England

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The England Jurisdictions 1851 Map at Family Search is an invaluable tool for those doing research in England.

First you see a map with all the counties of England highlighted in colours. Click on your county of choice. I chose Cheshire. You then get a list of options such as: List all parishes in Cheshire, list all counties contiguous to Cheshire, search the Family History Library Catalog, search the FamilySearch Research Wiki and the option to remove selection.

If you click on list all parishes you get an alphabetical listing of the parishes in Cheshire. I decided to click Stalybridge, St. Paul, Cheshire. The map then hones in on Stalybridge and highlights the parish. There are three tabs: Info, Jurisdictions and Options.

Info tells me that it is an “Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cheshire, created in 1840 from Mottram in Longendale Ancient Parish” I also get the years when records began. The parish register [PR] began in 1839 and the bishops transcripts [BT] began in 1782. If you scroll down further you find a listing of the Non-Church of England denominations in Stalybridge.

Jurisdictions tells me the place, county, civil registration district, probate court along with dates and names of the courts, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred and province. This information will help with further research.

The Options tab provides five choices: list contiguous parishes, radius search, search the Family History Library Catalog, Search the FamilySearch Research Wiki and remove selection.

The radius search is another great tool. You can do a radius search of Stalybridge for ¼, ½, 1, 3, 5, 10 and 15 miles. I chose a five mile radius. The map now provides a red circle with the highlighted parish of Stalybridge in the centre with a cross marking the centre of the circle. On the left hand side of the page is a list of parishes within a five mile radius of Stalybridge. It gives you the distance of these parishes from Stalybridge. If you click on the name of another parish the map will move to that parish and provide information relating to it.

If you click on the centre of the red circle you get more options: move radius, search here, add another radius search of – miles, remove radius search.

On the left hand side is a tab called layers and you can add extra layers to the map. You already have parish (Chapelry and Extra Parochial) and county but you can add civil registration district, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, province, division and ordnance survey. You can also decide to change the map to a Google Street Map or a Google Satellite map.

In the top right corner you have three options: zoom to selection, reset view and reset map. You can zoom into the map to get closer to the parish. This is really useful when you have Ordnance Survey map as the choice. It will only let you zoom in so far which means you can not get down to street level. To get to street level use the map navigation bars and zoom options on the left hand side of the map. The red background of the Ordnance Survey map does make it a little difficult to read the black lettering on the map. The purple highlight over the parish makes it even more difficult again to read the names and markings on the map.

You have the choice to link or print and save the map. There is a feedback option to help Family Search gather our comments on their products. The last option is a question mark for help.

When you click on search Family History Library Catalog it will show you if there are any records available in the library for that parish.

This is a great tool for any family historian researching in England. It provides information on available church records in England. I have family in Stalybridge but they are not always found in the records. This provides me with information on surrounding parishes and those parishes that are not Church of England but another denomination.

Why not go in and play with this map and see what new information you may be able to find about the area in England where your family originated.

The National Archives of England have a database called A2A or Access to Archives. It is part of the UK archives network. The database is made up of catalogues which describe what is in many local archives across England and Wales. The records go from the eighth century to modern day.

The information comes from local record offices, libraries, universities, museums and national and specialist institutions across England and Wales but it is not all inclusive.

No new information being added to the database but that does not diminish its importance.

When you click on a reference found in A2A you will find a link to the repository holding the original documentation. This link will provide you with the information needed to contact them and what you need to know if you decide to go there to view the documents.

The amount of detail found in the descriptions depends on the originating facility. If you want to find more information on the catalogue entry then contact the relevant repository.

You can not view any images on A2A but you can contact the repository to see if a copy can be made of the document and what the reproduction fee would be.

I have used this database many times. Once I found a record and when I contacted the repository they told me that all the family detail was in the description on A2A and that the record would not be able to be copied because of preservation reasons. Still I was able to get the family details from the document.

Once I found a real gem, a letter from an ancestor requesting a person of nobility’s support in obtaining a post at Dublin Castle. This and other information in the letter was fantastic not to mention the letter was written by my ancestor in 1767. As a result I have his signature and a sample of his handwriting which is something rarely found for that time period.

When searching A2A you may find something in Derbyshire that seems to relate to your family but they lived in London. Remember that family papers and other items were not always placed in a repository near where they lived. They may have had dealings with someone whose home was in another county so therefore their papers were placed in that family’s home county archives or local record office.

Keep an open mind and follow up every lead.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

The Historic Hospital Records database is the “home of 19th century children’s hospital records.” They provide historical background, academic resources and links to help with your research. A searchable database is also available. You can register for free and have access to more detailed information along with the ability to download and print the results of your searches.

The databases provide searchable Admission Registers for the following hospitals: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (London) 1852-1914, Cromwell House (London) 1869-1910, the Evelina (London) 1874-1877/1889-1902, Alexandra Hospital for Hip Disease (London) 1867-1895, Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Glasgow) 1883-1903.

You will find a section with general articles which includes an index. It provides background information on the subject of health and health care in Britain in the 19th century. Another useful tool is the Glossary of Medical Terms to help you understand the medical terms found in the records.

For those with connections to London and Glasgow it is well worth searching these databases to see if any children can be found in their records.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

Recently in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, through a Freedom of Information request, the 1939 National Register has become available to researchers. You can only get it for people who are deceased and you need a name and address to request the information.

The information gathered was to provide everyone with their National Identity Card and with the evacuations and mobilization it needed to be done quickly. The date was 29 September 1939.

The questions asked were name, address, gender, birth date, marital status, occupation and whether you had any membership in any kind of military forces which included Civil Defense Services and a like.

In England the fee to get this information is 43 GBP. In Scotland you would pay 13 GBP.

Since the register entries became available in England and Scotland, Northern Ireland has also started to release their information. It is not as easy to get the information yet, mainly because of the large amount of files and the fact that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is getting ready for a big move and will be closed from September 2010 to May 2011. You can read a description of how to order the registration from Northern Ireland at the Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog. I would recommend reading this blog regularly if you have Scottish ancestors.

Remember one thing – this is only for Northern Ireland. The war was after Home Rule and the South of Ireland was not officially involved in the Second World War.

What I find very interesting is that this information is only coming to light now in the United Kingdom. In Canada we had a similar national registration but ours is called the 1940 National Registration. The public have been able to order copies of this registration for a long time. You need to prove the person is deceased twenty years and a newspaper death notice is accepted. You also need to provide as much identifying information as possible. The fee is $47.25, which includes the GST, and will not be refunded if the search is negative. You can find details for ordering a copy at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

I have ordered this information several times and it provides much more information than the 1939 National Registration. The information includes: name, address, age, date of birth, marital status, number of dependents, place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents, nationality, year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant), racial origin, languages, education, general health, occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills and previous military service.

There are two forms one for men and one for women. Copies of these can be found on the website. Every man and women 16 years of age and over had to complete these forms except for members of the armed forces, religious orders or those confined to an institution. If they died between 1940 and 1946 then it is possible that the form was destroyed. Try anyway because I know of some instances when this was not the case. It can also take upwards of three months to get the registration.

The information I received when I got the 1940 National Registration form was an abstract of basic information like name, place, age, etc, then a copy of the form that had been transcribed and a copy of the original form. I was very glad they sent the original because where the transcriber was not able to decipher the writing I could decipher it. The copy of the original is not very good but careful study can provide more accurate information.

If you are researching someone who was alive during this time period in Canada I would recommend getting a copy of their 1940 National Registration. It could prove to be very enlightening.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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