English Genealogical Research before 1837
Amy Harris, PhD, AG

Level: Intermediate
Suggested prerequisites: Need to know where (parish/village/city) the ancestor(s) lived. Best suited for those already familiar with English census and civil registration records.
English research before the institution of civil registration (1837) and the existence of genealogically useful censuses (1841) can be tricky.  With high rates of religious nonconformity, relatively high rates of mobility, and records with limited explicit information, research between 1750 and 1840 often proves complicated. This track concentrates on that period, but much of it is also applicable to any post-1690 research. It focuses on methodology, using indirect evidence, and hands-on case studies.
Covered material:
  • Learn how to use nineteenth-century English records to gather clues for eighteenth-century research
  • Learn about using indirect and circumstantial evidence to answer genealogical questions
  • Learn about online academic and community-indexed databases for English research
  • Understand the content of English church records (including Catholic and Nonconformist records) – and their changes over time
  • Assess and analyze church records’ content changes over time and how that affects research methods
  • Understand probate records’ language and content
  • Navigate the complex pre-1858 probate jurisdictions
  • Learn how to use probate records expansively to solve genealogical problems
  • Learn about content and coverage of tax, militia, poor law, and apprenticeship records