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English & Welsh Roots - Getting Started
Article posted: February 24, 1999
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai Biography & Archived Articles
Welcome to the first of a new series on researching your English Roots. The focus of this series will be researching your roots in the United Kingdom (UK) from afar. I should also start by clearing stating that I am not an expert in researching in England. However, like many family historians I do not have the time nor the money to visit England and English repositories. In fact, I have traced many of my family lines in England back to the early 1600s and I have never been to London! I have not had the thrill of researching in the Public Records Office or the Society of Genealogists or the Office of National Statistics and other great repositories and archives for English Research. But, my own research has been verified by distant cousins in England with access to these great places. They like me, have been amazed at how a person in Canada can access English records without having to travel to England.
How can you research in England without actually travelling there? - with great books, the internet, your local Family History Centre of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a step by step plan and careful research. It is my plan for this series to share with you the great resources and steps I have used to successfully research my English families from afar.
TYPES OF RECORDS:
There will always be some overlapping of records and time periods, however, basic research in England and Wales should utilize the records listed below at some time in your research:
Civil registration (1837 --present)
Census records: 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891
Electoral Records (1832--...) Poll Books (c1696-1872...)
Feet of Fines
Marriage indexes, marriage license allegations and bonds
Military Records and Regimental Records (1790-19--)
Non-conformist records (1567...,1689-...)
Parish Records (1538...1598 - present) & Bishops Transcripts (1598...)
Poor Law Records
Quarter Session Records (1350-present)
Wills-Probate Records (before and after 1858)
Records in the United Kingdom related to the colonies
and still more lesser known and used records.
Articles to come will examine each of the records listed above - how to find and use them without having to travel to England. Beginning in the next column I will discuss getting from here to there - with an emphasis on passenger list resources. From there we will look at the importance of the local Family History Centres (FHC) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) - perhaps your best source of both primary and secondary sources of English records. After having a firm grasp of resources available to us we can move directly into a careful examination of the various records - beginning with Civil Registration records - birth, marriage and death records (1837-present).
Here's to being gobsmacked by the challenge of English research!
About Fawne Stratford-Devai
Fawne Stratford-Devai's work on Land Records and early Ontario records is well known in the genealogy community. A published author of several Canadian and UK research books, she has also contributed articles to the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter "Families" as well as writing for the online family history newsletter the "Global Gazette". Biography
More English & Welsh Resources