TheGenealogist adds more Colour Tithe Maps for Buckinghamshire online

 

 

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 I was asked to put together an article on Buckinghamshire Tithe Maps this week as TheGenealogist has added more Colour Tithe Maps from The National Archives to their National Tithe Records collection. With this release researchers can see the plots owned or occupied by ancestors that lived in this ‘home county’ at the time of the survey in the 19th century on colour plans.

 

Colour Tithe map of Buckingham 1847
Colour Tithe map of Buckingham 1847

 

The new data includes:

  • Over 40,000 Plots of Land covering the years from 1837 to 1855 with some much later plans of altered apportionments
  • Joining the apportionment record books and the previously published grey-scale maps

These tagged colour maps and their fully searchable tithe schedule records are from those held at The National Archives. The collection gives the family history researcher the ability to search by name and keyword (for example parish or county) to look for all levels of society from large estate owners to occupiers of tiny plots such as a cottage or a cowshed.

 

Why not read my article written for TheGenealogist: Buckinghamshires-colour-tithe-maps-online-

 

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Can’t find the baptism?

I was reviewing a problem ancestor in my family tree this week and thought my notepad jottings may help others.

I am looking for a female ancestor who was born before the introduction of civil registration in 1837. According to every census, that she was enumerated within, her birth date was 1806, give or take a year. The place of birth remained consistent as Bigbury in Devon. The problem is that she does not appear in the Bigbury parish register for baptisms for 1806, nor for the years either side. There is someone with her Christian name in the registers, however by following this woman through to her marriage and death I have ruled her out.

 

This being the case I have to consider reasons why I can’t find my ancestor and so I noted down on a pad the scenarios that I needed to explore.

1. Was my ancestor disguising her age in the census to appear closer in years to her husband?   – If so I need to expand my search for her using a larger range of years.

2. Was her maiden surname different from what I had discovered from a transcript of her marriage? Perhaps the name I was searching for was from a previous marriage?  – To find this out I needed to see an image of the parish register and read whether it said Spinster or Widow at the time of her wedding.

3. Was she mistaken about being born in Bigbury? Perhaps she grew up there and assumed that it was where she had been born? – I needed to search the Bigbury parish register to see if any other family members with her surname were baptised, married or buried there.

4. Has the Bishop’s transcripts survived in the Diocesan Archive? – Sometimes entries may appear in the BTs that are missing from the actual parish register.

5. Was she from a non-conformist family and been baptised by a minister of another denomination other than the Established Church? – A search of the non-conformist registers may turn up my elusive ancestor, though not all of them were surrendered and so the collection at The National Archives is not complete. Some may be in the Devon Heritage Centre (County Record Office) while others are lost.

6. Could I find any siblings in the Bigbury area? – Searching first for baptisms, then marriages and burials. In this case I found her as a witness to a marriage of a woman with the same surname. Perhaps her sister, or a cousin. But it does establish a link to Bigbury.

7. Did she appear in anyone else’s published family tree? – Though they are notoriously inaccurate family trees that are published online may give you clues to go and research for yourself and confirm the accuracy of the information in the tree.

8. Does anyone seem to share the DNA with me from that area or from an ancestor with that surname? – Look for a distant cousin that has entered the information about their ancestors to a linked family tree on a family history DNA website.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start to breaking down a brick wall.

 

How far have I got? Not as far as I’d like, as so many other things have got in the way of my research this week!

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Over 650,000 criminal records added to TheGenealogist

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

I learnt quite a bit about black sheep ancestors this week while researching a convict who had served some time on a prison hulk anchored off Bermuda. My findings helped me to write the article for TheGenealogist at the end of this post.

The prisoner, that the story is about, had been convicted of his offence in England and then, being fit and healthy, was shipped out to the British territory to do back breaking quarrying and building work. He was housed on a convict-hulk and put to work in the construction of the Royal Navy’s dockyard on the island. After completing his sentence he was then allowed back to England. But he got into trouble again and was sentenced to a further period of Transportation for seven years. (To find out where he ended up you will have to read the article – it is probably not where you may expect him to be sent.)

I learnt from my research that many of our convict ancestors, who were sent to Australia, were never permitted to return – while those sent to the hulks at Bermuda were able to come home as long as they served the full sentence. The convicts on the hulks at Bermuda could, however, opt for a reduced sentence if they chose to go to Australia or South Africa. What they could not do is stay in Bermuda after their sentence and the option for South Africa, it seems, was not really available as when they got there they were refused entry and had to go on to Australia!

 

 

Here is the Press Release from TheGenealogist and the article link:
TheGenealogist logo
TheGenealogist has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 documents to their Court & Criminal Records collection. With this release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.

Prisoners on the hulks from The Illustrated London News on TheGenealogist
Prisoners on the hulks from The Illustrated London News on TheGenealogist

The new data includes:

  • 651,369 Records covering the years 1824 to 1854
  • Quarterly returns from Convict Hulks, Convict Prisons and Criminal Lunatic Asylums

 

These fully searchable records are from the The Home Office: Sworn lists of convicts on board the convict hulks and in the convict prisons (HO 8). They give the family history researcher fascinating facts that include the particulars of age, convictions, sentences, health and behaviour of the convict, as well as which court sentenced them and where they were serving their sentence.

Read TheGenealogist’s article “Criminal records of convicts on the Hulks” at:

https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2018/criminal-records-of-convicts-on-the-hulks-739/

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This week’s brick walls busted!

 

Break Down Your Family History Brick Walls

 

This week I managed to knock down a couple of family history brick walls by keeping an open mind while doing the research.

The successful outcome that I want to write about here was with a General Register Office index. I had been at a loss as to why I couldn’t find the relevant entry for a birth. Very often by using more than just the one website, the difference in transcriptions between them can often allow you a breakthrough. Having used a number of the main subscription websites, however, I had still not found a likely candidate for the elusive person that I was researching.

I metaphorically took a step back and defocused from the narrow search that I was doing for the correct spelling of the person. I looked at the surname and thought: How could this be misspelled by a busy official?

 

 

For example Whitman could have been recorded as Witman, Wetman or a host of other spellings. Or the surname Perkin may have been entered with the more common name of Perkins – as I found out while researching someone for an up and coming article of mine. In the case I was looking for to trace a client’s family tree back a further generation, I had a surname which should have ended with a last letter of an ‘n’ but had been recorded with an ‘m’ at the end.

In both cases the transcription on the relevant websites could be said to have been correct as it faithfully reproduced what was to be found on the GRO Index page. In both cases the page from the index had been in handwriting, but I have also seen typographical errors in those that have been typed.

The errors that had momentarily thrown me had been made in the registration process, either when the name had been mistakenly taken down by the local registrar at the time, or when it had been copied at the General Register Office into the official quarterly list.

By thinking about how a spelling mistake could be hiding our lost ancestors, sometimes the answer jumps out at us!

 

Example of a GRO Index. Crown copyright

The lesson is to think laterally and not get hung up on a narrow thought process that says that this is how it should be written!

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If you’d like to find out more about how to tease out your elusive English or Welsh ancestors then CLICK this link: www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com/course

 

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