English Ancestors 17th-20th Centuries: Finding Sources and Resolving Problems
Else Churchill and Alec Tritton

 
Five days on English genealogical research focusing on the themes of the records of church and state; what did our ancestors do?, records of the underclass and underrepresented, research problems and solutions, and early administrative records.
 
STATE AND CHURCH
  1. Everybody’s registered –  Victorian registration of vital events and official census returns
The concurrent registration of birth, marriages and deaths from 1837 and the decennial censuses from 1841 are the building blocks of English genealogy. This talk will explain how to search these records online, order a certified or non-certified copy and consider what information can and can’t be found. EAC
  1. Parish documents
The parish played such a varied and important role in the lives of our ancestors that it is useful to establish if other records generated by the various officers of the parish can supplement the parish registers. AT
  1. Probate records before and after 1858
An understanding of how to find wills and related documents for England and Wales. It will look at how to best make use of sources online, in the Family History Library and still held within local record offices in England and Wales. EAC
  1. Outside the church – nonconformist records
By 1851 it was estimated that some 50% of church attendance was outside the established Church of England. So what are the signs that your ancestor may not have conformed? How were they treated? Where else can you look if they aren’t in the parish registers?AT
 
WHAT DID THEY DO?
  1. 19th Century newspapers, 18th century journals  & local directories, poll books
The British Library’s online digitisation of 19th century newspapers has opened up so many new avenues for genealogical and biographical discovery that they should often be considered the first step in your research. Whether you are looking for obituaries, discovering that your ancestors were victims of petty crime or died a gory death; the colour and social history illustrated by the newspaper reports will greatly add to your genealogy. Tradesmen, professionals and the burgeoning middle classes read prolifically and the early periodicals such as the Gentleman’s Magazine and local directories can often provide fascinating clues. EAC
  1. Apprenticeships before 1850 in the city, borough and parish
Apprenticeship provided education and opportunities for young men and (some) women and was one of the ways of becoming a freeman of a borough or a guild. This session looks at the London records at the Guildhall as well as other local town records. AT
  1. Sea, sand and sail. Employment  of the sea
England has a coastline of some 2,748 miles with no place more than 75 miles from the sea. It is not unsurprising that it is a proud seafaring nation with many family connections to employment in all sorts of roles, whether merchant seamen in trade or fishing to those that were employed in government service such as in Customs and Excise, the Coastguard service and Ridings Officers. This lecture will discuss the surviving records available and where to find them. AT
  1. Records of education
The records of local and public (i.e., private) schools, colleges and universities can provide remarkable genealogical information and insight into the lives of our ancestors from the 19th to the 17th centuries and even earlier. EAC
 
RECORDS OF THE UNDERCLASS
  1. Criminal records and transportation 
Criminal registers and calendars of prisoners, gaol deliveries and indictments from assize and other common law courts provide some background information on transportation to America and later to Australia.EAC
  1. Before the workhouse: The old poor laws
The Tudor poor laws limped on, administered by the church in its civil capacity, until it was replaced in 1834 and produced an amazing amount of information about those who did or who might become a burden on the parish.AT
  1. Tracing your women ancestors in name-rich resources
Too often ignored and under-researched, the lives of our female ancestors can and should be researched. Using some remarkable name-rich resources for the long 18th century (i.e., about 1685-1837) we shall see how such records supplement the more commonly used genealogical sources for the period. EAC
  1. Death and resurrection: The body snatchers
Burke and Hare were well known resurrection men who supplied fresh corpses to the Edinburgh Anatomical Schools often by murder. Each London anatomical student needed at least three bodies during their training. The only legitimate supply was from the gallows which yielded just 52 bodies in 1831. So was Edinburgh the only place to have seen murder just for the trade in human corpses, or did London have its own "burkers"? AT
 
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
  1. London problems and solutions
Tracing London ancestors in a burgeoning city is a challenge. This talk explains what is meant by London, the unique records for the city and what we now recognise as Greater London. We will suggest some problems of locating information about vital events and why these records can be difficult to find. EAC
  1. Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria
As London grew with an average of 20,000 burials per year, at least one graveyard was burying at the rate of 2300 bodies per acre per year. In 1832 Parliament passed a bill encouraging the establishment of private cemeteries outside London, and later passed a bill to completely close all inner London churchyards. Over the next decade 7 cemeteries were set up - the "Magnificent Seven".  By 1895 there were still 362 identifiable burial grounds in London, of which 41 were still in use. This lecture will discuss the growth of London burial grounds and the need for cemeteries and crematoria and where to look for the records. AT
  1. London church court records
The church upheld the morality of its citizens and an appearance before the courts as a plaintiff or witness was very common. This session looks at the records and cases generated by the courts as a useful genealogical resource from 1600-1800. EAC
  1. I’m stuck. Ideas for tracing your elusive English ancestor
Everyone comes up against a brick wall in research and this session will look at some ideas for localising where your ancestors came from and some techniques for searching English records and resources. EAC
 
EARLY ADMINISTRATION
  1. County records – JPs petty and quarter sessions
The Justices of the Peace undertook considerable administrative duties as well as dealing with local justice and criminals. Hence the sessions minutes and act books held in county record offices provide invaluable information about alehouse keepers, badgers, debtors and insolvent persons, gamekeepers, electors, jurors and freeholders, oath-takers, papists, freemasons, prisoners and taxpayers.AT
  1. 17th century problems, strategies and searches
With so much migration into Virginia and New England by the mid-17th century, this session will look at the possible sources that might help extend research back in England. EAC
  1. An introduction to manorial documents
Understanding the manors where your ancestors might have lived and worked may provide information from the manorial court records, rentals and estate records. This session will show how to find manorial records and some examples of the genealogical information they may yield. AT
  1. Hopping the pond. Essential biographical and genealogical reference resources and techniques to find the elusive ancestor
This session will look at the resources of the Society of Genealogists, printed and unpublished pedigrees and online resources. EAC