Author Topic: Using English BMD records before 1841  (Read 826 times)

Online Ruskie

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #9 on: Wednesday 11 July 18 13:27 BST (UK) »
In the past I have obtained copies (both photocopies and digital copies) of PRs from FHSs including Birmingham at a minimal cost when supplying exact dates and places of births and marriages.

I have even been sent complimentary copies from a couple of FHSs. (I think when they found out I am in Australia they felt sorry for me).  :) ;)

This was several years ago and things may have changed over the years, but it may still be worth enquiring. Rootschatters who live locally to ROs may also be willing to help you with look-ups.


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Offline Maiden Stone

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #10 on: Thursday 12 July 18 01:52 BST (UK) »
Some guidance on these websites:
Tracing your English and Welsh Ancestors
www.ancestor-search.info/home.htm

BYU Discovering English Ancestors (BYU = Brigham Young University)

National Archives website for particular fields of research.

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Offline Eric Hatfield

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #11 on: Thursday 12 July 18 03:00 BST (UK) »
Thank you everyone for all that helpful advice. It seems there is a real difficulty, but all that information will surely help. Thanks.

Online Ruskie

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #12 on: Thursday 12 July 18 03:21 BST (UK) »
Sometimes being presented with lots of options can be a bit overwhelming. It can be hard to know where to start, so ask for specific help if you need it.  :)

Offline Eric Hatfield

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #13 on: Thursday 12 July 18 03:25 BST (UK) »
Thank you. I will. I have gained a lot of help from this forum over the years, including finding an aunt I had never been in contact with, and through her identifying my grandfather, who until then had been a mystery.

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #14 on: Thursday 12 July 18 07:56 BST (UK) »
I have been doing family history for about 10 years, but most of my research has been for ancestors in Scotland or here in Australia where I live. I have mostly used Ancestry and FindMyPast plus Family Search. In Australia, I can also visit local records offices when I have needed to, but that isn't so easy for UK records!

Scotland has been good too, because Scotland's People only charges about $A2.50 for online records, and so I can afford to be a little speculative and buy a few certificates that prove to be dead ends.

But now I am researching ancestors in England (specifically Herefordshire, adjacent counties and Birmingham city), and I have to rely on online records. After 1841, the census information gives a very good indication of births, occupations, places and dates, which allows BMD records to be interpreted. But before 1841, there is no census information, and the BMD information available from Ancestry and FindMyPast typically is very sparse. Birth records often don't state parents, marriage records often don't state spouses, etc. At something like $A30 for certificates (if I have done my maths correctly), I can't afford to buy anything "on spec". And so I often have a number of possible births, parents, spouses, etc, to choose from.

But I am new to English records, so perhaps I am missing something obvious. What do more experienced people here do to overcome the limited information available from FindMyPast and Ancestry? I'd appreciate any tips.

Thanks.

You are hitting a road block which has always been there but is becoming a larger obstacle than in the past due to “new researchers” not developing research methods, including manual browsing of records, but relying on the database search engines.
Having said that you sound as if you have developed some skills by visiting your local records offices in Australia and manually searching their records.

Research prior to 1837 is really a continuation of the same methods that should have been used for records post 1837.
By that I mean using as many records as possible to build a picture of your target family rather than just the commonly available BMD & Census records.
There are many types of records that overlap the 1837 sticking point.
For instance post 1837 the researcher will be used to searching Parish Registers for Births, Baptisms Marriages, Deaths and Burials. Births & Burials I hear the murmur: Yes, many parish registers record (as legally required)  births & burials, but it can be hit or miss, but researchers should develop the skill of searching these records for post 1837 research as it will help them when it comes to pre 1837 research.
In a similar way there are other records that bridge the two periods, Wills & Probate records, Poor Law records, Occupational records I.E. Apprenticeship & freemen records, trade, guild/livery records. Court Records (these are not just criminal records but cover a wide range of interaction between the individual and state) on many different levels.
Manorial records, Land Records, Military Records, Newspapers, Visitations, Inquisitions Post Mortem etc., etc.
There are hundreds of types of records that give information to the family historian, it is up to us the researchers to find, evaluate and corroborate the information using other records relevant to the family.

As researchers rely more and more on online records these research skills are not being developed as they used to be in the past.

Cheers
Guy
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Offline Eric Hatfield

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #15 on: Thursday 12 July 18 08:43 BST (UK) »
Hi Guy, thanks for that useful information. The trouble is, I don't really have any choice about doing my UK research online. I may never visit UK again and if I do I will probably be visiting places I've longed to see, not researching in churches and records offices. (If I had more time, I would love to do that, but ....)

So it is online records that I need. Once I found a person who was in charge of a set of church records (I think maybe at a village in Devon) and he kindly sent me a copy of the page of the records I was interested in, but I can't expect that all the time.

But putting everyone's ideas together, and being aptient, I hope I can make progress. Thanks.

Offline Wendy Frances

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #16 on: Thursday 12 July 18 22:46 BST (UK) »
Hi
I have used pdf certificates for £6 from GRO they are fine. It takes about 7 days then you just download them. Really easy.
Wendy

Offline Kaybron

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Re: Using English BMD records before 1841
« Reply #17 on: Friday 13 July 18 02:33 BST (UK) »
Hi,
I also live in Australia and found going back pre 1837 was very difficult.  I found as much as I could online and then was stuck.

I did subscribe to a historical group in Sussex and had a notice put in one of their magazines. A stroke of luck and I did receive a reply from a relative (fifth or sixth cousin) who was also into family history and had lots of photographs that she passed on to me.  The information that she had was from the late 1700's but then she started going back further visiting many places that it was impossible for me to get to.  I purchased birth, death and marriage certificates when ever I could to support and verify information relating to ancestors who were born/married/died after 1837. In the end the family was traced back to being in Sussex in 1589 through a Deposition Book and with certainty a marriage found of an ancestor in 1676 in Eartham through Bishop Transcript records. She was not able to determine with a degree of certainty the birth year and parents of this ancestor so research ended at this point.

Everything that was found was passed on, along with photocopies of original documents. Without this connection it would have been extremely difficult to have found out so much about my ancestors and I will always be grateful to this relative for passing on so willingly what she discovered. 

Like you Eric, I will most probably never visit the UK and if I did the few days I would devote to family history research would not uncover much. I would be more interested in visiting the places my ancestors lived rather than researching in churches and records offices.

Regards Kaybron