Three Basic Family History Records
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Three Basic Family History Records

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Census, church and civil registration records are the basic sources for British family history.

Census, church and civil registration records are the basic sources for British family history.

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  • Holt parish register, image from http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/newsid_9396000/9396912.stm
  • The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers provides parish maps within North, Central and South Wales and includes colored lines showing the boundaries of each diocese.
  • Copied from Family history : the journal of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies FHL book# 942 B2f v. 19, no. 153 Oct. 1997
  • Llangiwg, Glamorgan parish register, DGS number 425328, image 18
  • Book: Parish Registers of Wales lists surviving parish registers.
  • Llangiwg Banns register, 1825, DGS number 433537, image 6, page 4.
  • This is the parish register for Llangiwg in 1849 & 1850 showing Howell Llewelyn.
  • http://www.freebmd.org.uk/

Three Basic Family History Records Three Basic Family History Records Presentation Transcript

  • Three Basic Family History Records: Census, Church, and Civil Registration By Darris G. Williams, AG®
  • CENSUS
  • Basic Facts
    • Lists families together providing context
    • Wales began a national census in 1801
    • 1 st complete, useful census is 1841
    • 1841 through 1911 are available
    • All are indexed by name
    • All are available online
  • Potential Problems
    • Indexes often have errors
    • Families & individuals moved
    • Naming customs were changing
    • A few records have been lost
    • Census information can be incorrect
    • 12% of the 1911 census is on Welsh forms
  • Tips for Success
    • Work from recent to remote time period
    • Find your family in each available census
    • If one index does not work try another
    • Always, always, always get a copy and write down where you found it
    • Look a few pages before and after the one with your ancestor for relatives
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  • 1841 Census on Findmypast.co.uk
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  • 1861 Census
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  • CHURCH RECORDS
  • Basic Facts
    • Beginning 1538 parishes were to record baptisms, marriages and burials
    • Few parish registers survive from 1538, most start around 1700
    • All Welsh parish registers will soon be online
  • Potential Problems
    • Indexes often have errors
    • Families & individuals moved
    • Naming customs
    • Early records have been lost
    • Not everyone attended the state church
  • Tips for Success
    • Work from recent to remote time period
    • Find the whole family not just the direct line
    • If one index does not work try another
    • Always, always, always get a copy and write down where you found it
    • Compare what you learn with other records
  • The parish was the center of the world
    • Before 1834 the parish was the both the civil and ecclesiastical center of life.
  • Parish Registers
    • Recording christenings, marriages and burials went into effect in 1538.
    • There are just over 1,000 ancient parishes (created before 1813) but only 71 survive before 1600.
    • Many parishes have no registers before 1754.
  • Jurisdictions
    • Several levels of jurisdiction applied to the area where your ancestor lived.
    • The parish and diocese are very important for searches in church records.
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  • What you need to get started
    • A place, the parish name is good
    • Having the village or farm name is best
    • Name of the ancestor
    • Reference tools
      • Gazetteers
      • Maps
      • Book: Parish Registers of Wales
  • Christenings
    • Christenings often show:
    • child’s given name
    • Father’s name
    • Mother’s name
    • Sometimes included:
    • Family residence such as the village, street or farm name
    • Father’s occupation
  • Post 1812 parish register
  • Bishop’s Transcript
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  • Marriages
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  • Marriages pre 1754
  • Pay close attention to all names
  • Typical post 1753 parish register
  • Details to watch for 1754-1837
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    • I’d like to look at a Banns register for 1818 but according to Parish Registers of Wales the records do not exist.
    • Note that the BTs start a generation earlier than PRs
  • Banns register
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  • Banns register
  • Marriage by license
  • Post 1812 Burial Register
  • Nonconformity
    • By the mid nineteenth century 80% of the population were nonconformists
    • Before 1689 and the Toleration Act nonconformity was illegal so few records were kept
    • The church was unable to cater to the spiritual needs and growth of the population
    • Nonconformity offered religion in the Welsh language
  • Growth of Nonconformity Year 1716 1742 1775 1816 1861 Chapels 110 105 171 993 2927
  • Nonconformity
    • High incidence of nonconformity
    • Many records have not been deposited. About 5,500
    • chapels existed in Wales but less than thirty per cent
    • of the registers have been deposited at a record office
    • The records may still be with the chapel
  • Nonconformity
    • No record made
    • Records may have been lost
    • Families may have traveled a considerable
    • distance to worship
  • Strategies for Success
    • Identify the chapels in the area where your ancestors lived using the 1851 religious census and the six inch to one mile scale Ordnance Survey maps http://www.old-maps.co.uk/
    • Utilize chapel records other than the registers of birth, marriage, and death/burial
  • Strategies for Success
    • Search the National Burial Index compact disc. This database
    • includes 265 thousand entries for Wales (Glamorganshire,
    • Cardiganshire, Radnorshire, Monmouthshire, and
    • Montgomeryshire only)
    • Search for burials at the parish church. Nonconformist chapels
    • seldom had their own burial ground before 1800
  • Strategies for Success
    • Search monumental inscriptions
    • Examine chapel and local histories
    • Utilize histories about the chapel, area, and denomination
    • Search records within a five mile radius of where your ancestors lived
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  • CIVIL REGISTRATION RECORDS
  • Basic Facts
    • Government registration of births, marriages and deaths began 1 July 1837
    • Local registrars sent a copy to the national office
    • Free online index is based on the national records
    • Marriages recorded at church or chapel then a copy sent to local registrar
    • Many marriages performed at Register Office
  • Potential Problems
    • The national records have many errors
    • Common names complicate index searches
    • Most certificates will cost about $15
    • Ordering certificates from local registrars requires a check in British pounds
  • Tips for success
    • Search a wider date range
    • Name variations
    • Consider a broad locality search
    • Use local registrar vs national records
    • Was the event registered late
    • Use other records verify your findings
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  • Civil Registration Birth Certificate
    • When and where born will usually give a farm or street name
    • The child’s name
    • Gender
    • 4. Name and surname of father
    • 5. Name, surname and maiden surname of mother
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