Society of Genealogists Archives


Quarter Million New Entries Added to Society of Genealogists’ Data Online

Volunteers have been really busy the SoG in the last couple of months and I’m please to say we’ve uploaded approximately 250,000 new entries to the Society’s online data on MySoG plus images of another 7 poll books.

Access to the Society’s data is available exclusively to members on MySoG as part of the annual membership subscription, although a free surname search will enable non-members to see if the names they are interested in appear on MySoG. More background to the newly uploaded collection can be found in the notes on MySoG. Information about joining the Society can be found on the Society of Genealogists Website

PDF image are now available for the following poll books, comprising some of the most useful genealogical lists for the late 18th and early 19th centuries:-

Ipswich Poll Book 1820
Suffolk East Poll Book 1835
Evesham Poll book 1780
York Poll Book 1758
City of London Poll Book 1837
Newcastle upon Tyne Poll Book 1741
Norfolk West Poll Book 1865
Our volunteers continue to index furiously and the following Datasets with some 247, 000 entries have been uploaded onto MySoG.

  • Hertfordshire marriage index 1538-1837 ( 168,969 entries)
  • Index to The Great Western Railway in WW1 (3,258 entries)

This book (“The Great Western Railway in the First World War” by Sandra Gittins, published by History Press 2010) had no consolidated index, with the majority of the tabulated names divided into those receiving specific gallantry awards and a listing of all employees who died and the names on the Rolls of Honour at stations around the former GWR territory. This index makes the book much more useful, The Great Western Railway in the First World War” by Sandra Gittins, published by History Press 2010 SoG Library Shelfmark PR/RAIL

  • Holborn St Andrew marriages 1813-1837 (expanding the earlier index coverage of 1754-1812) (17,884 entries)

The church of St Andrew, Holborn is the largest of Wren’s parish churches and stands at the western end of Holborn Viaduct by Holborn Circus. It also served one of the biggest parishes in London (it actually spanned the boundary of London and Middlesex) out of which five new parishes were eventually formed. The registers are large and contain many thousands of entries, as the parish has always been a popular place to marry

  • Apprentices of Great Britain 1710-1764: Books 10 & 11 & 1773-1811: Piece 62 (46,000 entries

This is part of the on- going project to rekey and make the old index volumes easier to use. A tax was levied on Apprentices from 1710-1810 paid to the Board of Stamps. In the 1920’s the volumes for the periods 1710-1762 and 1763-1773 at the (then) Public Record Office were transcribed by members of the Society of Genealogists. The typescript index has been on the Library shelves for over 80 years, sorted alphabetically by the names of the Apprentices. The details of masters are found using the separate volumes of the Index to Masters. The original registers are in class IR1 at The National Archives, but the Society of Genealogists holds images of most of the pieces on CD or film. To access the details of Apprentices, it is essential to use the index, as the original is in chronological order or the date when the tax was paid to the Board of Stamps.

Work started at the beginning of 2010 and is now in progress by volunteers from the Society of Genealogists to enter the details contained in the original work by the Society of Genealogists on to a database to make the records of a century of apprentices accessible to a wider audience. Having acquired a set of films of the later work towards the end of 2010, the images from the films are being transcribed at the same time as work progresses on re-keying the original work.

  • Index to Archdeaconry Court of London wills 1750-1781 (1338 entries)

 

  • Association Oath Roll for Monmouth 1696 (226 entrie

Following a Jacobite plot against William III, an Act of Association required all office holders to take a solemn Oath of Association vowing to combine with others ‘for the better preservation of His Majesty’s royal person and government’. Although intended for office holders, the Oath rolls were open for all to sign and in many places most males of some age and standing did so. The originals are held at the National Archives in class C 213, whilst the returns for Monmouthshire are in piece numbers 176-180. This transcript, donated to the Society by Denzil Hollis in 1948 is described as being for ‘The County of Monmouth’. However it is not clear whether this lists inhabit ants of the town of Monmouth, or the county of Monmouthshire.

  • Some Scottish rebels of the 1745 Rebellion

These two lists of Scottish Rebels of the 1745 Rebellion were transcribed from the Patent Rolls of King George II in 1747, held at the National Archives (Class CC 66-3625). They contain the following:

Folio 21 List of Rebels Pardoned on condition of enlistment in Admiral Boscawen’s 12 Independent Companies (sent to fight in India)

Folio 14 List of Rebels Pardoned on Condition of Transportation to the American Colonies.

  • Surname studies on the following surnames by Michael J E Gater:
    Bower (1019 entries)
    Jenks (2120 entries)
    Russell (1418 entries)
    Swancott (813 entries)
    Tassell (2337 entries)
    Usborne (1885 entries)

Information for these studies has been taken from various sources over a period of 40 years. Where the original record has been consulted the exact entry has been given. However it has been necessary to condense some of the longer entries (Census records for example), and in all instances researchers should check the original source. No guarantee is given for any possible errors or omissions which may have occurred during the transcription and typing process of the index. When research on this name commenced, many of the original records were held by the individual parish. The source reference, therefore, merely indicates the record and does not state where it is held at the present time.

 

 

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Book of the Month – March 2012

The Society’s Book of the Month for March is My Ancestor was an Apprentice, by Stuart Raymond. Most of us have apprentices among our ancestors, since for several centuries it was a legal requirement to serve an apprenticeship before practicing a trade. This book outlines the history of apprenticeship, describes the records which survive and suggests ways in which researchers can investigate apprentices in their family tree. For the month of March, My Ancestor was an Apprentice is available at the special offer price of £7.19, or £6.47 for members of the Society. Offer ends 31/03/2012.

An Index of London Schools and their Records

The addition of  the London School Admissions and Discharges records, 1840-1911 to the Ancestry website provides the opportunity to remind researchers and family historians of Cliff Webb’s Index of London Schools and their Records, published by the Society of Genealogists. The book lists educational establishments covered by the old London County Council alongside available records of genealogical interest, and is a useful tool for anyone researching London schools and those who attended them. An Index of London Schools and their Records is available at £8.95 (10% discount for SoG members) from the society’s bookshop and online at www.sog.org.uk.

 

My Dearest Husband – My Darling Little Woman

Much has been written about George Frederick Tudor Sherwood, esteemed genealogist and Founder Fellow of the Society of Genealogists. The role he played in the early years of the foundation of the Society is immeasurable, hosting its early meetings at his offices in the Strand and as the first Hon. Secretary, later Hon Treasurer and then Chairman of the Executive. He worked fantastically hard and was one of the pioneering agitating genealogists in the early years of the twentieth century. Centenary013 George Tudor Sherwood obit thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.He died in 1958 aged 91 and his obituary in the Genealogists’ Magazine of that year is accompanied by a portrait photograph of a man with a reserved, almost diffident look. Many of the manuscript research notes dispersed within the Society’s Document Collection are annotated and numbered in Sherwood’s distinctive hand and originated largely from his professional genealogical practice.

Amongst the special collections of the Society of Genealogists can be found the single box of the Sherwood collection comprising notes on his own family history in Berkshire and Kent. The collection also contains correspondence, accounts and other family ephemera. There are photocopies of the touching letters from Sherwood’s son Ralph, Private in the 2/25th Cyclist and 3rd Reserve Battalion regarding his training and service in the First World. The originals of these letters were deposited with the Imperial War Museum in 2000. The collection description gives a rather terse account of a second set of letters in the files – namely “Correspondence between George and Sophia Sherwood (nee Gibbs) covering their courtship, marriage and George Sherwood’s work as a genealogist amongst other subjects”

Sherwood letter My Dear Little Woman2 Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.

The earliest letter is dated Monday 11 March 1889 and addressed to “My Dear Miss Gibbs” in which the 22 year old George, just beginning his genealogical career, arranges to meet 26 year old Sophia at Walham Green Station the next Wednesday assuring her

“I could have discovered the house without the slightest difficulty as I made a special point of finding out its exact position when at the British Museum today. Had it been otherwise could you imagine for a moment that the trouble would have been anything but a pleasure? My cold is, on account of your good wishes, fast disappearing, in fact I feel quite robust in anticipation of meeting you … yours ever George F Tudor Sherwood”Sherwood letter My Darling Husband thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.

The couple married later that year. They are kept apart much in life as George travelled extensively about the country for his business to look at records held in churches, libraries and local probate courts. He writes from Leicester, Nottingham, Canterbury and elsewhere often staying in local hotels. In one six month period during 1897, for instance, he visited Winchester, Wells, Andover, St Asaph and Peterborough. He writes of his unsuccessful searches.

“after a stiff day’s work at the Probate Registry – 10 to 5 – I have just finished tea – chop, mince pie and coffee – and a pipe. A cold sleety, windy night … With another day’s work I shall finish, but I am afraid in regard to Hadden the search will not give us the information we want …

… How is my little woman getting on? I hope tomorrow evening to get a train that will land me home not later than 10. “

 

Sherwood letter Christmas 1891 thumb Love in the Archives    The love letters of George and Sophia Sherwood and a genealogical romance.George and Sophia fall into the tradition of exchanging Christmas and Valentines letter each year. The envelope of the 1891 Christmas letter to Sophia is charmingly decorated with doodled heart shape shields. On the night before Valentine’s day in 1890 George writes

“My darling little woman

As you have just requested me to come to bed shortly in such beseeching tones and you think I might make it half past eleven, also taking into consideration that the little woman never has her own way, your valentine’s letter must of necessity be a short one. Need I say that the wish dearest to my heart is that we may be no less happy than we are now, each successive year bringing with it its own valentine in the shape of mutual affection, heath and peace of mind? For in the first place mutual affection is the talisman which in great measure ensures the last named, carrying with it toleration of each other’s failings and smoothing most of the difficulties in the path of life”

Several of George’s letters ask Sophia to forgive his failings. Their early years were a struggle together. There doesn’t seem to be much money in the life of a record agent. Debts are paid by borrowing from family and dipping into Sophia’s box. She sends him the key at one point imploring him to take the locket within. Separated frequently, they do miss each other terribly. Each spends time with their own aging parents and family and George is with his father, “the Guv” when he dies. In 1905 George writes from Somerset House “Of course I do miss you. I have been cold in bed at nights and slept badly”. George tries to keep house while Sophia herself is away but doesn’t seem to be very successful at keeping down the dirt or the mess of his working life and documents scattered around. By 1911 George has taken his office in the Strand where he is to host the Society’s inaugural meeting and presumably takes some of his working life out of what was to become the family home at 50 Beecroft Road, Brockley. However his rooms in the Strand were pretty soon overwhelmed by the growing collections of the Society of Genealogists that were housed there until 1914. George was editor of the Pedigree Register from 1907 “for authenticated genealogies and family history” and wrote extensively on genealogical matters and his genealogical business was finally taking off as he actively campaigned for greater access to public records.

The 1911 Census shows George and Sophia together at Beecroft Road with their 5 children, having been married 21 years. Their only son Ralph aged 19 is working with his father as a record agent. His sister May Sophia aged 20 is a pupil teacher. Presumably daughters Constance (16), Katherine (14) and Barbara (11) are still at school.

This happy marriage lasted 38 years until Sophia’s death in 1927 aged 64. By this time George was playing a prominent role at the Society of Genealogists as its “consummate administrator” and devoting much of his time to the development of the Society’s Great Card Index and D-Manuscripts (miscellaneous manuscript research notes arranged by surname, now known as the Document Collection). The letters between Sophia and George are just part of the Sherwood personal and genealogical papers found in one of the Society’s 350 Special Collections of family papers and genealogical research, and have been touched on only briefly in this article. They deserve to be read fully and transcribed as a personal history. The papers are, however, typical of what may be found in the Society of Genealogists’ Special Collections which are packed with personal papers, diaries, letters and photographs as well as pedigrees and genealogical notes.

Aged 62 George Sherwood met his 2nd wife Mrs May Ethel McIntyre nee Trinder at the Society. She was about the same age as his daughter May and had been a member herself since 1925 and secretary to one of the early Fellows. They married in 1929. George died in 1958 and an obituary appears in the Genealogists’ Magazine. Mrs May Sherwood returned to work for the Society as Archivist after her husband’s death and retired in 1966. Her own obituary in the Genealogists’ Magazine in 1975 shows George had been lucky again with his choice of partner as she was remembered for “the warm and friendly interest she took in everyone with whom she came in contact with and her genuine desire to help others with their problems. Added to this, her lively nature and robust sense of humour made her a most enjoyable companion at all times”. George and May were both profoundly devoted to the Society of Genealogists.

 

 

Sources

Society of Genealogists – Sherwood Collection

1911 Census

Family Matters. A History of Genealogy by Michael Sharpe, 2011

Society of Genealogists: A Century of Family History, Else Churchill, Nicholas Newington Irving and Roy Stockdill – eds, 2011.

 

 

Else Churchill

Valentines Day 2012.

 

 

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A Report of the Society’s Visit to Christ Church Spitalfields on 25 January 2012

Thank God for neglect!  Mauling by the Victorians and then neglect to the point of dereliction by the late 1950′s provided the opportunity to restore this beautiful Hawksmoor baroque church, not just to its former glory but to its original 1729 glory; a shining beacon in this run down and deprived area of East London.  Yet in the late 1950′s it was deemed unsafe for the congregation to use and destined to be demolished – something that Hitler had failed to do (although the crypt replete with coffins was used as an air raid shelter!).   A committee (The Hawksmoor Committee) was formed to raise public awareness and campaign for the church’s retention, which they achieved with great success in spite of the then Bishop of Stepney’s views (Trevor Huddleston).   Although the church was saved, it remained derelict for many years.  Then in 1976 the Friends of Christ Church was formed to raise money for its restoration at a cost in excess of £10 million, which took until 2004, although parish worship was able to return in 1987.  Restoration is not quite complete: funds are still needed to restore the original 1735 Richard Bridge Organ, the pulpit and the lectern.  The result is a church much as the original architect intended, considered his masterpiece at the time and the size of a small cathedral, extensively using the original timber and other materials. The only Victorian feature retained is the 1876 stained glass east window which was too good to remove.

From a genealogy point of view there is wealth of information available, starting with the Natural History Museum!  The crypt contained 1000 iron coffins, piled high and even stood on end in every available space.  Yet the coffins had been so perfectly sealed that the contents had been preserved; clothes and bodies.  The value of this to historians, archeologists and even scientists was recognised, eventually resulting in the coffins being ‘loaned’ to the Natural History Museum in the 1980′s for research, where they are due to remain for another 10 years.  Every coffin was clearly inscribed and an index is available from the museum.  A further 68,000 burials have taken place in the churchyard, many in similar iron coffins.  These have all been reinterred but the church hold records of the bodies that could be identified.  In the past, the church has also been connected with both the East London Huguenots and Jewish communities, particularly the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews who placed a number of memorial tablets in the church.

A fabulous building well worth a visit if you can but with a great deal more information and photographs on their web sites.  http://www.christchurchspitalfields.org/v2/home/home.shtmland http://www.ccspitalfields.org/ The internet is also a good source of information about Nicholas Hawksmoor who was a pupil and protege of Christopher Wren, responsible for many notable buildings in England including six London churches erected under the 1711 Act for Fifty New Churches.

Barry Hepburn

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