Help Me To Get Back Before 1837 In English & Welsh Genealogy

A great many people who are researching their forebears from the British Isles, discover that there is a massive amount of family history information on the internet for the years going back as far as 1837 in England & Wales. Then, as I pointed out before in a previous article of mine about tracing an English family tree before 1837, it would seem to become more difficult for us researchers. What is the significance or the year 1837? This is the date when civil registration started in England & Wales. The state took over from the established church the registering of all the citizen’s vital records.

You may have been amazed at the ease you had finding later records of your ancestors on the subscription websites like Ancestry, or TheGenealogist.co.uk, but then as you go back before the census records and the government run data for Births, Deaths and Marriages, you will have found that only a small number of all the genealogical records, that there actually are, have made it on to the net.

Parish Records can usually be found in the County Record office, or in a few cases the incumbent minister may still have retained them at the parish church. How do you decide which parish your ancestors would have fallen into? This is the value of getting hold of Parish maps for the relevant counties that you are researching. These maps will not only show the boundaries of each parish, but also those of the adjacent parishes, which can be extremely useful for tracking those ancestors who tended to move about!

Gaps can occur in the parish registers because of changes in regime, such as the English Civil War. Yet another political reason for missing parish records is the effect a tax can have on them. An example of this was that in 1783 a stamp duty of 3 pence on every entry in the parish registers was imposed by the government of the day – although paupers were exempt. As with all taxes people seek ways to evade them and so, with the collusion of many church ministers, you will discover that there is a decline in the number of middle and working class entries of baptisms, marriages and burials. In contrast there is a corresponding increase in the number of pauper’s entries! The Act was repealed in 1794, having been found to be largely unsuccessful.

An Act of Parliament, in 1812, required baptisms, marriages and burials to be entered in separate and specially printed books. These books provided for only eight entries per page and required more information to be gathered on the individuals than had been the common practice.

Baptismal entries now included the Father’s occupation and the Mother’s maiden name. Marriages, henceforth, included the parish of origin of both parties, their names, if they were a bachelor, spinster, widow, etc., their ages, the parties signatures or marks, and also those of two witnesses.

Entries for burials now included the age, occupation and abode of the departed and between 1678 and 1814 an affidavit had to be sworn that the deceased was buried in wool to help the economy or a fine of £5 was payable.

Marriages could have been solemnised in the Church either by banns, or by licence. Family historians, searching for their ancestors, will find that banns are recorded in the parish register. The reading of bans was the process where the couple’s intention to marry would be read out on three occasions in the parish churches of both parties. So if you know the place where the bride-groom lived, just prior to his marriage, this record will also give you the information as to the parish of his bride. Normally the wedding is likely to take place a few weeks later and so this gives you a time period to search. Marriage Licences themselves will probably not have survived the years as they were sometimes handed to the couple intending to marry. But fear not, because a search can be made for the marriage licence’s bond, or allegation. This is a document that can give up some useful information for family historians as names of those who stood surety, along with the names of the bride and groom, place of marriage and in some cases the occupations of the sureties and groom are recorded.

These are just some of the documents that you can use to help you get your family tree back beyond 1837 in England & Wales.

Send to Kindle

Getting Back Before 1837 In An English or Welsh Family Tree

Online-Old-Parish-RecordsThere is a large amount of information for family history researchers, tracing their English or Welsh family tree, for the years as far back as 1837 on the web and then nothing! I know that many people, that are researching their Family tree for ancestors from the British Isles, find that they have this problem. As I wrote about, in a previous article on tracing and English family tree before 1837, it seems to become harder for us. 1837 is when civil registration started in England & Wales and the state took over from the established church the registering the citizen’s vital records.

You possibly have been amazed at the ease you had finding those later records of your forebears by using the usual subscription websites. For example the likes of ancestry, or TheGenealogist.co.uk for these dates. Then, however, when you come to trying to get back well before the census records and the government run Births, Deaths and Marriages data, you’ll no doubt have found that it is only a very small number of the total genealogical records, that there are, will have actually make it on to the internet.

So you need to go looking for the old Parish Records and they are usually to be found securely in the relevant County Record office. In a very few cases, however, the incumbent minister of the parish may still have kept hold of them at the parish church. A problem that you need to address from the outset is how do you decide which parish your ancestors would have fallen into? This leads me on to the value of getting hold of Parish maps for the counties that your ancestors lived in. The maps will be of use in not only showing the boundaries of each parish, but also in giving you those of the adjacent parishes as well. Think how useful this may be for tracking those ancestors who tended to move about somewhat!

Gaps can occur in the parish registers because of changes in political regime. One such important example is the English Civil War. Think also about how the politics of raising a tax can be a reason for missing parish records. An example of this was that in 1783 a stamp duty of 3 pence on every entry in the parish registers was imposed by the government of the day on its citizens – although an exemption was if a person was a pauper. As with all taxes people seek ways to evade them and so you won’t be surprised that your ancestors did this as well. What is more they did it with the collusion of many church ministers! You will discover that there is a decline in the number of middle and working class entries of baptisms, marriages and burials at this time. On the other hand there is a corresponding increase in the number of pauper’s entries! The Act, itself, was repealed in 1794 as it had been found to be largely unsuccessful in its aim.

Another Act of Parliament (Rose’s Act) in 1812, required baptisms, marriages and burials to be entered in separate and specially printed books. These books provided for only eight entries per page and required more information to be gathered on the individuals than had been the common practice.

Baptismal entries now had to include the occupation of the child’s Father and the Mother’s maiden name. Marriages, from now on, included the parish of origin of both parties to the wedding, also recorded were their names, if they were a bachelor, spinster, widow, etc., their ages, the parties signatures or marks, and also the marks or signatures of two witnesses.

Entries for burials now included the age, occupation and abode of the departed and between 1678 and 1814 an affidavit had to be sworn that the deceased was buried in wool to help the economy or a fine of £5 was payable.

When looking for marriages you should be aware that they can be solemnised in the Church either by banns, or by licence. Family historians, searching for ancestors will find that banns are recorded in the parish register. The reading of banns is the process where the couple’s intention to marry would be read out on three occasions in the parish churches of both parties and it is this which is recorded for us to find. So if you know the place where the bride-groom lived just prior to his marriage, this record will also give you the information as to the parish of his bride. Normally the wedding is likely to take place a few weeks later and so this gives you a time period to search. Marriage Licences themselves will probably not have survived the years as they were sometimes handed to the couple intending to marry. But fear not, because a search can be made for the marriage licence’s bond, or allegation. This is a document that can give up some useful information for family historians as names of those who stood surety, along with the names of the bride and groom, place of marriage and in some cases the occupations of the sureties and groom are recorded.

These are just some of the documents that you can use to help you get your family tree back beyond 1837 in England & Wales. I have released a useful Audio CD on the subject called Getting Back Before 1837 in England & Wales, have a look at the page on my main website http://www.NoseyGenealogist.com

Send to Kindle

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE is coming soon.

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE Olympia 2008

Its getting close to that time of the year again! I mean when the Who Do You Think You are? LIVE comes to London. If you have followed me for any time then you will know how much I enjoy this show for the chance to see lots of fellow minded family historians all gathered in one place.

This year the management has changed as BBC Magazines Bristol has bought a majority share in the UK’s largest family history event.

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE was first brought to us back in 2007 by Brand Events, the consumer event specialists, and  the television production company, Wall To Wall ( a Shed Media company) who were responsible for the highly successful TV programme: Who Do You Think You Are? The annual genealogical event is staged at London’s Olympia and last year attracted over 14,000 visitors including me!

So who are the new organizers? Well BBC Magazines Bristol is an award-winning specialist interest arm of BBC Magazines. They are the publishers of the “Who Do You Think You Are?” Magazine and together with Wall To Wall will run the event. Brand Events will be acting as consultants for the 2011 event, so they have not bowed out completely.

Andy Healy, Show Director of Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE and Publisher of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to further help genealogists, from beginners to experts, delve deeper into their own stories. The event has been so successful over the past four years, it’s incredibly exciting to be taking it on at such a buoyant time for this industry.”

Claire Hungate, Commercial Director of the Shed Media Group, commented: “Brand Events have done an amazing job of launching the show and establishing it as the biggest genealogy event in the UK and we very much look forward to building on that success and further developing the show’s reach with BBC Magazines Bristol.”

I’m looking forward to attending the event and maybe catch up with some of you there?

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE Olympia 2008
Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE Olympia
Send to Kindle

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?

ADVERTISEMENT: If you are starting out tracing your UK Family Tree then you may be interested in this downloadable book. Click the image for more information.

Beginning Family History Book
Beginning Family History Book
Send to Kindle

The On-line Family History Researcher

Researching into our ancestry on the Internet is becoming one of the most popular pastimes in the 21st century with more people every day beginning family history research on-line. It wasn’t that very long ago that a person who wanted to trace their family tree, would need to make various visits to many libraries, record offices and the family history centres for the areas their forebears came from. Nowadays, except for the serious genealogist for whom this will still be an important part of family research, the amazing increase in genealogical websites with databases that we can search easily, has made it simple to carry out most of the slog researching our forbears from our computers. ranging from the average family historian, aiming to locate some difficult to find ancestor, to the professional genealogist carrying out a commission for a client, the data sets such as those provided at www ancestry.com or ancestry. co.uk and a whole lot of other websites have made things  easier and better for us. The sheer amount of data and other information that is already made available is being supplemented even as I write this with all sorts of new releases of old records and indexes. There are sites offering us access to the census collections, parish registers  and other church records, transcripts of tomb stones and other monumental plaques, BMD sites providing data on births, marriages and deaths, various family history societies, websites selling old maps, genealogical resources such as parish registers, old town or trade directories and so on.

In the United Kingdom the1841 census records data will be the earliest that will be encountered on-line. Today sets of census data are available to search on the web right up to the census of 1911. Census information can be found on a number of commercial sites, the majority of which necessitate an individual to pay-as-you-go, or simply to obtain a subscription of some kind. You will commonly have the ability to lookup transcripts and after that pay to view actual images, of enumerator’s books, for the different censuses undertaken every decade between 1841 and the 1901 census. Recently, the 1911 census for England and Wales went on line sooner than the normal one hundred years before release. This is under a Freedom of Information judgement, but the delicate data as to the mental state of  individuals have been blacked out. The different feature of this collection is that, for the very first time that, we can view an image from the household’s return, not merely the enumerator’s book and thus can see our ancestor’s handwriting.

The provision of the various kinds of family history information, on the Internet, has encouraged an ever-growing number of individuals to make a foray into the arena of genealogy on-line resources. Most want to discover who their own forefathers had been and the things they did. A good number of folks have been prompted to start looking for themselves after the popularity of the BBC’s tv series called: Who do you think your are?

They might be motivated because of the many books about the topic, the different magazines on the newsagent’s racks as well as the genealogy and family history events, such as the annual show in Olympia and a host of others organised up and down the land all year round. But although some research will be effortless, a good few of our forebears are frustratingly tough to find and so frequently a beginner doesn’t know exactly where to turn.

You may still find some people, out there, whom merely do not know how to even take the first steps to undertaking their family research on a computer. You can also find others who, having made a beginning, do not know how to get past the inescapable brick wall that they have stumbled upon.

Brick walls can be aggravating, however when you discover a way to smash through the logjam it usually is immensely satisfying. I’ve discovered exactly how to do this, for a few of my forefathers, by taking e-courses in this fascinating area of interest. Just what I have observed is that the family historian must be made aware of the various tips and tricks to utilizing the internet resources to greatest effect. While the simple information can be acquired by using the straight forward search field on a website, to locate evasive ancestors may require a certain application. The good news is that somebody has most likely come up against the very same sort of problem as you are having and so a means of working around the difficulty may already have been devised. For example, I had been taught exactly how to make use of the freeBMD website to locate missing brothers and sisters of one of my grandmothers.

Many researchers may have used the LDS or Latter-day Saint’s familysearch.org site. Finding your ancestors, when using the search tools furnished by the website, can be challenging; even if they are included in the International Genealogical Index, and that is not always the case! The problem is that a search simply by last name only isn’t allowed, unless you search within a single batch of records at a time or over the entire country. A search of the whole of Britain is overwhelming, unless of course you have a rare name. What if, however, you are looking for a Smith or a Jones? I have discovered how to use a tool provided on a website to search the IGI batches and it is really easy to try and do, once you know how.

The world wide web has made researching ancestors a great deal easier to do. As more and more data finds its way onto the internet many more lines of research are opened to us. But, on the other hand, there is the danger of information overload. The new family historian could become frozen in the headlights as the data juggernaut races on towards them. My advice is to carefully record your research at each and every phase, so you are aware the blind alleys which you have gone down and the various people that you have researched erroneously, as well as the ones you have had success with. In the long run you will save yourself time and very possibly money on certificates purchased, or pay-as-you-go searches on the Internet. Next word of advice, is that it’s well worth continuing to learn as much as you are able to about this fascinating subject by taking classes or reading around the subject matter. The best family historian is one that thinks of themselves being an advanced beginner. That is, they are constantly wide open to learning more skills. The more skilled you become, the better you’ll be able to uncover those elusive ancestors!

Send to Kindle