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Oct 7 17

TheGenealogist Expands their Parish Record collection with the addition of 2.2 million individuals for Somerset & Dorset

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist logo

 

TheGenealogist has released Baptism records for Somerset covering the years 1538 – 1996, along with Burial and Crematorium records for Somerset & Dorset covering 1563 – 2003. In association with Somerset & Dorset FHS, these new records cover hundreds of parishes for the counties.

Somerset and Dorset Family History Society worked with TheGenealogist to publish their records online, making over 2.2 million individuals from baptism and burial records fully searchable. Ann-Marie Wilkinson, the Chair of Somerset and Dorset FHS said:

“The Somerset & Dorset Family History Society are very pleased to be working with TheGenealogist to bring these records into the online community. Also we will be able to provide access for members to TheGenealogist from our Research Centre.”

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Development at TheGenealogist, welcomed Somerset and Dorset FHS to the growing number of family history societies on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online, saying:

We’re delighted that Somerset and Dorset FHS chose to publish their records through TheGenealogist and FHS-Online. This release adds to the ever expanding collection of parish records on both websites. These partnerships help societies boost their funds whilst bringing their records to a much wider audience, through online publication.”

This release joins TheGenealogist’s Somerset and Dorset collection including Bishop’s Transcripts and parish records for many areas and years to form a major resource for the county.

If your society is interested in publishing records online, please contact Mark Bayley on 01722 717002 or see fhs-online.co.uk/about.php

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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Oct 1 17

I learn something from every visit to The National Archives

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

The National Archives

I’m just back from a flying visit to The National Archives at Kew.

Every time I visit TNA I get something out of it and today was no exception! I discovered the delights of records that are not available anywhere else to search.

I went along to research several different lines of enquiries, one of which was for an ancestor of mine who had given his profession on his son’s baptism as ‘tide waiter’. This is a type of customs officer who waits for the ships that come in on the tide and then checks them for contraband or goods that are subject to duty. He was in one of the census as a Customs Officer and has appeared as this in some family notes I received from a distant cousin.

My initial research using the Discovery search engine on www.nationalarchives.gov.uk had me confused. A few minutes with the help desk staff on the first floor reading room, however, pointed me towards the microfilms of the CUST 39/3 that are the records for the establishment at the different ports – basically the Staff Lists with details of staff employed by the Board of Customs.

I was able to spool forward to Plymouth, where my man was based and where in the 1851 census he was recorded as a Customs house officer. So if he had been a tidewater then his name would have been entered into the list of the Plymouth establishment. Alas, he was nowhere to be found which backs up my developing theory that he was an ‘Extra Gent’ (not on the establishment) customs officer and that he, or someone else, may have exaggerated a bit on his son’s baptismal record!

 

Ordering up the Customs Books at TNA

Ordering up the Customs Books at TNA

 

I then ordered up some Customs minutes books (CUST 28/199) and looked at any mention of Plymouth and names of Customs officers there. What I came away with was a much better understanding of the records and how,  if you are lucky enough to find your ancestor mentioned you can build a fair bit of colour to your family story. This would especially be true if your Customs Officer got himself into trouble. One of the original 1850s ledgers that I was able to thumb through was the Outport Records: Charges against Officers (CUST 66/217).

 

Customs officers' charge book

Charge Book

 

I didn’t find my ancestor mentioned in the book, but for those researchers who are able to find a forebear then it will be of great interest to them. The thick leather bound books with heavy bluish paper provide a fascinating insight into the discipline proceedings. The various cases are often recorded on the page verbatim. You can thus read the question asked by the Surveyor of the man before him and the answers given by the accused Tide Waiter. At the end you will find the verdict of whether the Customs Officer was to loose his job or not. All of which is written in the neat handwriting of a clerk from 167 years ago.

None of these records are digitized and so it is another example of why a visit to TNA can allow you to get to see records that just aren’t available elsewhere. So while I do a lot of my research online I always enjoy getting out to The National Archives, or a County Record Office, every now and again to delve into those records that are in their safekeeping but not digitized.

 

 

 

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Sep 23 17

Sunday 24 September 2017: The Family History Show – London

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

New Family History Show for the London area

 

This Sunday, 24th September 2017 sees the first Family History Show  – London and I am off to see what it is like!

The Family History Show - London at Sandown Park

Organised by Discover Your Ancestors Magazine (to whom I am a regular contributor of articles to) it should be great as they are the same people behind the ever successful event up in York. Based on the format of The Family History Show, York it is being held at Sandown Park Racecourse between 10 am and 4:30 and is very affordable to get in to. There is plenty of free parking on site with allocated disabled spaces as well.

Unfortunately for those coming by train, due to engineering work, Esher Train Station will be closed on the day of the show. Surbiton Train Station, however, is just a 15 minute taxi ride from Sandown Racecourse. Alternatively, the K3 bus from Surbiton Train Station will take you to Esher High Street, the race course is just a few minutes’ walk up the High Street.

 

I went to the York event back in June. Watch this video of this year’s York event to get a taster of what is to come down South!

 

Free Talks throughout the day

 

10:00 Show Opening with Caliban’s Dream, Medieval Musicians

11:00 Breaking Down Brick Walls In Your Family History Research Mark Bayley, Online Expert 
Resolve stumbling blocks in your family history research using innovative search strategies and unique record sets to find those missing relatives.

12:00 Tracing Your Military Ancestors Chris Baker, Military Expert & Professional Researcher 
Chris draws on his experience from researching thousands of soldiers to explore what can be found when looking for a military ancestor.

13:00 Breaking Down Brick Walls In Your Family History Research Mark Bayley, Online Expert

14:00 Tips & Tricks for Online Research Keith Gregson, Professional Researcher & Social Historian
Keith shares top tips & techniques for finding elusive ancestors, illustrated by some fascinating case studies.

15:00 Breaking Down Brick Walls In Your Family History Research Mark Bayley, Online Expert

 

Read more at: http://thefamilyhistoryshow.com/

York Family History Fair

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Sep 17 17

TheGenealogist adds over 1.1 million records to their Sussex Parish Record Collection

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist at the end of which you will find a link to a useful article which I wrote for them about what you can find in these new records.

 

TheGenealogist has added over 1.1 million individuals to its parish record collection covering the county of Sussex. Published In association with The Parish Record Transcription Society, this first tranche of records will be followed by more releases in the near future.

This New release covers individual records of:

  • 717,000 Baptisms

  • 213,000 Marriages

  • 208,000 Burials

The Parish Record Transcription Society (PRTSoc) have worked with TheGenealogist and S&N to publish their records online, making over 1.1 million individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records fully searchable:

“We are very pleased to be working with TheGenealogist on this major project, previously undertaken to transcribe the parish registers of West Sussex by the staff and dedicated volunteers of the PRTSoc. This will preserve these records for future generations and brings them into the online community.” Peter Steward, Chairman of PRTSoc

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Development at TheGenealogist, welcomed PRTSoc to the growing number family history societies on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online saying: “We’re delighted that PRTSoc chose to publish their records through TheGenealogist and FHS-Online. This release adds to the ever expanding collection of parish records on both websites. These partnerships help fund societies whilst bringing their records to a much wider audience, through online publication.”

This release joins TheGenealogist’s Sussex collection including parish records to form a major resource for the county.

You can read an article that I wrote for them here: New Sussex parish records reveal a grizzly end

If your society is interested in publishing records online, please contact Mark Bayley on 01722 717002 or see fhs-online.co.uk/about.php

 

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

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Sep 10 17

Beware of those family history stories!

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

Manuscript This week I was researching a case-study to write for a magazine and I came across a local newspaper article that spun a fabulous story about my subject.

I had already traced my man in many of the online records and so I had the basis of my own piece planned and was just doing the usual Google search to see what else was out there.

The story the newspaper had was that the man had put his mother into the workhouse when his father had died. As if that was not extreme enough, he was alleged to have never spoken to her again!

The trouble with this story was that I had already found the death record of the mother two years before the demise of her husband and thus making it an impossible yarn! What was more – the nonconformist minister had very obligingly annotated the entry to supply extra information about the death that I could reveal in my own article. A sad and very different story that I can’t reveal here as its reserved for the advertorial when that comes out around November.

Stoneywell typewriter

 

I once had a client who had been told as a boy that his relative had ‘fallen from his horse’ to his death. This turned out to be a cover for his ancestor dying young in an asylum, something which I uncovered by finding the death index record and then buying the death certificate.

 

Another client asked me to find their great grandfather; who had been an eminent medical man in his time. They knew a fair bit about him, from family stories, but they were actually a generation astray.  When I turned to the actual records I could find that the famous man was not their grandmother’s father at all, but was actually their 2x great grandfather.

 

The moral of these tales are that while you should listen to family stories, you shouldn’t believe everything that you are told and always seek to verify the facts in the records. If possible go to the primary records such as the birth, marriage and death certificates, or the church registers. But always remember that even in these sources convenient white lies may lurk there to throw you off the scent!

People make up stories, sometimes it is to hide something that may have been shocking to our ancestors at the time. The innocent story gets retold and embellished and morphs into something different and gets told over again. Not all these tales will end up being published in the newspapers, but some will, like the mother who was reputed to have been put in the workhouse and forgotten.

There is a saying that ‘you shouldn’t believe all that you read in the newspapers’ – but despite this sage advice a lot of us do just that! We should also keep a healthy dose of scepticism when listening to family accounts. While we should definitely listen to the stories that our elders tell, it is best to check out the details to see if the records back up the story before attaching it to the family tree.

 

I deal with this topic further in my course on English & Welsh family history available online at:

https://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/course

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Sep 3 17

Vaccination records reveal English ancestors

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist
Devon Family History Society's Tree House

Devon Family History Society’s Tree House

 

When it proves impossible to find your ancestors in all the usual records online what do you then do?

Declare that you have a brick wall and give up… or think laterally and turn to other records?

I had a problem with researching an ancestor and the answer came from turning to look for collateral lines (brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles) and using one of the lesser known record sets. In this particular case I had to go offline as the record set had not been digitized by any of the main subscription sites.

It is worth remembering that not everything is online, as some of the smaller data sets don’t get used sufficiently by family history researchers to warrant a commercial company buying the rights to put them on the internet.

In this case it was the Dartmouth, Devon Vaccinations Register 1875-1876 that is in the South West Heritage Trust Devon Archive Catalogue that helped me back on track. The register provided me with valuable information that an ancestor’s sister was born on the 1st January 1876 at Smith Street in Dartmouth, gave me her name, Elsie Lilian and her father’s name and occupation together with the date that she had been vaccinated.

I could have gone in person to the South West Heritage centre in Exeter to find this lead but in fact I reached it by making use of a Family History Society’s look up service. Devon FHS have a database of names that appear in the transcriptions that they have for sale and so it was this that alerted me to the entry.

If you are looking for your own ancestors in these registers you can normally find them at the County Record Office for where your ancestor lived (such as the South West Heritage centre in Exeter for Devon in my case) or some copies are at The National Archives in among the Poor Law Commissioners Poor Law Board and Board of Guardians correspondence.

 

Devon County Record Office

South West Heritage Centre in Exeter, Devon (County Record Office)

The Vaccination Act of 1840 made it law that free vaccination against smallpox was to be available to the public and paid for by the poor rates. It was not until the Vaccination Act of 1853, however, that vaccination was made compulsory for children and it then became the responsibility of the poor law guardians to ensure that all infants in their area were vaccinated within four months of birth. While the law stipulated this should happen it failed to give the guardians any powers of enforcement and so they had no means of ensuring that all children were vaccinated. By 1867, however, this was changed and the Guardians were given the right to prosecute parents for non-compliance where parents could be fined and even sent to prison if the fines were not paid.

Guardians were obliged to keep registers of vaccinations and in 1871, they were also required to appoint vaccination officers for their poor law union. The task of ensuring compliance was made easier in 1874 when birth registration was made compulsory and the onus of birth registration being put on parents where as before it was on the registrar.

 

The point to take away here is that when an ancestor can not be found in the records, don’t lose heart. There is always the possibility that their footprints through life will emerge in some other smaller set that you have yet to use.

Keep your eyes open and keep searching, even if you have to come back to them much later on. And take time to learn what other record sets may be available for your ancestors’ county.

 

Good luck in your research this week!

 

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Aug 27 17

Half a million Criminal Records added to TheGenealogist’s Court & Criminal collection

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

IPrison Hulk RecordsI have spent some fascinating hours this last week searching in a set of new British family history records before they got released. As part of my business relationship with TheGenealogist I write family history articles for them and so I was commissioned to put one together on the new criminal records that were joining those already on their site. This will be of interest to those of you searching for black sheep ancestors in your English family tree. To see what I found when let loose in the records follow the link to the article at the end of this post!

 

Here is the Press Release from the team at TheGenealogist (Disclosure: contains my affiliate links.)…

 

TheGenealogist has enlarged its Court & Criminal Records collection so that even more black sheep ancestors can now be searched for and found on its site. With a new release of records you can unearth all sorts of ancestors who came up against the law – whether they were a victim, acquitted, convicted of a minor offence or found guilty of a major crime such as murder.

These fully searchable records cover HO77 – The Home Office: Criminal Registers, England and Wales and ADM 6 – The Registers of Convicts in Prison Hulks Cumberland, Dolphin and Ganymede with indexes from The National Archives.

  • Uniquely this release allows you the ability to search for victims of the crime (Over 132,000)
  • Hunt for people using their name or alias, or look for an offence
  • See images of the pages from the books and registers that reveal even more fascinating information about the individual

As these records cover a vast range of transgressions we are able to find men and women who stole small items such as shirts, potatoes, boots etc. We can also discover people who had married bigamously, forged money, uttered a counterfeit half-crown, burgled, murdered or were accused of many more other crimes. One example of a number of unusual offences found in TheGenealogist’s new release, is that of Christian Crane, tried in February 1811 – ‘Being a person of evil fame and a reputed thief’ was adjudged to be ‘a rogue and vagabond’.

These records, joining those already available within TheGenealogist’s Court & Criminal collection, will reveal the sentence of the court handed out to our ancestors. Judgements can be seen to vary massively from a fine, a short imprisonment in Newgate, a public whipping, a longer spell inside, or the ultimate sanction of death.

Newgate Prison

Other ancestors were sentenced to be ‘transported beyond the seas’ and TheGenealogist already has many registers of convicts sent to Australia between 1787 and 1867. Joining them in this new release are the ADM 6 records for convicts who were waiting to begin their voyage to the penal colonies in Australia and were locked up on a number of Prison Hulks.

You can search for your lawless ancestor at www.thegenealogist.co.uk

Or see the article I wrote for them after I was able to do some research in the new records:
https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles

 

 

 

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Aug 20 17

Tip for those new to researching for British Ancestors

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

When you first start doing Family history research for British ancestors, It may appear to you to be a quite daunting task. There will be probably be frustration and elation often mixed in equal parts as you find a forebear and then lose trace of them again. There are so many avenues for you to go down and so many records to look at in Britain which means that, given time, you can probably get back on track and those ancestors that disappear may reappear later. Not being able to find a person can be the result of many things. The ancestor may just be hidden within the database because somebody has lost the record, or it has been damaged, or simply your ancestor’s details were mis-entered in the first place.

The best bit of advice that I can pass on is some that was given to me a number of years back. It is a recommendation that can be applied to any task, really.

“Tackle the subject of researching for your British ancestry by taking it in small bites at a time.”

Perhaps the first tools to use are:

  • Birth Certificates – these can provide you with parent’s names of an ancestor
  • Marriage Certificates  that give you the father’s names for both parties
  • Census records which, as well as other information, furnish you with the birth places of ancestors and their ages
  • Parish Registers which will, with luck, supply a track for you to follow of baptisms, marriages and burials for your family.

In truth, all of the above records should be used together so that you can corroborate the details. A census may give you a place of birth different from the actual place found on the Birth Certificate because your ancestor, for some reason best known to themselves, wanted to claim a different place of birth from the actual town where they were born. Ages in census may have been given wrongly for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that some did not really know!

It is vital to start your family tree research from the latest provable fact. This could be your parent’s details, your grandparent’s or perhaps your own birth certificate.

Now I realise that people that have been adopted, or for some other reason are not aware of their biological parent’s names or details will struggle with this. There is an article republished in the resources section of my website that can help you if you are in this position. Take a look at: Finding biological parents

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Aug 12 17

TheGenealogist releases 650,000 additional Parish Records for Nottinghamshire

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

TheGenealogist logo

 

TheGenealogist has extended its UK Parish Records collection with a new and exclusive release of 650,000 parish records for Nottinghamshire.  These records can be used to find your ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials in these fully searchable records that cover parishes from this important East Midland county of England. With records that reach back to 1633, this release includes the records of 56 parishes, including:

369,100 individuals in Baptisms, 168,000 individuals in Marriages and 112,800 individuals in Burials

 

You can use these transcripts to find the names of ancestors, parents’ forenames (in the case of baptisms), father’s occupation (where noted), abode or parish, parish that the event took place in, the date of the event, and in the case of marriage records the bride’s maiden name and the witnesses’ names.

Lord Byron

Amongst the notable Nottinghamshire people that can be found in these records are the infamous Lord Byron and his brilliant mathematician daughter Ada, Countess of Lovelace. Both are buried in the parish of Hucknal Torkard. As well as nobility, in this collection we also come across the baptism of Amos Hind. He was famous for playing First Class Cricket for the neighbouring county of Derbyshire between 1876 and 1877. Amos died aged 82 in 1931.

 

These additions brings their Nottinghamshire parish record collection to over 919,800 records.To search these records and many more see TheGenealogist.co.uk

 

Read their article: http://www.thegenealogist.com/featuredarticles/2017/a-poet-a-mathematician-and-a-first-class-cricketer-596/

 

Parishes covered in this release are:

 

  • Awsworth
  • Arnold
  • Awsworth
  • Balderton
  • Barnby in the Willows
  • Barton in Fabis
  • Beeston
  • Bilsthorpe
  • Bingham
  • Blidworth
  • Bole
  • Burton Joyce
  • Calverton
  • Car Colston
  • Coddington
  • Cottam
  • Cromwell
  • Dunham
  • Eakring
  • East Bridgford
  • East Drayton
  • East Retford
  • Egmanton
  • Elston
  • Elton
  • Epperstone
  • Everton
  • Farnsfield
  • Flawborough
  • Fledborough
  • Flintham
  • Gamston
  • Gotham
  • Greasley
  • Grove
  • Hucknall Torkard
  • Kneesall
  • Kneeton
  • Laneham
  • Laxton
  • Lowdham
  • North Collingham
  • Orston
  • Owthorpe
  • Papplewick
  • Perlethorpe
  • Radford
  • Ratcliffe on Soar
  • Rolleston
  • Scarrington
  • Selston
  • Shelford
  • Skegby
  • Stapleford
  • West Bridgford
  • Woodborough
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Aug 6 17

Family History rather than Genealogy?

by Nick Thorne, The Nosey Genealogist

 

Old Leamington Spa

I love researching my family history – rather than just doing genealogy. If you have got the  bug that makes you want to find out who your ancestors were, then you may feel the same.

A list of names and dates, on a family tree, is a great start – but don’t you just want to know what their story was and where exactly they lived?

Whenever I find myself in a place that I have some sort of ancestral tie to I can’t help but wonder what it was like in their day.

It is often the way for me, as I visit a town I mentally scan my family tree to see if any of my ancestors ever lived there. If I recall that one or more did then I get the itch to go and see where it was that they actually lived. This is even if the street bears no resemblance to how it looked in their day, perhaps as a result of having been redeveloped in the years since. I still, however, get a kick from walking in their footsteps and I wonder how many of you can relate to this? It is probably the reason that genealogical tourism is becoming so popular.

 

Recently I had a very pleasant lunch with some cousins in Leamington Spa. While they went off to look around the shops I hightailed-it to the Leamington library that is situated, along with a museum, in what had once been the Royal Pump Rooms. I wanted to take advantage of the library’s Local History section and see if I could come up with an answer to a question that had been left open in my research for some time.

Where did my great-great grandparents live in the middle 1830s period when they stayed in this English Spa town?

 

With my Leamington ancestors I am lucky enough to know that while they lived here they had one of my great-granduncles baptised in 1836 at All Saint’s Church, just across the road from the Royal Pump Rooms and next to the River Leam. From other research that I had already done it appeared that they were of the ‘middling sort’, possibly deriving their income from ownership of part of a thriving business in Scotland.

The census collections are no good to me in this investigation of where they lived in 1835 as, by the time of 1841 and the taking of first count that is of any use to family historians, the family had moved on!

Now, with an hour or so to spare in Leamington Spa, I was able to search the General Arrivals and Departures of people in the Leamington Spa Courier for 1835. This newspaper is available to search online at the British Newspaper Archive but I was using the Library’s microfilm copy on this occasion. With luck I came across my ancestor fairly quickly when I found that on Saturday December 5th 1835 the family arrived in Leamington and were staying at 41 Grove Street.

With the clock ticking down, for when I had to rejoin my cousins at the end of their shopping session, I quickly found the library assistant and asked how far away Grove Street was. Another bit of luck was that it was in easy walking distance and not that far at all. Using a helpful handy map, that the assistant provided, I marched off to see if the road resembled the street of my ancestors time, or whether it had been rebuilt over the years.

When you go searching for your own ancestors homes it is worth understanding a bit about the social history and geography of their towns or villages. What was the industry and what pressures made the developer build the streets as they did? In Leamington it had been the popularity of the waters and the town establishing itself as a Spa.

 

My ancestors came from a mixture of classes including the working class. Those of my forbears who fell into the poorer categories would have, in this period, lived in terraced houses with an outside privy if they were lucky and in court housing if they were unfortunate. My Leamington Spa family, I assumed, had some money behind them and so I expected to find that they were putting up at a reasonably smart residence.

What I saw was, at first, encouraging. As I turned the corner I was presented with a pleasant row of Georgian villas on one side of the street and I thought that these matched my expectations. A stroll up the street revealed a development of red brick late Victorian or possibly Edwardian houses of two stories with slate roofs and further still a modern Fire station.

Consulting my notes I saw that I was seeking number 41 and began looking at the numbers on the Georgian side of the street. With dismay I found that 41 was missing and turning to the other side of the road I could see that it adorned one of the redbrick terrace houses. My gut feeling was, however, that these properties were from a later period than Georgian. (In truth this period was at the end of short reign of William IV from 1830 to 1837, the last of the Hanoverian Kings before the reign of Victoria. It is still, however, considered by some to be the Georgian period.)

On returning home I hit the internet and began researching the development of Leamington in that time. I found several pages that told me about the history of the town and in particular the Historic England website which has a handy search tool to find listed buildings in England.

 

I didn’t find the actual house in their database but one further down the road. This had the helpful historical information that ‘Grove Street was laid out in 1828, the west side and lower part of the east side were built by 1834’.

So the villas were new houses at the time that my ancestors moved in.

I went on to find several pdfs online about the conservation of the area and discovered that my intuition was right when I assumed that the redbrick houses were later 19th century. I read that there was ‘some Edwardian infill on the East side of the street’ built on land that had once been the garden of a large house belonging to Dr Jephson.

Now I knew that there hadn’t been a 41 on the east side of the road when my great-great grandparents moved in as this had been a garden. It lead me to suppose that the houses in the road had been re-numbered at some stage! While I may never be able to pinpoint which property had been theirs at least I had an inkling of the type of residence that they inhabited.

 

So when you come to look for your own ancestor’s houses, whether on foot or via the Google street view, be aware that the houses may well have been renumbered such as this example below of another of my ancestors, this time in Plymouth, Devon. In this case it retains its old number in the widow light and has its new number screwed above the door.

I wish all were as helpful!

 

 

Have you checked out my English/Welsh family history course? I still have some great special offers running.

https://www.familyhistoryresearcher.com/course

 

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