Five best resources to boost your pre-1837 research

By Deputy Editor, 26 March 2015 - 12:41pm

Deputy editor Claire Vaughan has broken through some of her own brick walls this week – with the help of some great pre-1837 resources

Claire Vaughan is the deputy editor of WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 26 March 2015
Claire Vaughan, deputy editor
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This week, with spring in the air, I decided to revisit some of the brick walls that have stopped my research in its tracks – many abandoned before a lot of the big data releases of recent years came online.

In search of inspiration I read through the brilliant feature on pre-1837 research in the current issue of the magazine. It gave me the boost (and leads) I needed, and I’m happy to say that I’ve managed to resuscitate many of my dead ends!

Here are my favourite sources:

Early newspapers and journals – love, love, love this resource and have just pinned down the dates of death for two of my pre-census labourer ancestors using the British Newspaper Archive (also available on Findmypast).

Marriage bonds and allegations – these often exist for ‘by licence’ marriages. They might list jobs, friends and other family – great for pre-marriage certificates research. I found marriage bonds for my Cheshire forebears on Findmypast.

Early military records – I dug up loads of juicy details about an ancestor who fought at Waterloo in the service records 1760-1915 on Findmypast while Army and Navy lists on The Genealogist.co.uk and Archive.org are also useful.

Settlement examinations – These provide all sorts of personal information about an individual’s situation including origin – great for tracking down elusive baptisms. Ancestry hosts the LMA collection, while I found Derbyshire kin on the excellent Yesterdays Journey

Criminal records – from criminal indexes to debtor’s prison registers (both on Ancestry) to transcriptions of Old Bailey trials, there’s a huge amount you can find out about any ancestor who fell foul of the law.

There are masses more records out there to jump-start your pre-1837 research, but watch out for the pitfalls. To find out how to avoid these and get the most out of the resources available, don’t miss the feature in our April issue.

Found any good record sources for pre-1837 research? Email us or let us know via Facebook and Twitter – we’d love to hear about them!

 

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