Wiltshire Records now on Ancestry

Wiltshire Church Records, 1538-1897

Ancestry.co.uk has put online some interesting church records for Wiltshire. It’s been done without the usual fanfare and email out to bloggers, perhaps they are all too busy at RootsTech !

This is a mixed bag of records, the source of the material is vague

Quaker Records

Quaker Births 1636 – 1837
Quaker Deaths 1542 – 1897

These Quaker records were sourced from a private donor, there are no digitized images of the originals and without knowing the provenance it is hard to tell how accurate they are.

Extracted Parish Records 1500’s – 1900’s

These have come from various publications of parish and probate record and at the bottom of the information is this list which I assume is the source for this information

Wiltshire: – Inquisitions Post Mortem returned to the court of chancery, 1242-1326
Wiltshire: – Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem Returned Into the Court              of Chancery, 1327-1377
Wiltshire: – Abstracts of Inquisitions Post Mortem Returned Into the Court of Chancery in the Reign of Charles 1st
Wiltshire: – Registers of Marriages, 1561-1812
Wiltshire: – Registers of Marriages, 1591-1812
Wiltshire: – Registers of Marriages, 1538-1812


Wiltshire Marriages 1538 – 1837

This set of transcripts have come from a  private donor, they have been indexed by Ancestry. I am unable to ascertain if it is a full transcript or partial and whether it covers all the parishes of Wiltshire. 


Bishops Cannings parish registers transcribed by J H Parry 1906

This is a scan of a privately printed transcript of the parish registers from Bishops Canning, Wiltshire. The transcript runs from 1591 – 1812. The book has an index at the beginning and possibly because of this Ancestry hasn’t indexed it, so use the index and then browse the pages.


This collection will be useful for those with Wiltshire ancestry, but use them with caution if you find an entry of interest then you need to check the original record as Ancestry seems to have been reticent as to who is the transcriber.



Cross Bones Graveyard, Southwark, London

Cross Bones GraveyardYesterday I watched an old episode of History Cold Case which was available on YouTube. The case the team was looking at was of a young woman whose skeleton had been excavated by the Museum of London from the Cross Bones cemetery in Red Cross Street, Southwark. This cemetery is of un-consecrated ground that is in danger of being re-developed into blocks of apartments. The Museum of London was given 6 weeks in which undertake an archaeological dig in the 1990’s before a transformer station was built in one corner. They excavated 148 bodies from that portion of the site and they estimate that 15,000 people may be buried in the cemetery.

The cemetery dates from post medieval times Hogarth's Southwarkand was once known as the single woman’s burial ground, a euphemism for prostitutes burial ground. By 1769 it had become a pauper’s burial ground for the poor of St Saviours Church. The cemetery was closed in 1853 as it was considered full, an understatement, and the Burial Act of 1853 closed the vast majority of the city’s burial grounds and church yards.

The local community is in a constant battle to stop the re-development of this cemetery, the first attempt was made in 1883 and it seems that since then there has been attempt after attempt to ignore the cemetery and simply re-use the land. There are several links below which lead to website which outline the history of the burial ground and the present local people who are determined to see it turned into a memorial park honouring those buried there.

As genealogists of course we are interested in the records for the burial ground. I have found the burial registers St Saviour, Southwark 1720 –1854 and St Thomas, Southwark 1614 – 1856 and death registers for St Saviours Union Workhouse Infirmary 1833 – 1940 are all on Ancestry.co.uk. Of course the burial registers do not give information on just where the deceased were buried simply that a burial service was conducted for them and the Infirmary register is of deaths, not burials.

A search of the London Metropolitan Archives catalogue found six documents of possible interest. A search of A2A didn’t produce anything of interest, but National Archives have 2 documents that concern the burial ground, one of which may well be the burial register for the cemetery. These documents haven’t been digitised therefore are not online.

Cross Bones Grave YardI visited the burial ground in 2008 and by coincidence I met John Constable the leader of the community group who are campaigning to keep the developers out. After a brief chat about the burial ground he asked if I would like to go inside, the area is fenced, but John had a key. He led the way and told me about how he found out about the burial ground and it’s history and the people who are buried there. I was told later that it is quite unusual for John to invite a stranger into the burial ground.

John’s tale of how he was led to find the site is an interesting one and to this day I am not sure if I believe it, but standing in the burial ground it seemed a totally normal occurrence! I’ll leave you to read all about it on the Cross Bones website and you can make your own mind up !




London Metropolitan Archives


National Archives




Cross Bones Burial Ground


BBC Audio Slide Show


Museum of London



images Cross Bones Graveyard, Hogarth’s Southwark – Wikimedia

Manchester Parish Records now Online at Ancestry

Manchester Parish RecordsI thought Ancestry & FindMyPast were about due to release another set of records, all genealogists need a regular hit of something new to search and Ancestry has just delivered……..

The release is Manchester parish records 1541 – 1985. The original records are held by the Manchester Libraries and Archives. A list of parishes is available online at Ancestry, in all 64 parishes are included.

A while ago FindMyPast also released a collection of Manchester records from the same source, their collection consists of apprenticeship records, cemetery & death records, school admissions & discharges, prison registers and workhouse registers.

So between the two rivals there is a splendid range of records for those with Manchester ancestors. This should keep my friend, Jill, whose family on both sides comes from within a small radius of Manchester, very happy !!



Billion Graves now on Ancestry

http://www.ancestry.com/death?cj=1&netid=cj&o_xid=0003300142&o_lid=0003300142&o_sch=Affiliate+ExternalAncestry has gathered the BillionGraves website into it’s fold, the BillionGraves website is still up and running, but can now also be searched via Ancestry.com. All part of Ancestry’s plan to be the #1 genealogy one stop shop no doubt. The search is free through Ancestry and doesn’t require you to be a subscriber and presumably when you do a search and a name is found it directs you through to the BillionGraves site.

I say presumably because when I tried I got the Please Search Again message from Ancestry saying The search request could not be completed because insufficient information was provided to Ancestry.com. If the search request originated from another web site, please contact that site’s administrator to resolve the problem.”  I checked that the Billiongraves website was up and running and it was, so I think it must be the link between http://billiongraves.com/them and Ancestry.

The database is heavily bias towards the USA, but has a growing number of English graves, all the work is undertaken by volunteers so it is dependant on someone going out with the iPhone/Android App and clicking away and uploading the photos.

I did a search for the surname Pottinger in the UK on the BillionGraves site and came up with two entries from Kingston upon Thames and four from Edinburgh. Well worth bookmarking this site and it will be good when it is fully integrated into Ancestry.





Divorce Records now online

Ancestry.co.uk Divorce Records

This new set of records from Ancestry.co.uk will, for some, definitely comes under the heading of belonging to the skeleton in the cupboard !!! However most genealogists soon discover that you need to embrace the records that don’t reflect well on our ancestors as well as those which do.

The Civil Divorce Records 1858 – 1911 can provide lots of information for family histories, claim and counter claim about the reason why a divorce is being sort plus date of marriage, children born and where the couple lived.

A test search for the name Elliott brought forth 108 results. I chose Archibald McVine Elliott as my example. the document gave the following information.

Mary Adele Elliott v Archibald Elliott

Petition filed by Mary Adele Elliott 20 June 1888
Decree Nisi 27 Oct 1888
Final Decree 30 April 1889
Solicitor for Mary Adele Elliott Edwin Hughes of the Strand
Married 2 August 1873 at St Gabriel, Pimlico between Archibald McVine Elliott & Mary Adele Gibbs, spinster
Reason for divorce adultery coupled with desertion for 2 years and upwards without cause
Child of the marriage Grace Lydia Miller Elliott born 8 December 1876
Address of Mary A Elliott 166 Cambridge Road, Pimlico
Address the couple lived at 7 Sutherland Place, Pimlico
39 Lorimore Road, Walworth
23 Basnet Grove, Lavender Hill, Wandsworth
Archibald deserted Mary on or about 13 September 1876
Archibald’s adultery February 1882 at 273 Cable Street, Shadwell Archibald lived and co-habited with Elsie or Elise Morgan. Another 5 address where  Archibald & Elsie lived are given. Also Archibald & Elsie went under the name of Mr & Mrs Hamilton.
Death of Elsie Morgan 22 January 1888
After Elsie’s death Archibald went to live with his sister Mrs Grace Dowie Harding of 460 Harrow Road, London
Archibald’s relation Stepmother, 4 brothers (2 in Bethlehem Hospital, one secretary of the Badminton Club, Piccadilly, one a doctor at the Colonial Hospital, Geraldton, Western Australia, one sister. 
Marriage certificate Copy of marriage certificate included in file
Death certificate Copy of death certificate of John Archibald Hamilton who died aged 4 months at 273 Cable Street. John must have been a son of Archibald & Elsie.

There are 19 pages in all, some are double pages. As can be seen there is an enormous amount of information to be found in these records. A valuable addition to the Ancestry set of databases.