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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - Summary of English & Welsh Resources
Article posted: July 27, 1999
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles

Fawne Stratford-Devai is on vacation. Before she left she suggested our webmaster construct a column containing a single list of all of the on-line, and other resources she has shared with readers, since the column began.

This week's issue brings fourteen pages of great web-sites, helpful books, and other valuable resources for those researching their English and Welsh roots. Enjoy!

English and Welsh Roots Back Issues:

Here's a list of the direct links to Fawne's English & Welsh Roots articles published to date:
Online resources:

LDS Family History Center

Mark Howells has a very good site to help researchers getting started and more detailed explanations and tips for everyone wanting to use and understand the resources of LDS Family History Centers. Visit the website at:

There is also a tutorial to help researchers better understand "the largest collection in the world". Visit the following website:

Terry Morgan provides a website introduction to Family History Centers at:

The main LDS website offers clear explanations of their history and role in family history research:

The UK and Ireland Genealogy website also includes some information about the LDS at:

Australia Australia

Australian online indexes for passenger lists are growing everyday. For example: Immigration Indexes in Victoria Australia can be found on the Public Record Office - Victoria's Archives page at: Those researching in Australia will also know the importance of Convict lists. Lists of the First Fleet transported in 1787 from Portsmouth on 11 vessels can be found at: A list of the Second (1790) and Third Fleets (1791) can also be found at: . Cyndi's List has a page devoted to Australian and New Zealand passenger lists:

The State Records website can be found at: They offer a variety of research services, including a convict research service and similar services if you are unable to consult the records in person.

Other Online resources for ships passenger lists are growing daily. For example, an indexed list of Ship Arrivals and Passenger Lists from Britain to Victoria, Australia 1852 - 59 can be found at

The Dead Persons Society web site (Perth Australia) includes lists of convicts as well as their stories, shipping and passenger lists, military lists and many other links around Australia. Their web site can be found at:

Canada Canada

Online sources for Canada are as varied as the growing number of web pages. Many such lists are local or county based. For example:
Prince Edward Island Ships Information and databases can be found at:

The Nova Scotia Genweb project includes a database of Cornwallis Ships to Halifax in 1749:

Marj Kohli (host of the Waterloo county Genweb site and many other web pages) has compiled a number of interesting reports and lists of immigrants from Sessional papers and other sources. Marj's sessional papers site can be found at:

In addition Marj has a great site for those interested in the immigration of children and young people: .

A good starting point for provincial and county web sites is the Canada Genweb site: or Canadian Genealogy and History Links: . For Ontario, the Ontario Genweb pages:

The National Archives of Canada holds microfilm copies of the passenger manifests of ships arriving at various ports within Canada beginning in 1865. For more information on the records that do survive, visit the National Archives web site: . Records of immigrants arriving at Canadian land and sea ports from 1 January 1936 onwards remain in the custody of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Requests for copies of landing records should be directed to : Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Public Rights Administration, 300 Slater Street, 3rd Floor, Section D, OTTAWA, Ontario, K1A 1L1

The National Archives Miscellaneous Immigration Index (a nominal card index to some of early passenger records) is now available online through inGeneas at: [important note: the early passenger records database is free, however, this is also a commercial service]. The miscellaneous index relates mostly to immigrants from the British Isles to Quebec and Ontario between the years 1801 and 1849 and only cover the few lists that have turned up here and there in the National Archives.

United Kingdom United Kingdom

UK and Ireland Genealogy - Genuki:
The premier website for researching in the United Kingdom. Most Family History Societies have very helpful pages - including lists and information about the parishes in their counties. There is extensive information for all areas of England and Wales.

Cyndi's List - England:

Church location database:
The church location database was developed from one originally provided by Gerry Lawson, containing information about the location of over 14000 churches and register offices. You can search it via the web and even ask for all the other entries within a specific distance. Alternatively you can download a copy of the database.

Index to English and Welsh Register Offices:

The Church in Wales:
This website provides basic factual information about all Welsh parishes (ancient and modern), with e-mail addresses and URLs where available.

The London Jews Database:
Compiled by Jeffrey Maynard, this is a database of names addresses and some other information about Jews who lived in London, UK, in the first half of the nineteenth century. It has been compiled principally from London trade directories of the period, with a few other sources, such as subscription lists and some printed obituaries.

Parish Register Copies in the Library of the Society of Genealogists (as of December 1994):
Details are kept to the minimum necessary to determine whether the Society possesses material for a particular place and the time period covered. Note however that no distinction is made as to the nature of the material listed which may be transcriptions of Parish Registers or of Bishop's Transcripts or, in the case of microforms, reproductions of the original documents.

Northumberland: Transcripts/indexes of Parish Registers:
Transcripts/indexes list for Parish Registers of Northumberland Parishes.

The Parishes of Oxfordshire:
This list shows the parishes of pre-1974 Oxfordshire.

UK BDM Exchange:
The purpose of the site is to provide a free resource to genealogists who wish to share information about details contained on birth, death or marriage certificates registered in the UK. In addition they now have a section for the exchange of information found in UK Parish Records. Who knows, maybe someone has already looked at the parish register where one of your ancestors were noted.

Online Marriage Index Transcriptions for selective portions of the central marriage indexes. As part of the work leading up to his book, A Comedy of Errors, Mike Foster of New Zealand extracted extensive portions of the main marriage indexes for specific years and quarters and essentially reconstituted others. These files are available online with Mike's permission at the following web site:www.cs.ncl/

Civil Registration in England and Wales explained by the premier website for researching in the UK - Genuki:

The General Register Office (GRO) is part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in England. The website of the ONS is found at:

FreeBMD Project - FreeBMD stands for Free Births, Marriages, and Deaths. The FreeBMD Project's objective is to provide free Internet access to the Civil Registration index information from England and Wales. The website is located at: .

For an excellent web site that not only discusses ordering birth registrations certificates but also provides clear examples of what the certificates look like, visit Mark Howells website at: .

Index of Places in England and Wales provided on the GENUKI website. An important resource that shows for each place listed, the county and registration district in which the place was situated during the years 1837-1930. The website is located at: .

The website address for the The Family Records Centre where the central indexes are available for researchers to view when visiting the Centre in person at 1 Mydlleton Street, Islington, London, England is:

Civil Registration in England and Wales explained by the premier website for researching in the UK - Genuki:

Ordering certificates from the local district register office: For a list of English and Welsh Register Offices visit the GENUKI site at:

How to find civil registration records: The original central registers of births, marriages and deaths kept by the government are now at the The Family Records Centre, 1 Mydlleton Street, Islington, London, England for the years 1837-1997. The Family Records Centre is online at: . Unfortunately, the general public is NOT allowed to view the original registers in any form. Instead, researchers must make use of the central indexes for births, marriages and deaths. Once the event has been located in the indexes, certificates can be ordered from the General Register Office.

A list of Registration District Codes and further details is also online by Mike Wheatley at:

Public Record Office: readers/frcleaflets/censusmain.htm For additional information about English census records written by the institution that is responsible for taking care of surviving census records and making them available to researchers this site is a must for all researchers. The Public Record Office has provided a wonderful collection of leaflets and other handouts and information online. To learn more about census records, visit their main census leaflet page at: readers/frcleaflets/censusmain.htm

The Census Enumerators' Books: census/cebs.htm. This site is a university sociology site but offers all researchers information about the Census Enumerator's Books, including their accuracy.

Using the 1881 Census - Background information on the 1881 Census: The new LDS Family search site includes many of the guides and printed resources provided for many years in local Family History Centers of the LDS for researchers. Their source guide for using and understanding the 1881 Census gives extremely important background information about the census. When reference is made in the guide to fiche - please remember the guide was written before the modern days of CDS - when use was made of pink, green and other coloured fiche. Most importantly, the guide includes the list of standardized abbreviations for the relationships to the heads of households, and the 3 letter "where born" abbreviations. Check out the guide at:

British Genealogy Abbreviations and Acronyms: This extensive list of abbreviations and acronyms found in British genealogical research is provided by John Hitchcock of GenDocs.

Ranks, Professions, Occupations and Trades: This large list of ranks, professions, occupations and trades encountered by researchers when searching British records is provided by John Hitchcock of GenDocs.

List of Occupations: Ever wondered what an ADVERTISEMENT CONVEYANCER was? How about a sandwich board man! This is a great website listing occupations of which many are archaic. This list is a must for those of us trying to understand changing occupations and their labels over time.

Searchable Database of Places in the 1891 Census: uk/big/census_place.html This database covers England, Wales and the Isle of Man and returns the County, Registration District, Registration Sub-District, PRO Piece Number and LDS Film Number.

United States United States of America

The National Archives and Records Administration (US National Archives [NARA]) does not have passenger lists of vessels arriving before January 1, 1820. There are, however, two exceptions to this general rule: arrivals at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1813-1819 and arrivals at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800-1819 - both have been reproduced on microfilm for researchers. For more information visit the immigration records website of NARA:

The NARA website is really your best starting point for additional information on US immigrant records:

New York State Library: Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors

Steamship Historical Society of America Collection, University of Baltimore Library, . Photos of ships can be ordered from the Library for a nominal fee.

Texas Seaport Museum, Galveston TX,

Immigration History Research Center. For an overview of genealogical resources visit their website at:

The Balch Institute is dedicated to documenting and interpreting America's multicultural heritage, and is the home of a unique collection relating to more than one hundred ethnic groups. Its web site provides a guide a wealth of online information:

Published resources:

The Censuses 1841-1891 use and interpretation: A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin. The 7th edition has been fully revised. This absolutely invaluable guide explains what a census is, how they were compiled, where to find them and how to interpret them. A must for those working with the various census from 1841-1891.

Local census listings 1522-1930: by Jeremy Gibson and Mervyn Medlycott Lists holdings of early census listings in the UK. Civil censuses in Britain prior to 1841 were purely statistical surveys, so a detailed list of local censuses for the whole period 1522 to 1930 is an incredible research tool for family historians.

Marriage, Census and Other Indexes for Family Historians: by J.S.W Gibson & Elizabeth Hampson. This Guide is arranged in the order of the pre 1974 counties of England and Wales, followed by Scotland and Ireland, and various non-localised specialist indexes. Within each county section, indexes are listed under the headings of Marriage, Census and Specialist Indexes.

Index to Census Registration Districts- 1841 to 1891: Compile by M.E. Bryant Rosier The sixth edition of this 14 page guide is an invaluable listing of the Registration Districts for each county and their corresponding piece number assigned by the Public Record Office. Each 10 year period has a separate column and the relevant reel numbers relate to the number of bundles within the Record Classes. Each class is subsequently divided into bundles and given a 'piece' number. When the Census Records are microfilmed such references are shown on each frame. It is hard enough to sort out which registration district your ancestor lived in, yet alone the piece number assigned to it at the Archives when they were filed and microfilmed. This little book is a very helpful aid.

A Genealogical Gazetteer of England. by Frank Smith The only book of its kind, this indispensable reference tool with its 17,000 entries is designed to facilitate research by giving the names and descriptions of places in England as they existed prior to 1831, giving location, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, population, and the date of the earliest entry in the registers of every ancient parish.

Genealogical Research in Victorian London: By Cliff Webb. The author informs us there are few areas of genealogical research as difficult or expensive than searching in Victorian London, due to the sheer number of people and records available. This is particularly true when dealing with census records and registration districts. This booklet intends to help by discussing the problems, and supplying ideas and aids to research which solve them.

Your English Ancestry, A Guide for North Americans - revised edition by Sherry Irvine. Chapter 3 discusses census records in detail...from their content and availability to research strategies and a simple step-by-step summary at the end of the chapter.

The Philmore ATLAS and INDEX of Parish Registers by Cecil Humphery-Smith. The atlas is the classic reference work for family history. Contains maps of the counties split into parishes and ecclesiastical divisions. Also contains lists of the availability of the parish registers for each county. This is a priceless reference book for anyone researching in England and Wales.

Parish Maps of the Counties of Great Britain by The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. These are individual large copies of the maps incorporated into the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers.

Index to Parishes in Phillimore's Marriages, Compiled by: M.E. Bryant Rosier, published by Family Tree Magazine. This booklet contains the index to "Phillimore's Marriages"; printed volumes of transcribed marriages for many parishes in almost every county, usually up to 1812, but in certain cases beyond.

Parish Registers A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin. This invaluable little guide offers clear and concise information about all aspects of Parish registers and records.

Simple Latin for Family Historians- A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin. This guide in intended for the family historian who has never learned any Latin, or whose memory does not retain many of the standard words, which are to be found regularly in parish registers.

Marriage, Census and Other Indexes for Family Historians. By J.S.W. Gibson & Elizabeth Hampson. The nature of the indexes has changed since the guide first appeared, and now many more have been published. Most published marriage and census indexes are included in this invaluable guide.

Bishops' Transcripts and Marriage Licenses, Bonds and Allegations, A Guide to Their Location and Indexes. By J.S.W. Gibson. English marriage records were maintained in a wide variety of ecclesiastical courts. Anyone searching for marriage records prior to 1837, when civil registration was introduced, will find this simplified guide to be of inestimable value. This new edition includes maps of ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

Adjoining Parishes Of Glamorgam, South Wales by Mary Kearns Trace . Sooner or later all family researchers loose track of an ancestor. The search is much easier if you are researching in South Wales thanks to this little guide.

The Family Tree Detective- Tracing Your Ancestors in England Wales (3rd edition) by Colin D. Rogers. Welcomed worldwide on it's first publication, this user-friendly, lively guide for the amateur genealogist has now been fully revised and updated, including changes to the location and cost of civil registration sources and many more resources. The book includes extensive information church records, baptisms, marriages, burials with great hints and tips and extensive references to alternative sources if registers are not available.

A Comedy of Errors or The Marriage Records of England and Wales 1837-1899 by Michael Foster. This ground breaking book clearly demonstrates the sad "incompetence" of the central registration system. The research results are at once both interesting and disturbing.

Family Tree Magazine [Global Genealogy have a large stock of current and old issues in their physical store, however they don't list them online. Call them at 613-257-7878 if there is a specific issue that you are looking for and they will be mail it to you (small S&H fee applies).] in particular try and find the back issues for October 1998, November 1998 and December 1998 and read Pauline Litton's always enlightening "Pitfalls and possibilities in family history research" - these three issues feature Civil Registration Records Pitfalls and possibilities.

Illegitimacy- A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin

Unpublished Personal Name Indexes in Record Offices and Libraries. A Gibson Guide. By J.S.W Gibson

Record Offices--How to Find Them. A Gibson Guide. By J.S.W. Gibson, and Pamela Peskett .

by JeanCole and John Titford First Steps in Family History - A McLaughlin Guide by Eve McLaughlin .

Making the Most of the I.G.I. - by Eve McLaughlin.

I.G.I. on Computer: The International Genealogical Index from CD-ROM - by David Hawgood (1998).

Tracing Your Family Tree by Jean Cole and John Titford Chapter 3 of this excellent book describes in detail National census returns, where to find them and much more. It also includes a great list of hints and reminders .


In this section we have compiled every last "extra bit" from Fawne's articles. There is really no particular order to these usefull pieces of info, but be assured that each item is as important to English and Welsh roots as the next.

UKGenWeb Project: This growing website contains links to the countries that make up the UKGenWeb Project. The UKGenWeb maintains query and surname pages for each county/shire in the project.

Welsh GenWeb Project: The Welsh GenWeb Project is up and running as part of the larger UKGenWeb Project. This site should definitely be a stop on the internet highway for those with Welsh interests.

Copyright at the Public Record Office: Great news for those of us who work with and transcribe historic archival records: From 26th March 1999, the Crown will in future waive its copyright in Crown copyright material in public records that are available to the public and that were unpublished when they were transferred. This means that such material can be copied, indexed, transcribed, published and broadcast without formal permission, payment of a copyright fee or acknowledgement of copyright. The change affects not only public records in the PRO but also those in all places of deposit outside the PRO, the National Archives of Scotland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Material in private copyright, published Crown copyright material, and non-public records are all unaffected. Visit the web site: Guidelines for Those Who Propose To Reproduce Works Among Records Held in the Public Record Office at:

The National Library of Wales:
Aberystwyth, Dyfed SY23 3BU (tel: 01970 632800, email: The major repository of information relevant to Welsh genealogy, such as Bishop's Transcripts of Parish Registers, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, Nonconformist Records, Probate Records, Tithe Maps and Apportionment Schedules, Legal and Administrative Records, Estate Records and Personal Papers, Pedigree Books, Newspapers, etc. See for example the Guide to the Department of Manuscripts and Records, and in particular its Appendix: Index to Holdings, and the leaflet Guide to Genealogical Sources at the National Library of Wales. (There is also a Welsh version of this leaflet). Visit their web site for more detailed information:

Want to see a blank baptism record for England: visit the following site for a pdf version of a blank record:

Index of Cheshire Parishes: The list includes the townships, civil parishes and extra-parochial places in Cheshire prior to the boundary changes of 1974.

Are you looking for place names in Manchester and surrounding towns ?
The Greater Manchester Gazetteer enables searchers to locate registration districts as they were based on poor law unions. The Gazetteer is part of the Greater Manchester County Record Office site at:

England Lookup Exchange: The purpose of this page is to provide a county-by-county list of English resources made available by volunteers for free look-ups. Please note that the co-ordinators serve an administrative function ONLY. Contact them if you have questions about volunteering. They are not research consultants, nor can they provide lookups not covered by volunteers. Please check the relevant county page for what is on offer.

Parish Records information for The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man:

Jersey: The old parochial registers for the 12 parishes of Jersey were generally written in French. Some parishes records date back to the sixteenth century. The original records appear to be in the care of each parish. I understand that all registers are in the process of being indexed. The indexes are available through the Channel Islands Family History Society (Hilgrove Street, Saint Helier, Jersey) and in the library of the Société Jersiaise More up-to-date information as well as starting dates for the various parishes are available through the societies web sites.

Guernsey and neighbouring islands: All parochial registers for the ten parishes of Guernsey and the two island dependencies are with the individual parish churches. The Family History Section of La Société Guernesiaise has been involved in indexing some of the Parish Church registers of births, marriages and deaths.

The Isle of Man: The Manx Museum holds copies of all the old registers for the Isle of Man up to the 1880s on microfilm. Additional information is available through the Isle of Man Family History Society

Have you joined a local Family History Society in England? Many family history societies have surname registers, offer free look-ups from various sources, and have publications and books for purchase. Their holdings are detailed, and an on-line registration form may be available. A membership in a local family history society is extremely beneficial - you can draw from members expertise; order photocopies of parish register transcripts and other published indexes; request a search of their computerized indexes for all occurances of your surname(s) as well as have access to their newsletters, which often detail the history of the area and even include regular lists and indexes to little known local records. A good starting point for finding local Family History Societies is the GENUKI web site:
For Societies in England:
For Societies in Wales:
For the Channel Islands:
For the Isle of Man:

Did you know? There is a contemporary account of the procedure of Emigration from the port of Liverpool to the New World and the Colonies from an article printed in the Illustrated London News on Saturday July 6th 1850 - read it online at: Do you have an ancestor that was adopted? If you are in need of United Kingdom adoption information visit ADOPTION INTERLINK UK at: .

Researching in the Channel Islands? Researching your genealogy in the Island's of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark, Alderny and Herm - visit the web page of Alex Glendinning - Alex is the Vice-Chairman of the Channel Islands Family History Society (CIFHS) see his web site at: . Also be sure to visit CHANNEL ISLANDS GENEALOGY on the web at:

Researching in the Isle of Man? A good online starting point can be found at:

Searching for the fallen in both world wars? The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is charged with the task of maintaining records of all those who died whilst serving with Commonwealth forces during the First and Second World Wars. A full set of these records are held at the Commission's Head Office in Maidenhead, United Kingdom, (and at its offices in other countries) and staff are available to help enquirers locate a particular grave or a name on a memorial. This service is carried out free of charge for relatives of the casualty concerned, but other enquirers have to pay a small fee for the service. The Commission now have their own web site which has an online database of over 1.5 million graves from both World Wars. The Commission online can be found at: Please note: the information provided in the Commission's register is all the information available for that person. The Commission does not have service records or regimental histories. The website is experiencing some 600,000 hits a week - if the response time is slow - please be patient.

Popular History Topics:
Take a broader view of history with the new Popular History Topics website at the PRO. Favourite Subjects in the PRO [National Archives] include: the Titanic; World War One Information; Secret Agents in World War Two; Nazi Gold and British Secret Services: MI5. The Popular History Topics website can be found at:

Did you know? In Wales and Monmouthshire only, the 1891 census included an extra column for 'Language Spoken' which required either 'English', 'Welsh' or 'Both' to be entered.

Public Records Office Leaflets:
Great information for researchers to learn about the collections at the PRO whether you are able to visit the PRO or not, these leaflets are filled with information about a host of records. Visit the main index site to these important information leaflets at:

The Commission on Historical Manuscripts: The Commission was set up by Royal Warrant in 1869 to enquire and report on collections of papers of value for the study of British history in private hands. In 1959 a new warrant enlarged these terms of reference to include all British historical records, wherever situated, outside the Public Records and gave it added responsibilities as a central coordinating body to promote, assist and advise on their proper preservation and storage. The Commission has published 239 volumes of reports. It also maintains the Manorial Documents Register on behalf of the Master of the Rolls, and ARCHON, the gateway for archivists in the UK and repositories with manuscript material for British history.

Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments of England: The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England and English Heritage united on 1 April 1999 to form a single lead body for the conservation, management, enjoyment and understanding of England's historic environment. The National Monuments Record is the public archive of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. It holds over 12 million items including old and new photographs, maps, reports and surveys as well as complete coverage of the country in aerial photographs. Visit the Royal Commission site and learn more at:

Have you ever wondered what the family tree of royalty looks like? The British Monarchy Web site now has a link to their Family Tree online showing the relationships between The Queen and other European Sovereigns. There is also an expanded profile of Henry VIII, as well as a History of the Scottish Crown. Prince Andrew's newest addition to the site is called, "Royal Insight: A monthly guide to the life and work of Britain's Royal Family." All pages are accessible from the official site at:

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

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