Featured Sites Archive
Expert Links: England Family History and Genealogy
Featured Sites Archive
Featured Site: (8/26/09) Do you have ancestors in Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Westmorland, or Yorkshire? If so, an importance resource has become available for the first time online that might be able to assist you. The Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York had jurisdiction over the North of England. People who lived in these counties could have left wills or administrations in their local probate courts or at the provincial courts in York. Indexes to these records covering the years 1267 to 1665 and 1731 to 1858 can now be searched online on the Society of Genealogists’ site British Origins and BYU’s Family History Archive (see Probate Records for precise links) . Hopefully the remaining years will become available in the near future. Our thanks to Paul Reed, FASG, for bringing BYU’s work to our attention.
Featured Site: (7/21/09) There are some very useful electronic resources available for tracing ancestors from Kent. The Kent Family History Society has indexed many parish registers and published them on CD. They also have created a CD that keyword searches the contents of their Society’s Journal from 1974 to 2003, as well as indexes to marriage licences from Canterbury (some of these are also available for free online 1568-1618 and 1669-1679), and poor law records. Kent encompassed several probate courts, including the Archdeaconry Court of Canterbury, the Consistory Court of Canterbury, and the Consistory Court of Rochester. Indexes to many of these records, including medieval documents, are available for free online. Many residents of Kent left wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, whose records are also available online. If an ancestor went to London to be apprenticed to a trade, you may find a record of him at British Origins. You can research heraldic visitations of Kent dated 1619 and an index to pedigrees recorded in the visitations of 1663-1668 and some of the pedigrees, as well as Hasted’s 12-volume History of Kent (1799-1801) on the web. Courtesy: British History Online, Kent Archaeological Society, Kent Family History Society, Kent Genealogy Website, The National Archives, the Society of Genealogists, and UK Genealogy Archives.
Featured Site: (6/15/09) Marriage licences are a very useful source of genealogical information. They were obtained from the Bishop who oversaw the parish where your ancestor lived. Not everyone was married by licence in England’s past, but for those who were, the records contain additional biographical details not found in the local parish register. Many of these records have been abstracted and published and can be viewed for free online, see Marriage Indexes.
Featured Site: (2/5/09) Did your ancestors come to England from Ireland? If so, here is the new online resource we’ve all been waiting for! Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958. Courtesy: Family Search.
Featured Sites: (1/14/09) Rutland and Northamptonshire are two of our favourite counties for conducting family history research. When clients approach us with roots in these counties, we receive them with open arms. The Northamptonshire & Rutland Probate Index at Family History Online (which will soon be moving to Find My Past) allows researchers to quickly obtain probate references for ancestors. Most of the old wills for residents of these two counties are stored at the Northamptonshire Record Office, while Rutland’s parish registers are at the Leicestershire and Rutland Record Office. Neither county has very good coverage on the IGI before 1700, which makes the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society’s Rutland Parish Registers CDs (2 vols., covering 31 parishes) all the more valuable. Often, we find historic residents of these counties leaving wills in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (try leaving the name fields blank and putting in your ancestral parish to see how many people from that locality left wills in London). We also own CD compilations that speed up the process of finding marriages in these counties, which you might find useful: Audrey Buxton and Ian Buxton’s Rutland Marriage Index 1538-1754 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alan Clarke and Marilyn Ponting’s Partial Northamptonshire Marriage Index Pre-1700 (2nd edition), Northamptonshire Marriage Index 1700-1837, and Northamptonshire Marriage Index 1837-1860. Courtesy: Family History Online, Find My Past, Family Search, Hugh Wallis’s IGI Batch Numbers England, Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society, The National Archives, Audrey Buxton, Ian Buxton, Alan Clarke, and Marilyn Ponting.
Featured Sites: (11/10/08) How common is your surname? Where in England was it most common in the past? Where do people with that surname live today? Surname distribution maps can answer many of these questions. Ancestry.com, Public Profiler, and the National Trust provide free English surname distribution maps on their websites. Such resources are also available for other countries, such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Wales, should you wish to search for relatives abroad. Courtesy: The Generations Network, The National Trust, Spatial Literacy, University College of London, Universität zu Köln, Università di Genova, Irish Times, Geopatronyme, and Geogen.
Featured Site: (11/01/08) For more than 50 years, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) have indexed christenings and marriages from English parish and chapel registers of all faiths. A large percentage of their work is available at FamilySearch.org (to learn if your ancestors’ parishes were indexed, check Hugh Wallis’s England IGI Batch Numbers and the supplement British Isles Vital Records Index sites). The Mormons did not index burials as they went through the old registers. In efforts to enhance their work, people and organizations associated with the Federation of Family History Societies have created the National Burial Index. This phenomenal resource, previously available only on CD-ROM, is now accessible or mostly accessible at two pay-per-view websites: Family History Online and Find My Past. You pay less than 10p per entry at Family History Online. Courtesy Federation of Family History Societies, Hugh Wallis, Genoot, Find My Past, and Family Search.
Featured Site: (10/1/08) Convicts, convicts, convicts… What to do with them? Since the seventeenth century, England has banished tens of thousands to distant colonies. Until the outbreak of the American Revolution, England’s prisoners were dumped in British North America, see Immigrant Servants Database. Benjamin Franklin, it is believed, authored the anonymous newspaper article suggesting the convict ships be filled with American rattlesnakes for the return leg of the journey as a nice way to repay England for this favour! After the U.S.A. broke free, a new location had to be found: Australia. Do you want to claim one of these folks as an ancestor? Try Convict Arrivals in New South Wales, The Convict Transportation Registers (Australia), Claim a Convict (Australia), Black Sheep Index, or The International Centre for Convict Studies to learn more. Don’t be shy!
Featured Site: (8/30/08) Genealogists throughout the former British Empire would be thrilled if every English person alive today had his or her DNA tested. Finding a genetic match is often the only way for people abroad to pinpoint their specific immigrant origins. To direct people towards this significant resource, the surname project listings at Family Tree DNA have been afforded additional space on this site. YDNA 37-marker kits are on sale for 40% off until 30 September ’08 and many people abroad are willing to help pay for testing kits for eligible English men. See also Oxford Ancestors, DNA Ancestry, and the listing of DNA Projects at World Families. Courtesy: Family Tree DNA.
Featured Site: (7/30/08) The Genealogist’s Internet is a complete listing of web links in the book by the same title. Peter Christian’s fine research, published through The National Archives, parallels the purpose of Expert Links: English Family History and Genealogy in organizing and categorizing valuable English family history links. He has unearthed many additional sites. Courtesy: Peter Christian.
Featured Site: (7/15/08) Access to Archives (A2A) is a national network of English and Welsh archives. Cataloguers work diligently to abstract old records in their collections. Their abstracts are uploaded to the database and made keyword searchable. For many, typed abstracts may suffice. For those who wish to feast their eyes on the original manuscripts, archives and archival references are identified. Type in a surname and see what you find! Courtesy: The National Archives.
Featured Site: (6/25/08) Many websites contain flawed pedigrees of the royal families of Europe. Harvard-educated Neil Thompson, PhD, LLB, FASG, FSG and Col. Charles M. Hansen, FASG are leading a project to publish an accurate account of the ancestry of Europe’s royalty. Visit the Graphical Index to the Ancestry of Charles II to view 149 tables of free royal pedigrees. Courtesy: Foundation for Medieval Genealogy.
Featured Site: (5/15/08) England Vital Records — News just in! FamilySearch has uploaded a large collection of English vital records. Find it under “England Baptisms 1700-1900” and “England Marriages 1700-1900.” Searches are free! Courtesy FamilySearch.
Featured Site: (5/1/08) Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy is the place to find “dark age” ancestors online. The creators of this site have found staggering numbers of old books about medieval families on the web. Of particular note, don’t miss the Victoria County History Place Index and the superb guide to thousands of Feet of Fines images and abstracts. Courtesy: Chris Phillips.
Featured Site: (4/1/08) Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1872). A key source for English research, these digitized volumes identify civil registration districts, nearby towns, and population counts for every parish in England. Detailed descriptions help genealogists gain a ‘sense of place’ for localities where ancestors resided. Courtesy: A Vision of Britain through Time, produced by the Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System (Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth).
Featured Site: (3/17/08) Staffordshire Marriage and Burial Indexes. For years, our company wrote to England by post to search Staffordshire’s superb marriage (285,000+ entries) and burial indexes (776,000+ entries). Covering Staffordshire and parishes in bordering counties, the same information can now be accessed instantly at a fraction of the cost. Courtesy: Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry, presented in association with the Federation of Family History Societies.
Featured Site: (2/18/08) Boyd’s Marriage Index is a nationwide index to English marriages culled from parish registers, bishop’s transcripts, and marriage licence paperwork. This index contains more than 7 million entries dating from 1538 through 1840. It is extremely useful for finding marriages that took place outside of the couple’s home parish. Courtesy: British Origins, presented in association with the Society of Genealogists.
Featured Site: (2/11/08) Index to Surnames in Lincolnshire Family History Society Publications contains nearly 93,000 names taken from 74 publications. A tremendous resource for those of us with Lincolnshire roots. Courtesy: Lincolnshire Family History Society.
Featured Site: (1/21/08) London Inhabitants within the Walls 1695 (see Census and Census Substitutes). In accordance with the Marriage Act Tax, officials recorded details regardings families living in the Metropolis in 1695. Returns for most London parishes survive. A reconstructed list of London residents in parishes where returns do not survive is available at the Guildhall Library in London. Courtesy: British History Online, University of London.