

While I am glad to see better access to transcript from the parish records there are some questions in my mind. We all know that transcriptions are no substitute for the original. Good family historians are taught to always go and look at the source material to make sure that no errors have crept into the transcribed record.

Other things to be wary of is who made the transcription that the index is based upon? Is the record a complete one without any significant gaps? Has the information been checked against Bishop’s transcripts and Licence records?

But, in spite of this, the fact that more Parish Records are finding their way online is wonderful news for those of us researching our English Family Tree.

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Starting Your Family Tree – Collecting Personal Data

The favored rule of genealogy is to begin with yourself.  Work from the known to the unknown, gathering evidence each step of the way.

Next, gather information from your immediate family . The elders do not live indefinitely regardless of health or age and it is important to record everything that they can remember.

Whenever possible, conduct a one-on-one interview.  Let people know that you are coming , as well as the type of information in which you are interested .  With permission, use recording equipment.  Take accurate and clear notes .  Prepare for your interview by making a checklist of questions to remind you to ask the three key  questions:  who, where, and when . These questions will increase your genealogy know how and family tree research .

However, be prepared to follow leads from the person you are interviewing .  There are sure to be challenges in the process ; beflexible with your interview style and be open to the discussion and the stories that follow . When it is inconvenient to interview a relative personally , write a letter that is personal and conversational in nature .  If the communication goes unanswered, a telephone call may be necessary .  Writing may be difficult for an elderly person who might be interested in sharing information.  If this is the reason , a phone call might be more productive.

It is important to recognize that not everyone will be as interested or excited about family history and genealogy .
Use photos as a aid .  Often pictures refresh the memory, and unlock bits and pieces of family information long forgotten.  

Assure your relatives that you will be careful of the material loaned to you .  Respect the information they give to you.  Often relatives are reluctant to lend a family heirloom , so be prepared to photograph items whenever they cannot be removed from the premises .

Offer to share your research .  Keep your word .  After entering compiling data on  a family history sheet and pedigree chart , send  a copy to the person who has kindly given you   the facts .

Be  certain to ask if there is bible in the family and find out where it is situated .  Family bibles may contain facts  about   marriages, births and deaths carefully recorded on pages within.

enquire if others in your family has researched genealogy . If so, determine how you can obtain a copy

Family heirlooms often contains useful information :

  • Names and places are printed on the backs of old pictures .
  • Written messages on the inside of a book commemorating a birthday or a vacation .
  • Family scrapbooks that contain historic newspaper obituaries and articles , concert programs , plays,  and graduations .
  • Engraved silver.

There are an endless variety of family artifacts :

  • Certificates and other family records – birth baptism, confirmation , marriage record ,  death and burial , wills, lawsuits . 
  • Adoption records
  • Diaries
  • Funeral cards
  • School Report  

Develop a method to organize your research . Organizing all of this material is difficult if you don’t have a method .  You will want to create a filing system using both electronic and traditional techniques.  Use binders or folders with the surname as the label, keeping items relating to that surname together. When you have time , peruse each folder or binder carefuly, extracting relevant information.

Make sure to compare your electronic files to your paper files .

Don’t forget to backup your material in another location .  Many priceless family memorabilia have been destroyed by natural disasters , as well as by the apathy of others who did not know they were handling did not know the value of the irreplacable family artifacts . 

 

 

 

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Genealogy Know How – Searching Your Family Tree

Family tree research is an exciting and rewarding look into your ancestry .  Much of your genealogy research will come easy , and parts will be more difficult.   Along this journey you will begin to wonder if anything is accurate as you grow your genealogy know how.

Census and legal documents may have illegible or incorrect names, wrong dates or errors in location .  As a researcher, you will need to question the evidence to determine whether or not the proof is correct .

People study their family history for many different reasons.  Some wish to join organizations , which require a proven lineage.  Some do it for religious reasons.  Others for medical reasons, trying to trace medical issues through members of their family .  Perhaps the individual wishes to leave a legacy for their children. Most begin genealogy because they are fascinated with the study of their family as a whole .  For whatever reason it becomes a fascinating project.

There is a difference between a genealogy and a family history .   A genealogy is a collection of names, dates, and places .  A family history includes the personal family stories that add interest to the genealogy . 

The often heard question for those beginning genealogy is “How do I begin ?”  

Start with yourself – work from the known to the unknown , gathering proof each step of the way.  Be objective and be organized.

There are several tools to get you started on your path to genealogy know how.  These include pedigree charts, family group sheets,  and basic organizational techniques. You will learn search techniques and will become familiar with genealogy databases.

Sign up for a beginner’s genealogy research class to learn how to be productive with a genealogy project.  Gaining knowledge from one or more experts will show you where to start and how to reduce your research time.

Learn what books and relevant maps to have in your library . Locate local libraries, genealogical and historical libraries . 

Collect family records , legal documents, census records , oral history stories , pictures , jewlery, pins, medals, ribbons, birth announcements , memorial cards , obituaries, holiday reminders and artifacts , scrapbooks and momentos .

Become excited, awestruck and filled with wonder as you increase your genealogy  knowledgeand build your family tree.  

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How Do I Trace My UK Family Tree?

I was doing some research on the web today when I chanced on this article. I think it is worth republishing here, as the advice it give is so good.

How Do I Trace My UK Family Tree? By Mike Roy

A question I am often asked is how do I trace my UK family tree?

Taking the journey into the unknown territory of the past can be a mixture of exhilaration and tedium. You will meet with misspelt names, birth dates that vary from one census to another, missing ancestors and be led down blind alleys. But when you finally meet up with that elusive ancestor the joy of success will spur you on with your research.

Like every good journey it starts with the first step, so buckle up your genealogical seat belt and Ill guide you through the first important stages.

First find any birth, marriage and death certificates, correspondence, insurance policies, ration books, etc. These will be of great help to you as you start your research. Anything that will give you details of your parents or grandparents. Gather up as much information as you can and jot it all down to start your tree. Lay the tree out as the youngest first and work back. You can download blank family tree charts on our site if you wish, then start completing your family tree as far back as you can.

Keep detailed notes on each person. You will thank yourself for this action when you find that you are retracing back and forth to verify information. I cant stress this enough, you must be sure that you have the correct records for your ancestor, not somebody else’s. It is quite an easy mistake to follow the wrong family back through the centuries as names can be similar and sometimes the same. I found that my great, great, great grandfather had a detail double, with the same name, the same year of birth and the same place of birth. It took 2 months of research into each one, retracing details back and forth to tie in the right man! I almost felt I could claim the other man as an ancestor, I knew him so well in the end!

Your initial aim is to collect enough verified information to take you back to 1911, at which point you can delve into the world of census records and begin to unlock the doors to your past. Within the census your ancestors will come alive for you.

Don’t worry if you cant find any certificates lurking in drawers or boxes, armed with only your parents names you may still be able to trace back through the years, although you will have to buy birth and marriage certificates. I managed to trace my family tree knowing only the names of my parents and their dates and places of their birth. I needed to buy my parents’ birth certificates so that I could find out their parents details, thus keeping the trail going.

To overcome this type of problem I recommend you sign up as a member of a genealogical website, and then start searching their records. My first search was my fathers name, date and place of birth the results showed all the possible matches with my dad at the top of the list. I clicked on the link and it took me to the registered GRO entry for his birth, which in turn gave me the index reference details:

  • Surname at birth
  • Forenames
  • Year
  • Qtr. (the year is broken into 4 quarters)
  • District
  • Vol.
  • Page

Every event of birth, marriage or death registered in England and Wales is allocated a reference by the General Register Office. Next I went to the GRO website (www.gro.gov.uk) and purchased my dads birth certificate. I repeated the same process for my mum.

By supplying the index reference the correct entry can be located by the GRO and the certificate will be sent to you. You can also purchase certificates from registration offices, but if you want to research online without having to travel miles then the internet is the way to go.

I sat back and waited for the post, it took about 7 days for the certificates to arrive. I opened them with anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed. I had in front of me the full details of my grandparents, their names, addresses and occupations. I used this information to find their marriage, which in turn gave me their fathers names and this was all I needed to take me back to the census records and from there fly back in time to meet my older ancestors.

This completes the first article on how to trace your family tree. I will be publishing further articles on how to use birth, marriage and death certificate information and how to use census records found online.

Articles Source: How Do I Trace My Uk Family Tree?

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Beginning Family History Book
Beginning Family History Book
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