Bedfordshire Parish Transcripts available on CD

The Bedfordshire Family History Society has produced CD’s F G Emmisonof the parish register transcripts and other records that they hold. The transcripts, I assume, are those made by F.G. Emmison who worked at the Bedfordshire Record office for some years. The Emmison transcripts have been available on fiche for a long time, but it is good news that they are now available on CD as the machines for reading the microfiche are becoming almost extinct.

The CD’s are priced from £10 and one CD covers one parish. Each CD has a parish map showing where in Bedfordshire the parish lies, a 19th century description of the parish (possibly from Lewis Topographical?), photographs of the church & village, images of the printed transcripts from start of the parish registers to 1812, then searchable transcripts from 1812 to approximately 1851 for baptisms and burials and 1837 for marriages. Also included are images of the 1851 census index for the parish compiled by the Bedfordshire FHS. you are lucky you may also find loaded onto the CD Monumental Inscriptions for the churchyard and other graveyards within the parish, I also noted that some parishes have non-conformist register transcripts also included on the CD. As Bedfordshire was a hot bed for non-conformists this is a valuable addition to the CD.

I have ancestors in Eaton Socon and using that parish as an example I find that the £25 CD included

  • St Mary Baptisms 1566-1852
  • St Mary Marriages 1573-1837
  • St Mary Marriage Surname Index 1573-1837
  • St Mary Burials 1567-1851
  • Monumental Inscriptions – St Mary (compiled by Bedfordshire FHS)
    Monumental Inscriptions – St Mary 1400-2009 (compiled by Eatons Community Association)
  • Non-Conformist Registers – Bedford Methodist Circuit Class Book 1781-1806

I am surprised that Ancestry or FindMyPast haven’t obtained rights to publish these transcripts online, so buying the CD’s is an economic way for researchers who live some distance from the Bedfordshire Archives to search the transcripts.

Oxfordshire Parish Registers to go online

Genealogy Family History Oxfordshire

I haven’t visited the Oxfordshire History Centre website for a while and on visiting it today found a small notice on the front page saying that from 25 June this year they have started an eight month project to digitise the parish registers of Oxfordshire and put them online.

I wonder if this is in conjunction with Ancestry or Find My Past or an in-house project? Either way it is good news for those of us who have ancestors in Oxfordshire. I’m thrilled!

If you are intending to visit the Centre then it would pay to contact them first to check that any registers that you wish to look at are available and not off being digitised. Their phone number is 01865 398200.

FindMyPast Middlesex Collection – new additions

Philip Richard Morris - The Christening Party Whoo Hoooo !!!!!

 FindMyPast has added 95,000+ new baptism transcriptions and 79,000+ burial transcriptions to their Middlesex Collection. If you have ancestors who lived in the London/Middlesex area, and most of us have, you will know how easy it is to lose them in the great metropolis. The Collections offered by FindMyPast and Ancestry are such a great help.

There is a list of the parishes covered on the website, but sadly not the time period covered this is an admission that I think FindMyPast needs to address. The transcripts have been prepared by Cliff Webb an expert on London/Middlesex family history.

Clay Cross, Derbyshire Burial Records

FindMyPast has added to their Derbyshire Collection, this time it is 11,576 new burials for Clay Cross, Derbyshire. The new dataset covers the 1800 – 1998 time period. The transcripts have been provided by the Derbyshire Family History Society.

If you have ancestors from Clay Cross then you will be as keen to search these records as I am. I’ve put a link to the Derbyshire Family History Society below as well as the link to FindMyPast.

Enjoy Smile !!

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