Ancestry Card Catalogue Lucky Dip

When you enter England as the location in the Card Catalogue and leave all other boxes blank it comes up with 991 entries. There are the well known and well used censuses, civil registration indexes, the London parish registers and the Army records, but what are the other hundreds of datasets for England?

As there are no major releases today from the likes of Ancestry or FindMyPast I thought I would pluck out one or two of the more unusual datasets, take a look and report on what I find.

Suffolk Committees for Scandalous Ministers, 1644-1646

Suffolk Committees for Scandalous Ministers, 1644-1646This dataset is a scanned copy of a book edited by Clive Homes, Assistant Professor at Cornell University and published in 1970 by the Suffolk Record Society.

The description attached to this book tells us that during the English Civil War a committee was set up to seek out Scandalous Ministers and these were defined as those who were “non-resident, incompetent or idle, scandalous either in life or in doctrine, or in any way ill-affected to Parliament” I suspect that there were a few of those around as anyone who didn’t agree with the Presbyterian viewpoint that parliament took was likely to be put under the heading of Scandalous Ministers.

The book has details of the cases brought against 38 ministers, including the wonderfully named Maptid Violet who was curate of Aldeburgh plus an index of witnesses which runs to five pages, so plenty of names that will feature on someone’s family tree. The book has been indexed so names should come up when a search is undertaken under the Stories & Publications tab on the main Ancestry page.

Index to Bristol Wills 1572 – 1792

This book is part of the extensive British Record Society series and was compiled by Edward Alexander Fry, it was published in 1897. The book has not been indexed (which seems odd as it is an index) so will not come up on any search, you have to know it’s in the Card Catalogue and then browse through page by page. Browsing page by page is easy enough as it is obviously arranged alphabetically, but you have to first know it is there before you can browse.

The front page tells me that it is Bristol Wills 1572 – 1792 that is wills proved in the Bishop of Bristol’s Court so there will be people included here who didn’t live in the city of Bristol, but came under the jurisdiction of the court, but also included in the book  is an index to Wills in the Great Orphan Books 1379 – 1674. There is a good introduction that thankfully explains what the Great Orphan Books are, these are wills where the testator left children who were minors at the time of their death and the city authorities acted as guardians until the child became of age.

The index for the wills is naturally arranged by surname, then Christian name and finally date of probate.. Sadly there is nothing else given to identify the person so if a popular name such as Thomas Smith is sought you may have some difficulty identifying which Thomas Smith is yours unless you know the date of death.

Administrations (where the deceased didn’t leave a will) are indexed from page 108, this index gives the name of the deceased, the name of the administrator and the date of probate so you are more likely to be able to quickly identify an ancestor.

From page 125 the index for the Great Orphan Books starts. This index is much fuller than the first two, a typical entry will give the surname, Christian name, occupation, which parish the deceased lived in at the time of death, probate date and a reference number. It also note if the will was proved through the Provocative Court of Canterbury not in the Bristol Bishopric Court. Below is a scan of the first page of the Great Orphan Book Index.



This book is a great resource for those with ancestors who lived within the diocese of the Bishop of Bristol, why it hasn’t been index by Ancestry so that it comes up when a search is undertaken goodness only knows. I will be adding it to my section on Records by County on which is the sister site to this one. Hopefully this will let more people know what is available hidden in the depths of the Ancestry Card Catalogue.

I have written an earlier post explaining how to use the Card Catalogue and here is the link

More Surrey records on FindMyPast

St Marys Rotherhithe Church

FindMyPast has added more Surrey records to their Thames & Medway Collection. This time round it is the turn of St Mary’s Rotherhithe and St Paul’s Rotherhithe, the records are transcripts of baptisms 1850 – 1900 & marriages 1870 – 1885. The mother church for Rotherhithe is St Mary which has parish registers dating from 1555, St Paul’s was built as a Chapel of Ease in 1850. The baptisms entries state that the ceremonies took place at St Mary’s, but we are told that they actually took place at St Paul’s.

Sadly St Paul’s was demolished in 1955, but St Mary’s still remains. The church has a website with information on the history of parish. A link to the website is given below.

These transcripts have been provided to FindMyPast by Rob Cottrell.

New Warwickshire parish transcripts online


FindMyPast have just announced new additions to their Warwickshire Parish Transcripts Collection. The new records are for the following …




Newbold upon Avon, Rugby

Baptisms    1559-1876
Marriages   1559-1837
Burials        1560-1901

The Rugby Family history Group provided these records.



Marriages   1757-2011
All Saints Leamington Hastings, St Giles Chesterton, Harbury, St Margaret Woolston, St Michael Bishops Itchington, St Mary the Virgin Rudford, Stockton, St John Baptist Stanbridge, Holy Trinity Long Itchington, St Lawrence Napton, St Mary Farleigh, St Alkmund Derby, St Mary Cubbington, St Peter & Paul Cofe Deddington Oxon, All Saints Harbury, St Michael & All Angels Warfield Berks, All Saints Leek Wootton, St John Baptist Clarendon Park Leics, St Peter & Clare Fenny Compton, St Nicholas Kenilworth, St Michael & All Angels Ufton, Romsey Abbey, St John Baptist Blisworth, St Peter Wormleighton, St Mark Winshill, St Mary Tysoe, St John Brandon Co. Durham.

The Southam marriage records are for what is called “away banns”, this means that either the bride or groom was a resident of Southam and the other party came from a different parish.

Burials   1539-2012

The Southam records were provided by Pam Batstone and Mary Williams.

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units

Percival Boyd would have loved the internet, he was a prolific indexer and produced the Boyd’s Marriage index and the lesser known, but as important Boyd’s Inhabitants of London and Boyd’s Family Units. I can imagine that if he was alive today he would be pleased to have his indexes available on the internet and I suspect he may have been quite a presence on the genealogy blogging scene!

What is Boyd’s Inhabitants of London?

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London are sheets that contain details of a family living in London, the sources for the information are varied and not always documented. The time period covered is generally 16th to 18th century.  The collection has in the region of 60,000 sheets, all handwritten.

As a source for family history Boyd’s Inhabitants of London are invaluable as they can link families outside of London with those who migrated to the city. It is well worth searching this collection even if you haven’t discovered any ancestors in London.

What is Boyd’s Family Units?

Boyd’s Family Units were designed by Percival Boyd to be an extension to Inhabitants of London, it comprises of a further 10,00 sheets with families coming from a wider geographical area. The two collections have been amalgamated by FindMyPast into one index which contains over half a million names as more than one person is named on each sheet. The time period covered is lengthier than the Inhabitants of London, 14th to 20th century.

Where are the Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units?

The original sheets are in the care of the Society of Genealogists, London, but have been scanned, indexed and placed online by FindMyPast.

What can you expect to find on Boyd’s Inhabitants of London & Boyd’s Family Units?

Each Boyd’s Inhabitants of London sheet starts with a man who often, but not always, was a citizen of London, it has the parish in which he is living also it may, or may not, have his wife’s name and the date and place of marriage, his parents details, his children’s names and dates of baptism, his occupations and other such notes that may have been found on the documents consulted to make up the sheet.

The Boyd’s Family Units sheets can start with a man who has links with England, he may be living anywhere worldwide. they then have similar details noted as the Inhabitants of London. The British Empire countries are well represented here as well as America, this makes this a valuable collection for those who have ancestors who have left England to make their fortunes elsewhere.

As both of these collections are fully indexed they are easily searched so really it would be worth while for anyone to enter their family names in the search box.

Below is an example of a sheet from Boyd’s Inhabitants of London, it is for Matthew Pottinger an ancestor of mine who I had no reason to think had left rural Berkshire to establish a business in London. The sheets mentions his will in which he named his brother John & his wife Dorothy, his brother Nicholas & his wife Dorothy and their son Richard and his sister Mary. This was enough information to make me surmise that this Matthew was “my” Matthew. A copy of London Matthew’s will confirmed that he was indeed mine. The clincher was his bequest of monies for the poor of his home parish of Compton in Berkshire. What wasn’t mentioned in the Boyd’s sheet was that he left the majority of his estate to his maid servant this must have surprised his seemingly very conventional farming family!

Boyd’s Inhabitants of London

Below is an example of one of the Boyd’s Family Units sheets. This is for Richard Pyott who was from Staffordshire and names his wife, her parents, their children and their spouses, his occupation, reference numbers of wills for both Richard and his wife and a description of his arms. Valuable information for those researching the Pyott family history.


Thanks must go to the memory of Percival Boyd who worked so long and diligently to provide the genealogical world with such valuable indexes.

Quaker Family History Society

Quaker Family History GenealogyDo you have Quaker’s on your family tree ? If so then you may already belong to the Quaker Family History Society, if not then I think you should check out this website and consider joining. The great thing about Quakers, from a history point of view is that they were wonderful record keepers often making note of everyone who attended their meetings.