Boyd's Marriage Index
This is an index of marriages in England produced by Percival Boyd. The full index is held in the Society of Genealogists at London but local indexes are often held in public record offices and major libraries. You may also find a copy of the full index at the genealogical libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Boyd's Marriage index indexes the marriages in 4211 parishes - 37% of all England.
Durham index covers 71 parishes (69% of the county)
Northumberland index covers 84 parishes (73% of the County)
Yorkshire index covers 170 parishes (22% of the County)
The index is in 25 year periods by county. Sometimes there is a separate index for male and female entries, sometimes a single index.
A typical entries in the index are as follows:
Index - 1776 - 1800 Men Northumberland
1776 Bainbridge Jn & An Huchinson N'cle A.S.
Index - 1751 - 1775 Men Northumberland
1775 Bainbridge Ralf & Eunice Wite Alston
These entries would also be listed in the female Northumberland index under Huchinson and Wite
Note all entries are spelt phonetically thus:
White = Wite
Scott = Skot
Dickson = Dixon
Thompson = Tomson
Ann = An
John = Jn
James = Jas
William = Wm
Margaret = Mgt
Charles = Chas
Example of use
You have found a baptism entry in All Saints Parish Register, Newcastle as follows:
"1805 Ann (born Nov 30) 5 dau of John Bainbridge, pitman of Washington, Durham by his wife Hannah dau of Wm Stephenson, yeoman of Simonburn"Using the 1776-1800 Boyd's index you look up John Bainbridge and Hannah and find:
1794 Bainbridge Jn & Han Stephenson Ncle A.S.Looking up this entry in the All Saints, Newcastle Parish Register gives:
John Bainbridge & Hannah Stephenson both of this parish were married by banns 3rd March 1794Boyd's marriage index is a very useful tool but it's limitation is the limited number of parishes covered. A very useful extension to the index, however, is available for the parishes of Northumberland, Durham and North Yorkshire not covered by Boyd's Marriage index has been set up online by Paul Joiner of the Cleveland, South Durham and North Yorkshire Family History Society. You can find Paul's index of marriages here.
Probate records are wills. Once the maker of the will has died his/her executor/s must take the will to the local Archdeacon's Office, the Bishop's Court or either the Prerogative Courts of York or Canterbury and have the will 'proved'. A copy was made of the will into a register and a fee was generally charged for this. In some cases where the executor was reluctant to pay this fee the will was still deposited but was then known as an 'unregistered' will - equally valid in law. In general the more wealthy the deceased, the higher the court asked to prove the will. Once proved the executor must carry out the bequests made in the will. Wills can be a valuable source to the genealogist since they need to identify the beneficiaries.
All wills proved since 1858 are kept at the principle Probate Registry, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2. In addition either the original will or a copy will be kept at the district Probate Registry which you can find by looking it up in telephone books. Scottish wills may be found at the Scottish Record Office, PO Box 36 H.M. General Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland.
For wills of an earlier date normally you would look for them at the county record office. For Northumberland and Durham, look for wills earlier than 1858 at the Department of Palaeography, Durham University, Durham. For Yorkshire wills check at the Borthwick Institute, York or see http://archives.wyjs.org.uk/wills.htm
To find a will check indexes at County Record Offices or at the Public Record Office.
If a will was disputed then it was adjudicated by the Chancery Court.
What you may discover:
- An Inventory - a list of all property of the deceased. This will give you some idea of the status of the deceased
- A lawyer made will - only the wealthy could afford this.
- A wife being given her bed - indicates she was to remain in the house. (Shakespeare did this in his will)
- A son given 1 shilling (s) - often indicates the son had already been provided for.
- The names, married names and location of children, grandchildren and brothers and sisters.
Lunatics, slaves and prisoners (other than debtors) could not make wills.
Wives could not make wills except with the consent of their husband. Widows could make wills however.
Traitors and suicides could not make wills, their property was confiscated by the state.
Roman Catholics could not make wills from 1700. This law however gradually lapsed.
Wills may be the only source of information available before the commencement of Parish Registers and can be invaluable in determining relationships as in the following example:
married John Johnson at Weaverham, Cheshire on 29th Oct 1707. Searching the
parish register of Weaverham gave two possible candidates.
- An admission number
- The date admitted to school
- The child's date of birth
- The child's name
- The child's father's name
- The child's address
- The previous school and standard
4 Dec 1679
Eleanor, daughter of John Barker.
24 Feb 1682/3 Eleanor, daughter of Richard Barker
In the will of Richard Barker, proved 22 Jan 1715/6 Richard mentions:
a son Richard Barker
a son john Barker
a granddaughter Mary Joynson
grandchildren William and Mary Joynson
a son-in-law John Joynson and daughter Eleanor Joynson
a brother Henry Barker
a brother William Barker
Hearth tax was introduced in 1662 to fund the newly restored and impoverished monarchy. Each hearth was taxed at 2s per year. The poor (those on poor relief and those with property of less than £1 per year were exempt. The hearth tax records give the name of the taxpayer and the number of hearths. The documents are in 17th century script and may be difficult for a novice to read. The tax was highly unpopular, it caused a riot in Hexham Northumberland and tax collectors in Newcastle were stoned. The original documents are held in the Public Record Office. Microfilm copies have been made and are available in County Record Offices
Every male inhabitant over 18 years of age was required to sign this 'protestation against popery' so this provides a male census of the kingdom in 1642! Lists were prepared of absentees and of those who refused to sign.
Of Northumberland only Morpeth and Berwick records survive.
All of Durham records survived except for the parish of Staindrop.
The Protestation was published (Northumberland and Durham) in volume 135 of the Surtees Society and is available in major libraries in Northern England.(The Surtees Society publishes historical documents for the old kingdom of Northumbria - River Forth to River Humber; Current publications are listed at http://www.boydell.co.uk/PUBLICITY.HTM)
Schooling for the under 10's was made compulsory in the UK in 1876 and 1880 and was made free of charge in 1891. It was from this date that spelling became standardised. Schools kept an admission register which contained:
Look for school records in county record offices.
A Clerical directory - Crockford's Clerical Directory, has been published since 1858. Look for them in libraries
Institution Books dating from 1556 can be found at the Public Record Office
The Fawcett Index, at the Society of Genealogists gives genealogical information on clergy
Records of Appointment are kept at Diocesan Libraries: Dept of Palaeography, Durham University, for Northumberland and Durham and The Borthwick Institute for Yorkshire
and Barristers (Lawyers)
Check the records of the four 'Inns of Court; Grey's Inn; Middle Temple; Lincoln's Inn; Inner Temple: these usually give the name, father's name and occupation.
Law lists have been published every year since 1775 and give the date of death of a solicitor.
Apprenticeships to a law firm have been recorded since 1730 and may be found at the Public Record Office.
Many long standing solicitors firms have deposited their records with the County Record offices and you may find a draft of a will or land transfer etc there. Durham County Record Office has a searchable index/database which includes such records and it is worthwhile searching this with the surname of your ancestor.
Physicians had to have a university degree. Between 1522 and 1832 the only universities in England and Wales were Oxford and Cambridge. Durham University was founded in 1830 and London in 1836. In Scotland St Andrews was founded in 1411, Glasgow in 1451, Edinburgh in 1483 and Aberdeen in 1494.
Surgeons, originally were socially inferior and belonged to a guild - The Guild of Barber's and Surgeons. Look for the guild records between 1640 and 1750 at the public record office. From 1750 surgeons became separate from barbers and became respected. Look for surgeon records in the Army, Navy and East India Company in the Public Record Office.
Medical registers began in 1858.
Guilds are professional associations which date from the mid 15th century until the mid 18th century.
There is an index of apprenticeship indentures for England and Wales from 1710 to 1774 in the Library of the Society of Genealogists.
Apprentices, by the Statute of Artificers of 1563 were compelled to serve a seven year apprenticeship in all trades or crafts. They would start this apprenticeship between the ages of 13 and 17. Apprentices were forbidden to marry before the age of 24 without their master's consent. This caused may illegitimate births.
In 1710, a tax was placed on all indentures. Indentures were to name the child's name; the name of the parent; the master; the trade; the fee. Sometimes, indentures gave the place of resident of the parents and master. Less detail was given after 1760.
the time of Elizabeth I, 1558, the gentry's younger sons went into trade,
the church, the law, the army or diplomacy. This practice died out in the
time of George I, 1714.
Parishes, compelled some masters to take apprentice. Such apprentices had a very low quality of life and were basically slaves - as in the case of Charles Dicken's, Oliver Twist.
"... The said Apprentice his Master shall faithfully serve, his secret keep, his lawful commands every where gladly do. He shall do no damage to his said Master nor see to be done of others, but his Power shall prevent or forthwith give warning to his said Master of the same. He shall not waste the goods of his said Master, nor lend them unlawfully to any. He shall not play at Cards or Dice Tables or any other unlawful Games whereby his said Master may have any loss with is own goods or others during the said Term with Licence of his said Master. He shall neither buy nor sell. He shall not haunt Taverns or Playhouses, nor absent himself from his said Master's service day or night unlawfully. But in all things as a faithful Apprentice he shall behave himself towards his said Master and all his during the said Term."
Freemen, often mentioned in parish registers, were qualified apprentices or the sons of freemen. They had certain benefits such as toll exemptions, business protection and the vote. Freemen had to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown.
These were the equivalent of the modern electroal list. Guildmen and land owners could vote. The poll book of 1761 gives:
- The name
- The abode
- Where the property was
- Who occupied it
For local militia, see country record offices for mustar lists. For other Army records, consult the Public Record Office. Army records date back to between 1642 and 1649 when the standing army was formed.
- Army officers - Printed lists, arranged in regiments, are available from 1754. These lists give service records and may give family details and birthplace.
- Other ranks - Discharge certificates, are available from 1756 and record the place of birth and age on an enlistement. After 1883 they list the next of kin, wife and children.
- Paylists and muster rolls - available from 1760 and give the date of enlistement, the trade, where the recruit served, note discharge or death. Each list is in a volume covering 12 months.
- Description books - give the age, height, colouring and complextion.
- Navy list - Printed since 1749 and gives details of the individual's career
- Ship musters and paybooks - Provide useful information but, you must know the name of the ship.
- Air force - May be of use if you want to trace someone in WWII.
- A new source you may find useful is the PRO Documents Online site where you can find the Medal Rolls for World War 1. Since medals were awarded to everyone who served overseas this represents the most complete list of soldiers who served.
- The Documents Online site also has a searchable index of medals awarded to WWII merchant seamen
To know the date of a particular war would be of use.
- The Civil War - 1642 to 1658
- War with Holland - 1672, the British Army numbered 10,000 men.
- Monmouth Rebellion - 1685, the British Army numbered 20,000 men.
- The War against the French - 1701 to 1714
- The Stuart Rebellion (Jacobite Rebellion) - 1715 and 1745 finally ending with the Battle of Culloden 1746
- War with Austria and Spain - 1727
- War of Austrian Succession - 1740 to 1748 - A European war where Britain took the Austrian side so that they could fight the French in the Americas
- The Seven Years War (French and Indian War) - 1755 to 1762
- The Mysore wars - 1767 to 1799 - a war against the Mysores (and their French allies) in India
- American War of Independence - 1776 to 1781
- Mahattra War - 1775 to 1803 - a war in central India
- Irish rebellion - 1798
- American War of 1812 against England and Canada
- Napoleanic War - 1793 to 1815 (NB press gangs started from this date).
- British retreat from Afghanistan - 1842
- Crimean War - 1854 to 1856, this was immediately followed by hostilities in China and the Indian Mutiny.
- Zulu War - 1879
- First Boer War - 1880
- Second Boer War - 1899 to 1901
- First World War - 1914 to 1918
- Second World War - 1939 to 1945
Killed or wounded have been listed from 1799. A useful reference book is "A Register of the Regiments and Corps of the British Army".
of Durham, 1647
The Bishop of Durham, Thomas Morton, was a Royalist during the Civil War and had church lands sequestered, 'because of his attitude'. Parliament ordered a survey of it. The survey covers many large manors in Durham and gives genealogical description of the pennants. For example, "Mary wife of Robert Cooke deceased, one of the co-heirs and daughters of Robt Humble deceased." The Parliamentary survey of Durham was published by the Surtees Society in volumes 183 and 185.
Records of Nonconformists
Religious toleration was unknown in the UK before 1650. The law allowed Protestant dissenters after the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 and the Toleration Act of 1689. The Penal Laws against Roman Catholics were continued until 1827. Nonconformists kept parish registers similar to Church of England records. Quakers kept a birth register, rather than a baptism register. In 1754, only Church of England ministers could conduct marriage except for Quakers and Jews. In 1880, Nonconformists ministers were allowed to conduct burials in parish churchyards. In 1837, approximately 16,500 registers of Baptists, Congregational lists, Prespetrians, Wesleyans and Quakers were collected and held by the Registrar General. Theses are not in the Public Record Office. Jews and Roman Catholics would not part with their registers. All Quaker registers surrendered are indexed and a copy is available at the following address: The Society of Friends, Friends' s House, Euston Road, London NW1.
Roman Catholics suffered
religious persecution and few registers survived before 1829. Roman Catholic
churches date from 1832. Roman Catholics were often recorded in parish register
as, 'Papist'. For example, "1767 John of George Chapman Lartington born
a Papist Dec 15th", Romaldkirk Bishops Transcripts, North Yorkshire.
Recusant Rolls - Give names and residence of Nonconformist in August 1677, search for them at the country record office.
Protestantion Oath Rolls - 1641 to 1642 - List people holding public office who were required to affirm loyalty to the Crown. These are often found in country record offices.
registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths started on 1st Jan 1855 In 1875
penalties were introduced for failing to register an event. (registration commenced
in England and Wales on 1st July 1837 with penalties being introduced in 1872
for non-compliance). More details of use to the genealogist were required however.
Births give the date and place of the parents marriage.
Marriages include the names of both parents and the mother's maiden name rather than the father's name only.
Deaths required the names of the parents of the deceased, the mother's maiden name and whether they were alive at the time the certificate was registered.
Scottish Birth Marriage and Death certificates are housed at New Register House in Edinborough. Unlike English records the Index is available on the Web and is searchable on payment of a fee.
Census records are available from 1841 and are located at the New Register House
These records, available in Scotland only, give an inventory of a deceased person's estate, their debts, will if any and the name of their executor. They are located in the Scottish Record Office, Princess Street, Edinborough
Service of Heirs
These records, available in Scotland only record details of a jury of people who knew the deceased and his relatives and who were called to declare the true heir. They are located in the Scottish Record Office, Princess Street, Edinborough.
Also found in the Scottish Record office are the Scottish Hearth Tax returns, which date from 1662 and list all those with property of more than £1, and the 1696 Poll Tax returns, listing all Scottish Electors.
Restoring old photographs
By scanning old photographs you can create a digital copy on your computer which can be manipulated using an image editor such as Paintshop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. This makes it possible to repair damaged photographs, make positive prints from old negatives or even add colour to black and white pictures. Try taking a look at the two tutorials here or visit http://www.retouchpro.com/tutorials/index.html