Archive for November, 2010


Burke’s peerage updates in the Society of Genealogists’ family history library

banner1 Burke’s peerage updates in the Society of Genealogists’ family history library

Family historians with aristocratic ancestry will know how useful Burke’s Peerage can be as a finding aid. However the printed version can become dated very quickly as people mentioned in its pages have children, are married, divorced or die.

Society of Genealogists’ member Nicholas Newington-Irving has therefore produced 12 volumes of updates to the 1999 and 2003 editions of Burke’s Peerage that list over 57,000 births, deaths and marriages that have occurred between 1999 and 2010. The information has been gleaned from collections of newspaper cuttings in the possession of the compiler.

An online index to these updates has now been made available for the first time on the Society of Genealogists’ Members Area. This contains the surname and forename of the person concerned, together with a note of which volume and page number the updates can be found in. Non members can do a free name search here but it is necessary to become a member to view the full references.

This is just one of a growing number of family history resources to be found on the Society’s Members Area.

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

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Boyd’s Marriage Index (Treasures Tuesday 23rd November 2010)

Boyd’s Marriage Index is an index to English marriages taken from copies of parish marriage registers, Bishop’s transcripts and marriage licences, from the period 1538 to 1840 (when statutory registration began). It was principally the work of Percival Boyd, MA, FSA, FSG (1866-1955) and his staff.

All English counties are covered, though none completely, and the periods indexed vary according to the copies of records which were readily available. Registers from over 4,300 parishes have been indexed, a total of over 7 million names. Well over a million of these names relate to the London and Middlesex areas.

Click here to find out more about this and other Treasures of the Society.

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Devon wills in the Society of Genealogists’ family history library

Anyone researching their family history in Devon will regret the loss of much of the county’s probate material in the 2nd world war. However the Society of Genealogist’s family history library in London holds indexes and transcripts of a number of Devon wills that were made before the loss, and some of these have now been made available on the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.

The Fothergill collection is a typical example. It was compiled in the early 1900s by Gerald Fothergill (1870-1926), an eminent genealogist and historian who lived in London. It is not clear why he compiled abstracts of sundry Devon wills, but he evidently went to Exeter and Taunton to study and abstract them, since almost all were proved and kept in one or other of those places. The abstracts can be found in the Middle library and an online index can be searched here.

Another book at the Society lists wills and administrations proved or granted at the Peculiar Court of the Dean of Exeter, from the 1630s to 1857.  All the original probate copies of wills proved in this court were destroyed in 1942.  This list therefore presents (with a few exceptions) the only surviving evidence that well over a thousand Devon individuals did in fact leave wills or had their estates administered.

The jurisdiction of the Dean’s Court covered the parish of Braunton (north-west of Barnstaple) and the Cathedral Close.  The latter area seems not to have been an actual parish, but merely the area immediately around the cathedral in Exeter.  Many of those who lived in the Cathedral Close worked in or for the cathedral in some way. The index can be searched here.

A third work lists wills and administrations proved or granted at the Peculiar Court of the Vicars Choral of Exeter, from the 1630s to 1857.  How and why the singing men in the choir at Exeter Cathedral came to have their own court is not known. Woodbury, the only parish which came under their jurisdiction, is a large one, not far south-east of Exeter.  An average of about four wills/administrations per year were dealt with, though this varied depending upon the time period. The index can be searched here.

The Devon Wills Project is seeking to gather details of as many Devon wills as possible and the Society is grateful for their help in compiling these indexes..

Tim Lawrence

Head of Library Services

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Agricultural Labourers or Londoners in your family tree?

If you don’t have one, you’ll probably have the other, and many will have both somewhere in their tree. Two of the Society of Genealogists’ most popular books are available once again this month. The revised edition of My Ancestor was an Agricultutral Labourer by Ian Waller and the sixth edition of My Ancestors were Londoners by Cliff Webb are both priced at £8.99 and available to buy in the society’s bookshop and online at www.sog.org.uk   SoG Members, don’t forget to take advantage of your 10% discount on the society’s publications…

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London and Boyd’s Family Units form a collection of 70,000 handwritten sheets each containing details of a London family, mostly covering the period of 16th to 18th centuries though extending from the 13th until well into the 20th centuries.

Compiled by Percival Boyd from a miscellany of sources, these extraordinary sheets are one of the Society of Genealogists’ most valuable holdings, and provide one of the key sources for researchers into London families.

Click here to find out more.

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