The article that I penned is a case history using the records on their website and I have to admit I learned quite a bit about the 18th century theatre – and had a laugh at some of the amusing details that I turned up about the subject’s birth place and her father’s profession.
The marriage was central to her career on the stage. Without marrying in Coventry’s Holy Trinity, she would most probably never have become a famous tragedienne! Had she not, then there would be no statue to her in Westminster Abbey, nor one on Paddington Green.
*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.
The following is a Press Release from TheGenealogist at the end of which you will find a link to an article that I wrote for them about a murderous lord of the manor whose burial can be found in these new records.
TheGenealogist has added over 366,000 individuals to their Parish Records for Warwickshire to increase the coverage of this county in the heart of England.
Released in association with Warwickshire County Record Office this brings high quality transcripts as well as images to family historians researching for ancestors in this area.
With 366,260 individuals included in this Warwickshire release, these new records will help family historians to find their ancestors’ baptisms, marriages and burials, in fully searchable records that cover various parishes from this part of England. With records that reach back to the mid 16th century, this release allows family historians to find the names of ancestors in baptisms, marriages and burials.
These new records are available as part of the Diamond Subscription at TheGenealogist, bringing the total to 934,495 searchable individuals for the county of Warwickshire.
Read the article that I wrote for them that reveals the last resting place of a murderous lord of the manor:
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
The latest release from TheGenealogist team this week:
TheGenealogist has added over 1.9 million individuals to its parish record collection covering the county of Sussex. Published In association with The Parish Record Transcription Society, this second release of records for the English county more than doubles the number of parish records available for the area.
TheGenealogist now has over 3 million individuals in the Sussex Parish Record Collection.
The new batch covers individual records of:
The Parish Record Transcription Society (PRTSoc) have worked with TheGenealogist and S&N to make their records available online. With a combined 3 million plus individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records now fully searchable it is easier than ever to discover ancestors from Sussex by turning to TheGenealogist’s parish records collection.
These records are published as a result of a major project undertaken by PRTSoc staff and dedicated volunteers to transcribe the parish registers of West Sussex with the aim of preserving them for generations to come. By working with TheGenealogist these are now also searchable by online researchers on TheGenealogist.
This release joins TheGenealogist’s Sussex collection including parish records to form a major resource for the county.
This post is going to be mainly of interest to beginners, or those who are just starting to investigate their ancestral line that has taken them back to England or Wales from elsewhere.
Many British people emigrated to start new lives in North America, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.
Perhaps you have discovered that your ancestral trail has now led you to this particular part of Britain and you are now wondering how to find your English or Welsh records?
Some of you may have had ancestors who sailed away from England and Wales to start a new life beyond the seas, or indeed, even in Scotland or Ireland.
Perhaps you have traced your family tree back in your own, or another country, until you have found an English or Welsh immigrant who left before 1837, the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign.
If this is the case then you will not be able to make a great deal of use of the English/Welsh census collections, or of the civil registration indexes to order birth marriage or death certificates for your ancestors. These records begin in Victorian times.
But that does not mean that all is lost, as before this time the Established church (Church of England) acted as an arm of local government and was charged with keeping records of the populace.
Before 1837, baptisms, marriages and burials were kept in local registers maintained by the local parish church and also by some of the nonconformist churches.
Many researchers, looking for their ancestors from the British Isles, find that there is a whole lot of information out there on the web for the years back until they reach 1837. Then it just seems to get harder for us with English and Welsh ancestors.
1837 is the year when civil registration started in England & Wales, with the state taking over from the established church the registering of vital records.
You may have been amazed at the ease with which you had found later records of your ancestors on the subscription websites. 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 not all of the genealogical records that there actually are have made it on to the internet. Now this situation is getting better all the time with new Parish Record data sets being uploaded to the various big genealogical subscription sites.
As a rule, most original Parish Records can be found in the relevant County Record office for your ancestor’s parish, or in a few cases the incumbent minister may still have retained them at the parish church (if the books are not yet full).
You need to firstly establish where in the country your ancestor came from. A family bible or some other document may point you to a particular part of England or Wales. Look for town and the county that they were born or lived in, as you will need this information in your research. If you can narrow it down to a parish then you are off and running!
Assuming that you have found out which county your forebears lived in, how do you decide which parish your ancestors may have been in?
Well 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!
Phillimore’s Atlas (The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers) is the go to resource. Many libraries will have a copy of this or you can find it online at amazon.
These records are fantastic for family historians to use as recorded in the ancient pages of church registers are millions of people who we would simply never have been able to find where it not for the existence of these parish documents.
We all need to say thanks to the many clergy and parish clerks who had dutifully but, perhaps grudgingly, spent time writing up these entries and recording the precious information on their parishioners as they came to church to baptise their young, marry each other and bury their dead. Yes it was set down in law that they should so do, but we still should thank them for it!
Apparently, until the late 15th century only a small number of people were even remotely interested in the recording of births, baptisms, marriages and deaths.
Those that were would have been mostly from the landed classes of the gentry and the aristocracy for whom knowledge of family descent and line was important. Their interest stemming from having information to do with the inheritance of and the passing on of their land. Who should inherit property meant that the matter of legitimacy needed to be considered by the great and the good!
For the rest of society there was little need for this information, in light of church teaching that people were individually insignificant in God’s Creation. But come the end of the Middle ages, things changed.
The Church became occupied with the blood relationships between parties at a marriage. Marriage between relatives (even those related to you spiritually – such as your godparents) was forbidden by the Church. Certainly it had become most useful to know who you were related to and it was evidently most important for the Church to be able to have this information.
We can thank King Henry VIII’s Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell for requiring English parishes to keep a register from 1538, though many of these early records have been lost to us.
Most of those later ones that have survived are now housed in local diocesan archives, very often at a local County Record Office. Some diocesan archives may be in a neighbouring repository when the dioceses spans more than one county – so watch out for that in your searches!
As is always the case in family history research, you are advised to check the originals, or at least try to look at the microfiche or film copies of originals if you can.
We are lucky in that some of the parish records are being released online, but there are still areas that require a trip to the local County Record Office as not everything is digitised yet – as I found out recently when looking for one of my ancestors from Berkshire!
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
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
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 to1633, 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.
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
Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.
TheGenealogist has made millions of new Hampshire Parish Records available on its site.
Released in partnership with the Hampshire Genealogical Society there are over 2.1 million new fully searchable records of individuals released online for the first time
With these records those searching for ancestors from Hampshire can discover almost 1.8 million people recorded within the baptisms from this area in the south of England as far back as 1538 up to 1751
Family researchers can also discover the details of over 212,000 individuals from marriages between 1538 and 1753 and nearly 143,800 people listed in the burials of Hampshire from 1838 to 1865
Hampshire Genealogical Society worked with TheGenealogist to publish their records online, making 2,135,878 individuals from baptism, marriage and burial records fully searchable. Dolina Clarke, Chairman of Hampshire Genealogical Society said:
“The Hampshire Genealogical Society have decided to put the remaining data from their parish register indexes for Hampshire, which are not already on line, with FHS-Online and TheGenealogist (S & N). We looked at various different online sites and felt that S & N were able to offer us a very fair deal. Furthermore they are a British company with whom we have had a very good relationship for over 20 years.”
Mark Bayley, Head of Online Development at TheGenealogist, welcomed Hampshire Genealogical Society to the growing number family history societies on both TheGenealogist and FHS-Online saying: “We’re delighted that HGS 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 already published Hampshire parish records, sourced from the Phillimore Registers, and soon we will also be adding further transcriptions that will fill in any gaps to provide an even more comprehensive coverage of this important 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
Example: The last Briton to die in a duel on English soil.
James Alexander Seton was the last British person to be killed in a duel on English soil and he is buried in his family’s vault at St Mary’s Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
St Mary’s, Fordingbridge, Hampshire from the Image Archive on TheGenealogist.
During the early 1840s James Seton, and his wife Susannah, rented some rooms in Southsea on the outskirts of Portsmouth, Hampshire. Seton was a man of means, inheriting wealth, and so had no need to work. The son of a Colonel, he had spent a brief spell in the Army as a junior cavalry officer though his short career never found him being promoted any higher than the rank of cornet. The Setons were of Scottish ancestry, their forebears being descended from the Earls of Dunfermline and Seton’s grandfather was Vice-Admiral James Seton, governor of St Vincent in the Caribbean.
In May 1845 James Seton met Isabella Hawkey, whom he set about pursuing even though he was a married man. She was the wife of Lieutenant Henry Hawkey, an officer in the Royal Marines. When the coast was clear, and her husband was away, Seton began paying visits to Isabella at her lodgings bearing gifts. Lt. Hawkey began to hear the rumours of this and forbade his wife from seeing Seton again. On 19 May 1845, however, there was a ball held in the King’s Rooms, Southsea, which the Hawkeys as well as James Seton attended. When Isabella danced with Seton this caused a quarrel in which Lt. Hawkey called Seton a “blaggard and a scoundrel”. Having been insulted by this, Seton decided to challenge the Royal Marine Officer to a duel. The next evening, on the beach at Browndown near Gosport and after the seconds had measured out fifteen paces, the duelists took their pistols and fired. James Seton’s shot missed his opponent; Henry Hawkey’s pistol was half-cocked and failed to fire. Under the rules of dueling, that could have been an honourable end to it but Lieutenant Hawkey insisted on a second exchange of shots and this time Seton fell when he was struck by a bullet entering his lower abdomen.
Suffering from his wounds, the wounded man was taken by boat to Portsmouth where he was operated on by the eminent London surgeon Robert Liston. The surgery at first appeared to go well, but then infection set in and Seton quickly went downhill. He died of his injuries on 2nd June 1845 and was buried eight days later. His funeral procession through the town saw most of the shops closing in respect and he was laid to rest in a tomb outside the east front of the church next to his father. A search finds his burial on the 10th June 1845 in the Hampshire records on TheGenealogist.
This week the team over at TheGenealogist announced the completion of thier project to release fully searchable Norfolk Parish Records online. For anyone with ancestors from this county this is brilliant news.
Over 6.23 million new searchable Norfolk Parish Records released in partnership with the Norfolk Record Office
This final tranche includes over 5.95 million records for Norfolk
Plus more than 276,000 records relating to the boundary areas of Suffolk
Adding to the 3.6 million individuals already released earlier
TheGenealogist has successfully completed a project to release over 9.8 million fully searchable records for the registers of baptisms, marriages, marriage banns and burials for Norfolk with images of the original registers.
It is now easier than ever to research Norfolk ancestors in the parish registers of this Eastern English county. With some of the surviving records reaching back as far as the early 1500s, this is a fantastically rich resource for family historians to use for discovering Norfolk ancestors.
Released in partnership with The Norfolk Record Office, the registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and banns of marriage cover the majority of parishes in the Diocese of Norwich. This also includes a number of Suffolk parishes in and near Lowestoft that make up the deanery of Lothingland. Also covered by this release are the parishes in the deanery of Fincham and Feltwell that were part of the Diocese of Ely in south-west Norfolk.
Examples of famous people to be found in these records include:
Edith Cavell, the First World War Nurse executed by the Germans for treason was born in the South Norfolk village of Swardeston. Her baptism can be found in the register of Swardeston for February 1866 where her father was the vicar and performed the christening ceremony. With a single click family historians can see an image of the actual entry in the parish register.
Edith Cavell’s baptism record in the Norfolk Parish Register on TheGenealogist
Likewise, Horatio Nelson – who would grow up to become perhaps Britain’s best known naval hero of all time – was also baptised by his clergyman father. In Nelson’s case it was in the the village of Burnham Thorpe on the North Norfolk coast in 1758.
Horatio Nelson’s baptism 1758 in the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist
Another British seafaring hero, whose baptism can be found in the Norfolk parish records on TheGenealogist, is Henry George Blogg. He would grow up to become known as the “Greatest of the Lifeboatmen” and be highly decorated. In his case, however, it was not his father that baptised him. His entry in the register reveals a less than auspicious entry of this Norfolk hero into the world – the vicar wrote in the parish register of Cromer that Henry was “base born”. Blogg, however, became a skilled seaman and a lifeboatman. For the many rescues, that he took part in as the coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution no less than three times and also the RNLI silver medal four times. He was also honoured with the George Cross from the King, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.
Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist: Henry Blogg’s baptism 1876
Five years after his birth, Henry’s mother, Ellen Blogg, married a fisherman called John Davies. It was this stepfather that taught Henry how to fish and the skills that he needed to be a highly competent seafarer. The marriage banns for Henry’s mother and stepfather can be found in the Banns book for the parish, within the new records on TheGenealogist. Their actual marriage can also be found recorded in the parish register for Cromer included in this new release. See the records at: www.thegenealogist.co.uk
Banns of Marriage records from the Norfolk Parish Registers on TheGenealogist
To search these any countless other useful family history records take a look atTheGenealogistnow!
TheGenealogist and the Norfolk Record Office announce that they have signed an agreement to make Norfolk parish and other historical records available online for the first time. The registers of baptisms, marriages, burials and banns of marriage feature the majority of the parishes in Norfolk.
On release the searchable transcripts will be linked to original images of baptism, marriage and burial records from the parish registers of this East Anglian county
Some of the surviving records are from the early 1500s
These vital records will allow family history researchers from all over the world to search for their Norfolk ancestors online for the first time
Famous people that can be found in these records include:
– Samuel Lincoln, the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Abraham Lincoln, 18th President of the United States of America, can be discovered in the baptismal records of St Andrew, Hingham in Norfolk for the 24th August 1622. At some point his entry has been highlighted with a star.
– Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who lost his life at the Battle of Trafalgar. This impoverished clergyman’s son can be discovered in the register for Burnham Thorpe in 1758. There his father, as rector of the parish, would have officiated at all the baptisms that year in this church with his name appearing at the bottom of the page.
Viewing an image of the actual parish register reveals that the young Horatio Nelson was firstly baptised privately in October 1758, just a week after being born and then given a second “public baptism” in the middle of November. This practice was carried out for sickly babies who were not expected to survive and begs the question of how different British history would have been had he died as an infant. Fascinatingly, by looking at the actual image of the page there are some additions to his entry that have been penned in the margin years later. These notes, reputedly to be by his brother the Rev William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson, celebrated the honours that his brother received in his adult life. He ends it with the Latin quote “caetera enarret fama” which translates as “others recount the story”.
In addition to those from the Diocese of Norwich the coverage also includes some Suffolk parishes in and near Lowestoft that fall into the deanery of Lothingland and also, various parishes from the deanery of Fincham and Feltwell, that part of the Diocese of Ely that covers south-west Norfolk.
Nigel Bayley, Managing Director of TheGenealogist said: “With this collection you will be able to easily search Norfolk records online for the first time. From the results a click will allow you to view high quality digital images of the original documents. Joining our already extensive Parish Record collection on TheGenealogist, this release will be eagerly anticipated by family and local historians with links to Norfolk”
Gary Tuson, County Archivist at The Norfolk Record Office said: “The Norfolk Record Office is pleased to be working with TheGenealogist, a commercial company helping to make these important records available to a worldwide audience.”
I was lucky enough to have some time recently to look around Salisbury Cathedral and in amongst the treasures of that beautiful place of worship I noticed a couple of ancient chests that were being completely ignored by the streams passing visitors.
As a family historian, interested in searching for ancestors in the Parish Records, I am acutely aware that these interesting heavy wooden pieces of furniture also appear in churches up and down the country and at one time performed a vital function in the preservation of documents that we use today in researching our families.
In my English/Welsh family history course, available online at www.FamilyHistoryResearcher.com, I cover Parish Chest records in more detail in lesson 8. If you want to know more about how to tease out your elusive ancestors, from the documents that they were recorded in, then perhaps you may like to join me and numerous satisfied students on an online journey to learn more about the resources and records that you could be using.
As a teaser I am reproducing some of the content of that lesson below:
The Parish registers for baptisms, marriages and burials, were first introduced by Henry VIII’s Chief Minister, Thomas Cromwell in 1538 to the English Church. Cromwell, who supervised the church through his position as Henry’s Vicar General and Vice regent, required that every parish church was to acquire a sure coffer (that is, a parish chest) within which their records could be securely stored.
The parish chest was not a new idea, however, they could have been found in churches up and down the land all the way back to medieval times. Often no more than a hollowed out tree trunk that was secured with three locks. The keys to which were to be kept by the Bishop, the Priest and by a religious layman. What was new, in Tudor times, was the notion that Cromwell dictated that accurate records were to be kept and the responsibility to do so was placed on the parish officials to keep these records safe.
By the mid-1500’s the parishioners in every parish of the land were instructed by law to provide a strong chest with a hole in the upper part thereof, and having three keys, for holding the alms for the poor. Another chest may have been used to keep safe the church’s plate and this or the first chest would also double up as a place where the parish registers and other parish documents could be kept safe. In some places only one chest would have sufficed for both purposes, while in other parishes two or more may have been used.
As can be seen by the pictures above, The Parish Chest was just that; a chest locked and housed in the church that could now only be opened by the Vicar and two officers of the parish.
It was the place for the parish church to keep safe its documents away from mice, dust and other conditions that may have damaged them. But as the chest filled up with records, then the oldest papers at the bottom would have been disposed of to make room for newer documents to go on top. For this reason alone many records will not have survived to the present day.
That is sad as the various account books, bundles of documents of all different sizes, could be valuable information. You may be able to read some fragments of extra information about your forebears and their lives, if your ancestor had dealings with the church in their parish. It could be that your ancestor was an artisan that was paid for some service by the parish clerk.
Perhaps your ancestor was mentioned in Settlement Examinations? Or Apprenticeship Indentures? What about bastardy examinations and bonds? Maybe the Constables’ and Overseers’ account books?
All of these records are what we call the Parish Chest documents as formally they would have lived in such a container in the church.
The reason why these documents may not have survived through to the present day are many. Some parishes would have been poor at keeping good records, anyway. Others may have consciously destroyed their documents while yet more parishes lost their records accidentally – perhaps through carelessness, water damage, fire, fungus, mold, or by being eaten by insects or animals.
As a consequence, when Parish Chest material has survived, for your parish, then you will definitely want to take a look at what has endured the years as it can open up a fantastic insight into your ancestor’s parish.
Other Parish Records
Here are some other records in the parish chest:
The Churchwardens Accounts
Glebe Terriers and Tithe Records
Charity Accounts (possibly not of a great deal of use to family historians!)
Petty Constables Accounts
Various other miscellaneous records
As I have stressed above, it is by no means certain that these documents will have survived the ravage of time, if they have, however, then the originals should now be stored away safely at the relevant County Record Office for the church in question. You see how the County Record Offices come up time and time again? I love visiting them and I encourage any of you that can to do so too.
In many cases you may be lucky enough to find that a local history society, or a county record society, may have published some of these records in full, if so then do take a look at their publications.
Be warned, however, that it is unusual to find any generally available on the Internet. Despite this caveat, I would still say that it is worth your while doing a search on Google, Bing or some other search engine.
Also it is worth seeing if they have possibly been filmed by the LDS and so made available from your local Family History Centre.
Learn more about English and Welsh family history resources which can be used to find your elusive ancestors with the Family History Researcher Course,