Author Topic: How far back can we research?  (Read 1145 times)

Offline langtry

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How far back can we research?
« on: Tuesday 18 June 13 17:07 BST (UK) »
Hi,
I am not a new member,but hope someone can come up with answers for me?My research is now back to mthe 1500's and 1600's,and my problem seems to be that there are few records available covering these periods.I use Ancestry,the only one now that I subscribe to.Have tried find my past and and some others.
Is it possible to do research for thye periods mentioned,or do we come up against lost records etc?
Any advice welcomed.
Thanks
langtry
Researching--BOYLAND.
Area's---Portsmouth,Southamptom,Dorset,Devon,Somerset.

Offline barryd

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 18 June 13 17:45 BST (UK) »
In the British Isles we can research back further as long as there is money involved. Not your money (in paying for research) but their money. A non-royal, non-pedigreed family or non land/house owning person has no records because there are no wills, inheritances or squabbles about the wills or inheritances, no property deeds, no taxes, nothing. Even voting (with published rolls) was restricted to higher end men renters, and owners until 1918. Ordinary people who commit crimes however do get a mention if their records survive. From poaching a rabbit to murder. 

Offline Redroger

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 18 June 13 20:13 BST (UK) »
A non-royal, non-pedigreed family or non land/house owning person has no records because there are no wills, inheritances or squabbles about the wills or inheritances, no property deeds, no taxes, nothing.

Not quite the whole story, but it does need a large element of luck. A family in Dorset who probably provided my 3X great grandmother in the mid 1770s  has been traced back to around 1300AD.They were nothing very grand, just tenant farmers whoses family rented the same farm from the same landowner for around 400 years!! Their names appear generation by generation on the manorial rolls each time the tenancy changed hands. As I say, it does involved a large slice of luck. Unfortunately the problem involves illegitimacy in my line around 1776, and in 17 years research I have so far been unable to clear this brick wall.
Ayres Brignell Cornwell Harvey Shipp Stimpson Stubbings (all Cambs) Baumber Baxter Burton Ethards Proctor Stanton (all Lincs) Luffman (all counties)

Offline jettejjane

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 22 June 13 11:28 BST (UK) »
I am not a new member,but hope someone can come up with answers for me?My research is now back to mthe 1500's and 1600's,and my problem seems to be that there are few records available covering these periods.I use Ancestry,the only one now that I subscribe to.Have tried find my past and and some others.
Is it possible to do research for thye periods mentioned,or do we come up against lost records etc?
Any advice welcomed.
Thanks
langtry

Was just about to post similar question. Having reached the inevitable "brick wall"! Got to 1763 but not matter how hard I try can't find gt x 3`s father! Wondering if family history group would help
can't really afford to spend money on the wrong info!
Jane
Redman, Jupp, Brockhurst of West Sussex
Moore County Down. Redman of Posey, Indiana, USA Emigrated 1820


Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 22 June 13 11:49 BST (UK) »
I read a "the search for Shakespeare" type of book recently and the author made the very apt comment, that although we always complain about the lack of written information from and about "the Bard", what is available is consistent with that time period.

Most people generally only got a mention in the parish registers for birth (baptism), marriage and death (burial). 
(and not all parish registers survive, or are complete)

As the others have already noted, any other information would depend on their circumstances in life
  • rich enough to leave a will ? => probate documents
  • legal problems ? => legal documents
  • owners or tenants of land ? => land records, manorial rolls, etc.
  • royalty or nobility ? => all sorts of records
  • military service ? => possible mentions in military documentation, muster rolls, medal rolls, punishment books (:()
  • famous in any way ? or even better,
  • infamous in any way ? => that definitely tends to get recorded somewhere, if only to note how many people turned up to watch the hanging !
  • etc.
Bob
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

Online Rena

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 22 June 13 12:01 BST (UK) »
Without spending any money, I've used my local library's facilities to gain free access to the British Library newspapers where I've found relatives.   The drawback to those early publications is that the journalists often omitted naming people.
.
I've also found this free online book site helpful but you sometimes need some creative thinking for a word which could be in a book title on the "search" facility. http://archive.org/details/texts

The Scottish archive online catalogue can reveal possible ancestors. That facility often has online letters written by estate and business owners which mention their tenants/workers.   The rest of the country has the A2A manorial catalogue but where the early online inclusions named names, these latter years the county archivists only give a brief outline of their holdings.

Then, of course, there's our own rootschat ........ how long will it take for a descendant to find mention in a Will of this Andr(e)w Paterson(n) and this John(ne) Buchanna(n), which can be found in the "Deciphering" section of rootschat? :-

""Debts awand In
Item thair was awand to the defunct the tyme
foirsaid the sowmes of money following Be the
p[er]sones efter spec[ifi]t viz. Be Andr[e]w Patersonn
in Garshaill Lxxli [70] Be Johnne Buchanna[n] ""
.
Aberdeen: Findlay-Shirras,McCarthy: MidLothian: Mason,Telford,Darling,Cruikshanks,Bennett,Sime, Bell: Lanarks:Crum, Brown, MacKenzie,Cameron, Glen, Millar; Ross: Urray:Mackenzie:  Moray: Findlay; Marshall/Marischell: Perthshire: Brown Ferguson: Wales: McCarthy, Thomas: England: Almond, Askin, Dodson, Well(es). Harrison, Maw, McCarthy, Munford, Pye, Shearing, Smith, Smythe, Speight, Strike, Wallis/Wallace, Ward, Wells;Germany: Flamme,Ehlers, Bielstein, Germer, Mohlm, Reupke

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 22 June 13 12:03 BST (UK) »
ps.

re "legal documents": the author also pointed out that paper was expensive in those days, so many documents would simply add details from another event at the end of the last sentence written, without even starting a new line.  He mentions that the only reference to Shakespeare in a legal document as being right in the middle of loads of other stuff, and it was only found, almost by accident, when someone read through the whole document and chanced upon this - I think - one sentence mentioning Shakespeare.

It was a while ago, but I'm not even sure if it was actually a Shakespeare researcher who found it ?

pps. the book was from Bill Bryson
Shakespeare: The World as Stage
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare:_The_World_as_Stage
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 22 June 13 12:44 BST (UK) »
There are numerous records available for researchers of medieval family history but one needs a different mindset to find & use them.

These include, manorial records such as Court rolls (Court Baron, Court Leet), from the 13th century. Manorial accounts, surveys, rent rolls, relief rolls and custumals.
If one's ancestor held land from the Crown there were Inquisitions Post Mortem, Fine Rolls in addition there were Indentures (for property) fines and recovery, marriage settlements, etc.
Various tax records for just about anything you can think of .

Many of these records are not online and possible the bulk will never be available online (though auction sites often carry interesting documents).
This means the research has to visit archives both public and the more difficult to access private archives.

There is plenty of material out there for all classes but effort has to be made to access it.
Cheers
Guy
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Offline Nick Carver

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Re: How far back can we research?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 22 June 13 16:38 BST (UK) »
I searched the Norfolk Records Office index using three words: a forename, a surname and the name of the village(s) my family had lived in. I have half a dozen villages of interest and I tried a variety of forenames, both male and female. I suspect I have found the will of the grandmother of the earliest known member of my family in which she makes bequests to five children, one of which must be my ancestor. I haven't been able to join the dots yet and prove which child is in my line, nor have I found out the name of her husband, but I hope anyone kind enough to read this note will see the potential value of some speculative searching using probabilities rather than facts. I got some information by searching for records about the family that owned the land my ancestors rented to farm.
E Yorks - Carver, Steels, Cross, Maltby, Whiting, Moor, Laybourn
W Yorks - Wilkinson, Kershaw, Rawnsley, Shaw
Norfolk - Carver, Dowson
Cheshire - Berry, Cooper
Lincs - Berry
London/Ireland/Scotland/Lincs - Sullivan
Northumberland/Durham - Nicholson, Cuthbert, Turner, Robertson
Berks - May
Beds - Brownell