Copyright © 2008  Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved

Introduction

The purpose of this section is to provide help and tips to family historians regardless of whether you are new to the hobby or have some experience, whether you are disabled or enabled, UK based or overseas.

Our intention is to provide a basic guide to the availability of resources and not to teach Granny to suck eggs (assuming you can find the aforesaid Granny in the first place of course!)

Index

Please click to view the following

General Advice
Family & Relatives
Internet
Genuki
Mailing Lists
Archives
Family History Centres
Professional Researchers
Societies
Civil Registration
Parish Registers
Census
Wills
Electoral Registers
Recommended Research Aids
Summary

General Advice

By and large, we have ignored commercial websites and organisations – they should be capable of promoting their own services without a free advert from Knightroots!

We would stress that personally validated research is best – it enhances the fun factor of this great hobby although even the most experienced researchers will admit to needing a helping hand every now and then. We would recommend that every event in the history of your family should be verified at least twice from different sources and preferably three times.

Lies, bad memories (deliberate and accidental), wrong names and/or ages, mistranscriptions, bad handwriting all lead to mistakes and wrong conclusions – particularly double check data provided by third parties if you can – don’t just accept that the family tree that someone who you don’t know sends from the USA and which takes you back 400 years in the blink of an eye is correct – everyone makes mistakes.

An internet connection alone will not be sufficient to complete a family tree!

Family & Relatives

The first step is to interview family members – but don’t forget your 90 year old uncle may have a bad memory, may have been told wrong himself or there may be dark family secrets such as illegitimacy, affairs or liaisons with ladies of “negotiable affection”. Of course there may be simple exaggeration – we were told of an ancestor who was a “Captain in the Ghurkhas” and who turned out to be a 2nd lieutenant in the army reserves!

Ask for the names of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts – when and where were they born, married and died.

Ask to see and preferably copy old family photos but don’t forget to ask who is in them, when and where they were taken and what was the occasion.

Ask where ancestors lived, what their occupations were, military records. Once the mind has been jogged, there is often no end to the anecdotes and memories that can come flooding out – be patient, make notes – relatives may be reluctant to talk at first or say they don’t know anything – explain that there is no hidden agenda – that you are simply interested in the past.

Do review everything that is told to you and compare notes given by different relatives – Aunt Aggie may have a different story from Aunt Elsie but between them, the truth probably lurks.

REMEMBER – all information is relative!!

So – where can you go and to whom can you turn once you have exhausted (probably literally!) the relatives.

Internet

By now you should have a basic framework for your tree and know in which areas of the country you will be conducting your research. Let us say straight away that the internet is a wonderful thing and there is a great deal of information available at the click of a button or the despatch of an email.  We have made so many friends worldwide as a result of family history.

However, the internet also carries some rubbish – some of which is chargeable! We do not believe that a family tree can be completed by the use of a computer alone – it is impossible to verify data. A genealogist is like a good chef – he always checks his sources! (groan).

Genuki

Probably the first site to check is the Genealogical Information Service for the UK & Ireland - also known as “Genuki” – at www.genuki.org.uk  .This is a free to use site, maintained by volunteers.

To get to the region of your choice (for the purpose of this example, we will use Hampshire) , first, click on “UK & Ireland” and then the  “England” link which can be found to the left of the map of the British Isles. You will be presented with a list of Counties – click on “Hampshire” and then scroll down and you will see a list of sub-headings that are in turn linked to comprehensive information about different aspects of family history and will tell you what the next step is and suggestions as to the resources available to the researcher.

You can select any Country or County in the British Isles – the available data varies from County to County. We will deal with some of the specific areas of Genuki later in this document.

Mailing Lists

One of the best tools in genealogy is the ability to talk to like minded people – some of whom may even have the same research interests as yourself ………....and so it came to pass that Mailing Lists were created…………

Mailing Lists are groups of people (Listers) who are interested in either specific places (i.e. Counties or Cities) or occupations for instance. Each list has a List Owner or List Administrator who is responsible for maintaining and moderating the  list, dealing with additions and deletions from membership, ensuring that postings stay on topic and that normal email etiquette is followed.

Subscription is FREE and Listers email the list posting research interests and replying where they feel they can help with other lister’s queries. Some Listers sit in the background and “lurk” and this is quite acceptable. Remember though the old maxim “you only get out what you put in”.

Keep within the basic rules – don’t post virus warnings or commercial emails and above all, keep on topic.

 The main group of mailing lists is sponsored  by Rootsweb (international including the UK)

To check whether there is a list relevant to you, go to:

http://lists.rootsweb.com/
 

where you will be able to follow the instructions on how to subscribe. Alternatively, just go to the “Links” section on this website where you will find links to subscribe to the lists that we run  - which  are the lists for Hampshire, Wessex, Southampton and the Portsmouth & Gosport region.

Archives

So…where are the real records? The originals and filmed or microfiche copies and photocopies of parish records are available for personal inspection at a variety of places which fall under the general heading of “archives”.

The major repository in the UK is the National Archive (formerly the Public Record Office) at Kew. Full details of opening hours as well as the catalogue of holdings can be viewed and searched on-line at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/. It is essential to either carry out research in person or to hire a researcher as the Archive staff are not able to undertake searches. Although admission is free, a Readers ticket is needed before entry to the Archive is allowed. This is free, but you need to show ID like a driving licence or pension book to get it. New readers are shown round on the first visit. There are a few rules regarding what can and cannot be taken into the search rooms. You should take pencils and a one pound coin (returnable) for lockers,  The staff there are very helpful and will help to point you in the right direction. In addition, many fact sheets and research guides are available free of charge in the search rooms. As an online extra, look at the Documents Online section where records can be downloaded for a small fee.

 An online guide to the whereabouts of particular documents in provincial archives can be found at www.a2a.pro.gov.uk . A help facility is included on the site as well as a full search engine.

 On the regional basis, superb research facilities exist at County Record Offices – again entry is free although a readers card either on a daily basis or a 4 year CARN (County Archive Records Network) card – which permits access automatically into most County Record Offices in the UK - is essential. Booking a film or fiche reader in advance is strongly recommended.

Links to the web sites of Hampshire Record Office (Winchester), Portsmouth City Record Office and Southampton City Archives are provided under the “Links” section of this web site. These provide contact details, opening hours and details of holdings as well as some online data and research tips. Addresses of all County Record Offices can be found on the Genuki site mentioned above.

 In most towns, Public Libraries usually have local studies departments with good collections of information specific to the locality – again a quick email or phone call before visiting is recommended before setting out on a journey.

Family History Centres

...Run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormons. These Centres can be found in many towns and cities across the UK but most importantly in many Countries internationally, particularly the USA, Canada and Australia. Again booking is essential and whilst the smaller centres may not hold substantial stocks of records, any records in the LDS Catalogue can be ordered for hire or later viewing at the centre. There is a small fee for ordering  – see www.familysearch.org to access the catalogue - as well as addresses and phone numbers of the various centres.  The centres provide easy access to the records of an area even though you may live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Professional Researchers

...Can be a boon but beware!

Despite some excellent thoroughly reputable Researchers, there are some unscrupulous individuals and firms around.  Record Offices and Archives usually have a list of local recommended researchers – shop around as rates can vary considerably. Ask for a written estimate in advance. Sometimes using a researcher is essential and indeed, specialist local knowledge may be the key to knocking down those brick walls.

Societies

Membership of a national or local Genealogy Society can give many advantages and benefits to the Family Historian. Apart from access to local resources, members can usually gain access to transcriptions as well as indexes to baptisms, marriages, burials, censuses and so on. Societies usually hold open days as well as sell genealogical resources such as data CDs and microfiches at reasonable prices.

The major national society is the Society of Genealogists (SoG) whereas locally, the Hampshire Genealogy Society and the Isle of Wight Family History Society are the main organisations.

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved

Civil Registration

We are probably all aware of birth, marriage and death certificates which are issued as a result of the process known as Civil Registration.  The system of registration came into force in England & Wales on 1 July 1837  (Scotland has its own system), although allegedly, there were many omissions in birth registrations prior to 1875.

England and Wales were divided into Registration Districts each under the supervision of a Superintendent Registrar as well as a number of Local Registrars. One important note is that a Registration District is totally different to a church parish (see later) and indeed a Registration District may consist of several parishes. For instance, if you find a birth registered in South Stoneham Registration District, the baptism could have taken place in any one of the parishes of:-

 Bitterne (1837-94), Botley, Burlesdon, Chilworth, Eastleigh, Hamble le Rice, Hedge End, Hound, Itchen, Millbrook, North Stoneham, Portswood (1837-1909), St. Mary Extra, Shirley (1837-1909), Sholing, South Stoneham or West End – not forgetting that a parish may have more than one church or chapel within it’s boundaries.

Hampshire Registration Districts can be found at http://www.fhsc.org.uk/genuki/reg/ham.htm

Once a birth, marriage or death had been registered, a quarterly return was sent to the General Register Office (GRO), (some years ago based at St Catherines House in London and sometimes still colloquially known as the “St Caths Index” )– however, the fiche for these these are now housed at The National Archives– which can be found at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ Microfiche can be found at all County Record Offices, LDS Family History Centres, most libraries as well as on several pay sites online.

The index – cleverly named the GRO Index - was arranged in quarters alphabetically up to 1983 and then annually from 1984 to date and is sub divided into the three categories of Births, Marriages and Deaths.

The basic information given is surname/first name/registration district and a number which indicates the GRO volume and page number on which the entry appears. From 1866 up to 1969, ages of the deceased were given in the death index but replaced in 1969 with the date of birth. In 1911, the Mothers maiden name was included in the birth registers and in 1912, the marriage index was amended to show the spouses surname. There is a national project (DOVE) underway to add the additional data to the online offering - but this is unlikely to be complete until 2009.

One final note regarding the deaths index is that deaths were registered in the District that the death took place and not the district where the deceased lived or worked.

In addition, a free access website at http://freebmd.rootsweb.com/ is searchable and currently has just over 100 million records transcribed by volunteers. It is thought that this excellent facility is about two thirds complete.

Copies of certificates can be obtained from a variety of sources including the GRO – email to certificate.services@ons.gov.uk   The best and often quickest method is the local Register Office in the District where the event took place – where currently, the cost is 7 pounds sterling. However, births and deaths only should be ordered locally. Marriages are kept in separate files and unless you are sure which church was used, they cannot easily be traced. It depends on the work load of the particular Register Office staff.

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved
 

Parish Registers

In this section, we are considering Parish registers only and not the many other types of Parish records that were kept in the parish chest.

In the section for civil registration, we differentiated between a parish and a registration district. A parish was the ecclesiastical parish -  an area governed by the Church and its Officers (churchwardens etc). In 1538, the King’s Vicar General (Thomas Cromwell) ordered that all parishes should keep registers of baptisms, marriages and burials carried out in the parish and registers have been maintained virtually ever since, though not all have survived especially in the early years. Many have been filmed by the LDS and appear in the IGI  – www.familysearch.org - but many more have not! County Record Offices usually carry film or fiche of the parish registers in their county and in some cases, the original registers if they have survived.

It is entirely up to the Archivist to decide whether the original registers are open for inspection.

On most mailing lists, there are usually plenty of volunteers who kindly offer to carry out look ups either when they visit local archives or from private resource collections. In addition, a number of websites contain "Online Parish Clerk" (OPC) data and/or parish register transcriptions (eg knightroots!).

The IGI is a useful tool but will only give the bare minimum of information, some of which may be incorrect and so it is essential that the parish register entry is cross checked for validation.

The IGI allocates a unique series of numbers to each parish – known as batch numbers. If you find a baptism for an ancestor in a particular church, follow it up with a search using just the surname and the batch number to hopefully find other members of the same family. Checking the batch numbers will also tell you the extent that the IGI covers a particular parish. To obtain a list of batch numbers online, go to http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers.htm

This will explain the batch number system in some detail but you can skip this and straight to list of batch numbers –        click in turn on:  British Isles…England…Hampshire …the letter of the parish you are seeking. Warning: many parishes are not on the IGI or on there for limited years only.

 There is also a site to search middle names on the IGI (useful where there is a family trend of middle names and/or where the forename does not turn out to be as expected. This can be found at

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~hughwallis/HantsMiddleNamesIGI.htm

 Some parish register entries are illegible, some in Latin, atrocious handwriting, some with appalling spelling – and some with a combination of all four! On the other hand there are some examples of beautifully clear handwriting going back nigh on 500 years.

Registers are probably the principal source of genealogical information prior to civil registration and indeed perhaps after 1837 too. Just because you find a birth in a particular quarter of the GRO index does not mean that the baptism took place in the same 3 month period or at all! A baptism can occur anytime between baby and adulthood – some families “saved them up” and perhaps baptised 6 or more children on a single day.

The registers record baptisms, marriages and burials conducted by the Vicar or Priest and generally shows the same information after 1837 for marriages as  found on civil registration certificates – but not the mother’s maiden name for baptisms and the cause of death on burial records.

The amount of information contained in a parish register varies – some incumbents were economic with the ink whereas others were quick with the quill. Baptisms prior to 1812 rarely gave more info than the child’s and both Parent’s forenames but sometimes just the Father was shown. An Act of Parliament in 1812 ruled that special pre-printed registers should be used as well as a separate register for each of baptisms, marriages and burials – in earlier years it was usual to have the entries in the same register book – sometimes in different columns but sometimes mixed in together.

The Act also required the date of baptism, child and both parents’ forenames, abode, father’s occupation and officiating clergyman to be recorded.

It is worth recording that most baptisms took place in church but on occasions, a private baptism was recorded – usually signifying that the child was ill and not expected to live. The letter “P’, ’PB’ or the word “private” indicated such an event. Subsequently, if the child survived, a ceremony was held in church “to receive him/her into the congregation’ (RIC).

A few clergy- men recorded dates of birth or ages or additional information indicating that the child was “base born” – i.e. illegitimate.

Marriages  prior to 1754 rarely recorded more than the date and the names of the bride and groom – frequently, a wedding took place in the Bride’s parish but this was not always the case  but in any event, a family need only to have lived in a parish for 3 weeks to claim residency. If they are not permanent residents, they may be described as ‘sojourners’.

In 1754, Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (designed to stop irregular and clandestine or under age marriages) required that a marriage had to take place in a licensed church, intentionally one of the spouses’ parishes and that either the banns had to be published or a licence issued. Separate marriage registers were also a requirement. The register entries themselves also now had to record the names of the happy couple, their “condition” – bachelor, spinster or widowed, parish of residency (and sometimes groom’s occupation). Also required were the signatures (or marks) of the clergyman, bride, groom and at least two witnesses.

From 1837, the parish register marriage entry duplicates the civil  Registration certificate.

Turning now to burials, we also find (unlike the corpses) that the register entries improved as years went by. In fact one became more composed as the other, more decomposed!

Again prior to 1812, there was sometimes just a name, sometimes an age and if you were really lucky, an abode or description such as “widow of “ or some other comment. The 1812  act required separate pre-printed registers showing the deceased’s name, abode, date of burial and age as well as the officiating clergyman.

A word to the wise – the existence of a burial register entry does not mean there will be a headstone/memorial inscription or even if there was, it may not have survived. In addition, many burial grounds  may have been cleared and built on – a classic case being Mile End Cemetery in Portsmouth which opened in 1831 and closed in the 1960’s and now has a cross channel ferry port on the land!

Burials in town churchyards generally ceased following new law being passed in 1854  to cater for overfull churchyards and concerns for public health, although some rural churchyards still have burials today. Municipal cemeteries came to the fore although there may be a dual register entry in both the church (where a service may have taken place) as well as the register for the cemetery itself. This was certainly the practice between St Mary’s Portsea and the nearby Kingston Cemetery.

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved

Census

The official government population census takes place every 10 years having commenced in 1801. However very little has survived from 1801 to 1831 and in any event, contained numerical data only that would have been of little interest to the family historian.

For the record, the dates of the census’ from 1841 respectively:

Year Date of Census Additional Comments
1841 6 June  
1851 30 March  
1861 7 April  
1871 2 April  
1881 3 April  
1891 5 April  
1901 31 March  
1911 2 April  
1921 19 June  
1931 26 April Destroyed by enemy action
1941   No census (war)
1951 8 April  

There is a full 100 year closure rule on census data and so the last one to be released was the 1901 in January 2002 although it is likely that part of the 1911 returns will be available a little earlier.

Dealing with the availability of the records, the information contained and the extent of the indexing (we do not pretend that this is the full extent of available records) can be briefly summarised as follows:

1841

Data collected: Address – Name (including one forename only) – male/female and age – occupation mainly for males. Born in this county yes/no? – born in Scotland (S), Ireland (I) or Foreign Parts (F)

Therefore it showed no relationship between the various members of a household and adult ages (deemed to be people over 15) were also rounded down to the nearest 5 years.-thus someone shown as aged 40 could have been aged 40-44 and plays havoc with looking for the baptism!

Availability: As a general rule, the 1841 census has not been indexed although family history societies and individuals have made various transcriptions – a few of which have been made available online although we are not aware of any for Hampshire. Copies on microfilm are reasonably readily available at the FRC, County Record Offices, some Libraries and LDS Family History Centres. Record   Offices/Archives in Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton hold a street index for the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton.

It can be a long, long job looking for relatives on the 1841 especially if they were mobile by nature!!!

1851

Data Collected: In addition to the details shown on the 1841,  were: additional forenames (sometimes); marital status and actual ages of the individuals; relationship of a person to the head of the family and full birthplace. An additional column was used to indicate disability by way of blindness or being deaf or dumb.

Availability: There is generally wide availability and several genealogy societies have completed an index for their particular area. In Hampshire, we are indeed fortunate that the HGS have completed a full index for the whole of Hampshire and Isle of Wight in some 50 volumes, divided into areas. Each area of the index is arranged alphabetically by surname and additionally shows age, birthplace and the folio (double page) no. where the entry appears on the census microfilm. Therefore, it is possible that looking for all instances of a particular surname in an area, you will be able to identify probable family groups as they will have the same folio no. Having identified the folio, it would then be possible to view the actual film of the census return at the FRC, Record Offices, Libraries and LDS Family History Centres. The HGS sell microfiche of the name index by area and an additional fiche has been created giving the volume numbers in which all occurrences of a particular surname was recorded.

There is a partial (known as the 2% sample) transcription of the1851 census online which includes some of the Hampshire returns.

1861 and 1871

Data Collected: Much the same as the for the 1851 although the disability column now adds the options of “imbecile, idiot or lunatic”

Availability: Generally speaking, when family history societies undertook the huge task of creating a census index, the deliberate decision was taken to transcribe a census with most benefit to the researcher and after 1851, the next previously most widely available census is the 1881. Consequently, the 1861 and 1871 were virtually ignored and were treated in much the same way as the 1841 return in that only place and street indexes were created other than private and local transcriptions.

In recent years there has been a move to digitising the census returns and the non profit making Archive CD Books  - http://www.archivecdbooks.org/  (who operate the British Genealogy series of mailing lists – see above)  - have undertaken the massive project of scanning and transferring to CD, many of the 1861 census returns on a County by County basis. At  the time of writing, several Counties have already been released on sale with Hampshire being imminent expected in the summer of 2003.

1881

Data Collected:  Generally as for the 1861/1871.

Availability: By far the most popular and widely available census, a complete transcription was carried out by family historians in every county for the LDS and microfiche are at the FRC, County Record Offices and Libraries as well as LDS Family History Centres to name a few.

The LDS also released the entire transcription for England, Wales and Scotland on a set of data CDs  priced at approx 30 pounds sterling – see www.familysearch.org for full details of how to order. The LDS have also incorporated the 1881 census onto this website and this is free to access, search and download. The website does not have all of the functions of the CDs which incorporate a place search for instance. Neither does it include Scotland.

A word of warning….this is a transcription and inevitably, there are transcription errors in names, ages and places – so when searching, try a few variations – our own ancestor, Frederick Iles was listed with a full stop for a forename against the surname Iles and took a lot of finding!

Finally, the original returns are available on film at the FRC.

1891

Data Collected: In addition to the information on earlier returns, the 1891 also recorded the number of rooms that a family occupied and also whether the person was employed, an employer or neither (i.e. self employed/not employed).

Availability: Similar comments apply as for the 1851 – most family history societies have name indexed the 1891 census and as well as being available on film in the usual places, a microfiche version is also available of the original returns and can be found locally at Record Offices and Libraries, for instance.

The HGS have also produced a CD name index giving names, ages, place of birth and the Folio number – details at www.hgs-online.org.uk

In addition, a number of commercial firms have digitised the 1891 returns – which if used with the HGS index, is an excellent tool for searching the entire 1891 census quickly and easily. Hampshire has been produced on a 7 CD set, for instance and details can generally be found in any family history magazine.

A description of the 1891 census cannot end without mention of the splendid Freecens project – http://freecen.rootsweb.com/ -  Similar to the FreeBMD project mentioned above, a team of volunteers are transcribing the 1891 census nationwide but divided into regions with a co-ordinator heading each region.  Started when the 1891 availability was very limited, its success has varied between the regions. In Hampshire, the facility is not yet searchable (June 2003) but the following districts can be viewed free of charge: Portsmouth Milton; Lymington; Lyndhurst; Stockbridge (2 parts); Winchester (3 parts); Bishops Waltham; Droxford (2 parts); Petersfield; Alresford (2 parts); Alton & Basingstoke.

The intention of the Freecens project is to make all of the census data from 1841 to 1901 available on-line although this is clearly several years away yet.  Both Freecens and FreeBMD need volunteers – if you have some spare time and access to a fiche reader, contact your co-ordinator now!

1901

If accuracy was measured in terms of publicity, the 1901 census would be the most accurate census data available – sadly….it is not…..on either count! Because of the pace that this wonderful hobby of ours has taken off in recent years, it is a possibility that for the majority of current day researchers, the 1901 census was the first to be released in their research time. This was the first time that The National Archives) had attempted to make census data available online on a pay-per-view basis. 

Full instructions are contained on the site and do not need to be repeated here – payment can be made online using a secure credit card facility (credits last 48 hours) or alternatively, vouchers can be purchased from a variety of outlets – this method has the advantage of the credits being valid for 6 months.

Offline, the fiche for the entire country with street/place index is available at the National Archive, Kew and most Record Offices have the fiche for their own specific area.

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved

Wills

Where there’s a will there’s a way goes the old adage BUT, where is the will in the first place?

Wills can be very useful documents to aid research as they can often name wives, children and other family members as well as giving details of occupations and property owned. A will may prove (excuse the pun) to be the conclusive link between a group of persons with the same surname. A will was not the exclusive right of the rich either – many “ordinary” folk were shrewd enough to leave a will.

Wills in Hampshire have been indexed up to 1858 and the index fiche are available for viewing (as well as for sale) at Hampshire Record Office as well as available for viewing at many other local archives. The wills have been indexed by name; by occupation as well as by place and separate fiche are available in each category.

Once you find a potential ancestor, the index gives a reference number and the actual will can be viewed – again this facility is available at Winchester and other local Archives.

In some cases, a deceased may not have left a will but the next of kin would then have to apply to the court to be appointed Administrator to deal with the disposal of the deceased’s property. Again, records of administration (Admons) can be found in the wills index mentioned above.

  Wills could also be proved at the Prerogative Court in London. The National Archive (formerly PRO) at Kew is in the process of putting a number of these PCC wills online and these can be downloaded for a small fee at

http://www.documentsonline.pro.gov.uk/  . There are currently about 800,000 wills available - all from the PCC, complete from 1700 to 1857 with a full search facility.

 Before1858, wills were dealt with by the Ecclesiastical Courts. However the Probate Act of 1857 transferred responsibility for wills and administrations to a new Court of Probate.from January 1858. All wills and administrations were registered in District Probate Registries or the Principal Probate Registry in London, and indexes (only) are housed at First Avenue House, High Holborn, London and details can be found at http://www.courtservice.gov.uk/using_courts/wills_probate/  - follow the links through “wills and probate” to “probate records and family history” .

This site has full details of the process and fees for obtaining copy wills for England and Wales, useful if you have “lost” an ancestor who may have died and left a will in a different part of the country.

The Principal Probate Registry has also issued the National Probate Calendar which is an alphabetical index prepared each year since 1858 showing all wills and administrations in a particular year. The Hampshire Record Office at Winchester has a copy from 1858 to 1943 on microfiche. So have  numerous Archives and Reference Libraries all over the country,

Electoral registers

With the exception of some of the war years, electoral registers (lists of people entitled to vote) have been issued since 1832 and Record Offices, Archives and Libraries usually have a good selection. It is best to telephone or email to check where the holdings for a particular year are deposited.

Initially only male landowners had the right to vote (except in some cities) but this was later extended to males over 21, stable householders and some tenants and in 1919 the vote was given to almost all males aged 21 or over. At the same time, women aged 30 or more who were householders or wives of better off householders were given a vote with the female age finally being reduced to 21 in line with males from 1929.

The advantage of 19th century registers (where property ownership was relevant) is that the registers were generally in alphabetical order, making it relatively easy to find the ancestor.

However, once the property requirement was waived, registers were arranged by address and so a reasonably accurate idea of an address is needed. So if you have an address from the 1901 census, it is possible to track a family (ie up to the point they might leave an address) to assist civil registration searches.

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved

Recommended Research Aids

There are countless other research sources available to the family history researcher both on the internet and offline.

As well as Parish registers described above, there are many other parish records such as poor law, bastardy, settlement and tax records at County Record Offices.

There are criminal records such as the Quarter Sessions and Assizes

There are lots of records available pertaining to specific occupations – such as the military, police, seafarers, coastguards, farm workers, prison officers, clergymen, railway and canal workers – the list is endless but one thing is reasonably certain – there will be a mailing list (see above) dedicated to that trade or profession – subscribe and find other like minded people and a few experts  who will usually be able to direct you to relevant research sources.

For every 100 words on the internet, there are probably 10,000 available offline in book or magazine form. In our own library, we extensively use the following written by reputable people – we have no commercial connection with the authors – we are simply appreciative customers:

* Gibson Guides – various topics on family history

*Mark Herber…..Ancestral Trails…published in association with the SOG    - ISBN 0-7509-2484-5 available from all good bookshops

*Alan McGowan – National Index of Parish registers Vol 8, Part 6 (Hampshire & Isle of Wight) - ISBN 1 903462 33 9      Published by the SOG.

*McLaughlin Guides – written by Eve McLaughlin – an internationally respected author and family historian

Summary

This is a fascinating hobby and not just a case of collecting names to put on a tree – it is about flesh on the bones – finding out what the ancestors did, where they did it and how. Where did they live? What sort of conditions did they live under?

One important piece of advice is never give up – positive results don’t happen all of the time – but even negative can be positive because you are eliminating a possibility – thus making other possibilities more probable.

If someone else helps you by sharing some data; passing on details of a relevant web site or maybe does a look up for you – DON’T FORGET - say thanks – and try and help someone else in return. Try to make the genealogy world a merry go round of shared information and resources.

You only get out what you put in.

Compiled by Linda & Tony Knight – Hampshire OPC

January 2008

Copyright © 2008 Linda & Tony Knight
All Rights Reserved