Using examples of records and case studies relating to both immigrants and emigrants held in The National Archives at Kew (U.K.) collection, this talk will explain how to search for and interpret records such as passenger lists, passports, registration and naturalisation records.
This talk will be delivered by Roger Kershaw, Migration Records Specialist at The National Archives in the U.K.
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.*
TheGenealogist has just released the maps and field books for the Westminster area into its exciting record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey. This new release can be used to find where an ancestor lived in 1910 to 1915 in the area around Westminster. This unique combination of maps and residential data held by The National Archives has been digitised by TheGenealogist so that researchers can locate where an ancestor lived. The maps are large scale and exceptionally detailed with hand annotations that, in the majority of cases, allow family historians to find the exact property in the street.
This release of Lloyd George Domesday Survey records covers Westminster and the area shown above
Researchers often have difficulty using modern maps to find where ancestors lived as road names changed over time, the Blitz saw areas bombed to destruction, developers changed sites out of all resemblance from what had stood there before and lanes and roads were extinguished to build housing estates and office blocks. As these records are linked to the maps from the period this means that you have the ability to find the streets as they existed when the survey was carried out and often pinpoint where the old properties had once been.
– Links properties to extremely detailed ordnance survey maps used in 1910
– Shows the original Field book giving a detailed description of the property
– Fully searchable by name, parish and street
Complementing the maps on TheGenealogist are the accompanying Field Books that will provide researchers with detailed information relative to the valuation of each property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.
This mammoth project is ongoing with over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages of information on properties to digitise with associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps.
The release this month covers the civil parishes of Brook, Bryanston Square, Cavendish Square, Church, Conduit, Curzon, Dorset Square, Dover, Great Marlborough, Grosvenor, Hamilton Terrace, Hamlet of Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate, Liberty Of The Rolls, Maida Vale, Pall Mall, Petty France, Pimlico North, Pimlico South, Portland Place, Portman Square, Queens Park, Regent 1, Regent 2, St Anne Soho, St Clement Danes, St John Westminster, St Martin in the Fields, St Mary Le Strand, St Paul Covent Garden, Westbourne and Westminster. More areas will be released soon for other London Boroughs and the county of Buckinghamshire.
*Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links. This does notmean that you pay more just that I make a percentage on the sales from my links. The payments help me pay for the cost of running the site. You may like to read this explanation here:
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
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.
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.
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 has added 651,369 quarterly returns of convicts from The National Archives’ HO 8 documents to their Court & Criminal Records collection. Withthis release researchers can find the details of ancestors that broke the law and were incarcerated in convict hulks and prisons in the 19th century.
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:
The National Archives, London, England have announced that they are opening up their prisoner of war (WW II) archives. These documents were transferred to The National Archives in December 2014. There are approximately 190,000 records of persons captured in German-occupied territory during World War II, primarily Allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, British and Allied civilians and some nurses. There are also cards for American, Norwegian, Chinese, Arab and Cypriot origins.
The new collection (WO 416) also includes several thousand records of deceased allied airmen whose bodies were found near their downed aircrafts. While these airmen were never prisoners of war, these records act as records of death.
The records are cards—some persons have up to 15 cards, but most have only one or two. It is not catalogued by name of individual for privacy reasons as some may still be living. The National Archives has started to catalogue the entire series and they have opened the records for those who were born more than 100 years ago or if they have proof of death.
For those records that have not yet been digitized you can order the records in advance for when you visit the Kew ( The National Archives) or you can request a quotation for a copy to be sent to you. The price will vary depending on the amount of copying. When you click on the name of the person you are researching , click on details. There you will get a transcription of information they have plus the option to order in advance or request a copy.
This week the initial tranche has been released, as you can see from the press anouncement that follows.
TheGenealogist has released the first part of an exciting new record set, The Lloyd George Domesday Survey – a major new release that will find where an ancestor lived in 1910. This unique combination of maps and residential data, held by The National Archives and being digitised by TheGenealogist, can precisely locate your ancestor’s house on large scale (5 feet to the mile) hand annotated maps that plots the exact property.
Researchers often can’t find where ancestors lived as road names changed over time, the Blitz saw areas bombed to destruction, developers changed sites out of all resemblance from what had stood there before and lanes and roads were extinguished to build estates and office blocks. All this means that searching for where an ancestor lived using a website linked to modern maps can be frustrating when they fail to pinpoint where the old properties had once been.
TheGenealogist’s new release will link individual properties to extremely detailed ordnance survey maps used in 1910
Locate an address found in a census or street directory down to a specific house
Fully searchable by name, county, parish and street.
The maps will zoom down to show the individual properties as they existed in 1910
Complementing the maps on TheGenealogist are the accompanying books that will also provide researchers with basic information relative to the valuation of each property, including the valuation assessment number, map reference, owner, occupier, situation, description and extent.
This mammoth project begins with the first release of the IR91 Index with subsequent releases of the more detailed IR58 Field Books planned. There are over 94,500 Field Books, each having hundreds of pages to digitise with associated large scale IR121 annotated OS maps.
The initial release from TheGenealogist is for the City of London and Paddington maps with their index records. Future releases will expand out across the country with cross linked maps wherever they are available.
Mark Bayley, Head of Development at TheGenealogist says:
“With our English & Welsh Tithe Map collection, we’ve become known for our map based records and this new collection makes a fantastic later addition. The maps show an incredible amount of detail, allowing you to zoom right in on the hand annotated property. The records that go with these maps are just as detailed, allowing you to find out all manner of information about your ancestral home.”
The National Archives issued the following statement:
“The Lloyd George ‘Domesday Records’ form essentially a census of property for Edwardian England and Wales. The innovative linking of individually searchable property data with associated annotated Ordnance Survey maps will be of huge value to family and local historians alike.”
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!
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).
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.
We all know that we can find our ancestors’ address in the census taken between 1841 and 1911 in the U.K.
But we should remember that, just as we may have moved several times in between the last time that we were enumerated, so did our ancestors.
I was researching a particular forebear of mine and had got hold of his army service records. I was drawn to his address at the time of his attestation and then at the end of the war. The address had changed as a result of he and his wife going through a divorce.
I was recently in The National Archives in Kew and just adjacent to the area where The London Family History Centre has its area, located in the Reading Room of TNA, was a shelf of Trades, Residential and Court directories. While I had some time to wait for some research documents to be delivered, I began browsing these books. What I noticed was that if I looked through the different years, for my ancestor’s county, I could see that my subject moved around his home town a bit more frequently than I had previously supposed.
You don’t need to go to and archive, library or record office to find your ancestors in these directories as they can be easily accessed on many of the data websites as well.
Other records that can be used to map out the movements of an ancestor include the addresses given on civil registration certificates of birth, marriage and death and all sorts of other records that were created when our forebears came up against authority in its many guises.
My visit to The National Archives was to take a look at a court document that referred to my ancestor and there again it revealed yet another address for him.
It was at this stage that I realised that it would be a good idea if I started some notes on my mobile family member and so I began recording the dates and his various abodes in a list.
There are modules in my online course that look at the many different records that we are lucky in this country to get access to in more depth. If you are researching your ancestors from England and Wales and have hit a brick wall then my online Family History Researcher Academy course is available here:
The course can be started and completed in your own time with 52 weekly tutorials being made available to you over a one year period. Currently I have some tempting offers so take a look before the price increases!
I was in The National Archives this week and I thought I’d pop over to the London FamilySearch Centre that is located inside the reading room at TNA in Kew.
On the desk, in front of the LDS staff was an announcement to the effect that FamilySearch is discontinuing their microfilm lending service on September 1, 2017 across the world.
They have announced that “the change is the result of significant progress in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology. Digital imaging has made it easier to find ancestors through the internet, mobile, and other technologies.”
So what this means for family history researchers across the globe is that very soon we will no longer be able to borrow microfilmed genealogical records from the Family History Library. The last day researchers can place an order for delivery to your local Family History Centre/Center is August 31, 2017.
It is true that the majority of the Family History Library’s microfilm vault has already been digitized and is online – or will be within a short time and they say that they hope to finish digitizing the records that they have permission to digitize, in 2020. This still means, however, that some of the films we will not be digitized because they fall foul of either contractual limitations, data privacy, or some other reason.
This is sad news for family historians who had used this rich resource.
Many researchers ask “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and then they may want to know “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?”
A point to remember is that ancestors didn’t exist in isolation and a good strategy is to build up their life story by looking at the events and people that had an effect on their lives.
Families can be complicated entities with step fathers/step mothers and sometimes unmarried parties in the equation. You may find people that married then separate and even sometimes get back together. In my own family I have an ancestor who remarried his first wife, after a period of divorce, but I hadn’t appreciated all of the story until recently. The strands came together by reviewing various records that I had gathered at different times.
Over a period we may collect various diverse search results for an ancestor, but we may not see how they fit together to build a bigger picture. It is important, for this reason, that every now and again we go back and review what we have. Sometimes this can suggest places for us to continue our research to find the story of our forebears’ life.
While doing some research this week I noticed a fact appeared in three completely different records. It was a town name that I had not paid much attention to having previously assumed that it was of little relevance to my ancestor’s life.
Beaumaris, in Anglesey, was where a First World War Royal Engineer officer in my family tree had been posted as he awaited being demobbed. Kingsbridge camp was on the Welsh island and I had first seen it on his service record. From the pages of this document I had gathered that my R.E. officer was suffering from shell-shock and attending medical boards in Bangor. I overlooked the importance of the town as it seemed to me that it was simply a posting where he had been sent by the Army at the end of the war.
At a completely different research session, I had been looking at the time my ancestor spent living in Singapore and I had come across a Singapore newspaper website to aid me. Using the portal I had been able to find a snippet that gave the details of his marriage at the Presbyterian church in Singapore. In July 1921 he was reported to have wed Monica Mary.
The first thing that had struck me was I had not known that he had married this lady. In the WWI service record he had been married to a Mary Ellen, in Surrey, and family lore told me that he had been divorced from his first wife, then re-married her a few years later and they had then lived together in Singapore. No mention of this intervening marriage had been drawn to my attention.
The family stories also said that his first wife, Mary had been lost at sea while escaping from the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in the Second World War. None of this explained me finding a marriage in Singapore to a completely different woman!
Skip forward to another period of research and I was using the Outbound Passenger Lists in order to write an article for publication. While I had the online search page open, on a whim, I typed in the first wife’s name and found Mary’s passage out to Singapore with their young daughter in February 1926.
Then turning to the second wife, whom I wrongly assumed my subject had met in Singapore, I did a search for Monica to see if I could find her going out to Singapore in the first place. I discovered her leaving London in May 1921 bound for the Straits Settlements.
Another entry had Monica and her husband visiting the U.K. in 1925, the year before his first wife and child emigrated to the colony. While I was pondering all of this I noted the entry given on the passenger list for their last address in the United Kingdom. It was a street in Beaumaris, Anglesey!
Then the penny dropped. Monica was probably from Beaumaris in Wales. The R.E. camp where my ancestor had recuperated was also in Beaumaris.
I next turned to some research that I had done at The National Archives. While looking into something completely different I had taken the opportunity to order up the 1919 divorce papers for the first marriage to Mary. These revealed that he had still been a serving Royal Engineer at the time of the petition by his wife and that his address was given as… Kingsbridge Camp, Beaumaris.
So now, by drawing together various records obtained at different times, I had him posted to Beaumaris in the Service Records; Beaumaris in his divorce papers; Beaumaris as the address in the BT27 Passenger Lists where he and his second wife were visiting from Singapore in 1925.
A simple search of the 1911 census records for Monica (with her surname) in Beaumaris and I quickly found her family and could then research them back. With the review of my previous research and by now paying attention to the town that had popped up in several records, I am in a position to speculate some details to add to my ancestor’s family story.
I assume that while suffering from shell-shock and recovering from his war experiences in Anglesey he met Monica and fell in love. He first wife Mary filed for divorce, though not for adultery, but for the reason that he refused to return home to her in Surrey.
Demobbed my ancestor decided to try his luck in another part of the world and went out to Singapore. Within a year Monica followed and they married within months. In 1925 Monica and her husband visited her family in Beaumaris, but by the next year my ancestor’s first wife and child were on their way out to Singapore.
What happened to Monica? That is the next direction for this research to go. An article published in Singapore seems to point to her dying in 1925 but this, naturally, needs corroboration. Was she sick when they made their last visit to Wales? Perhaps a Singapore death records will reveal what she died of.
Family history research has a habit of opening up more questions just as you resolve some of the others. In answer to the question “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?” my response is review what you already know. Check facts that you may have overlooked or discounted because you thought them irrelevant and see where they take you. Keep your eyes open as well as your mind.
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