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Researching Your English Ancestors

   Now I’ve really confused you since my focus is Irish research.  But yes, I do have one English line that emigrated twice, in the late 1880s, then went back to England for a few years and returned in the early 1890s.  It’s been an interesting process for me, since as an “experienced” researcher I jumped right into the parish registers.  That was fine, but I soon discovered that when I didn’t find what I was looking for, I needed to re-group (see yesterday’s blog).   So today, I started off with a good research book on English records…my friend Paul Milner’s A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors.

   If you’ve Irish ancestors, don’t close the blog, but read on.  The process is what’s important here.  If you’re lucky, your Irish ancestors may have spent some time in England or Scotland prior to their emigration to the US.  I say lucky, because England and Scotland have a lot more records than Ireland.  But even if they didn’t stop along the way, they may have migrated across the US, so at each stop, you need to learn more about the records of that locality before you can effectively research.  

   In his chapter on the “Uniqueness of English Research” Paul begins:

"English research is not the same as U.S. research, and that’s what makes it so interesting.”1

So true…all locality research is unique which is why you need to understand the records of each locality.

   I need to do more reading and studying on Derbyshire research, but the first thing I did was map the locations where the Beightons were living in various census records.  I love using maps, and do the same thing with names when trying to identify a locality in Ireland.

There are multiple locations but the farthest apart are only 26 miles.  

    Since I only had 2 days to research, I did spend the rest of the day looking at additional parish registers.  The first group I looked at were Bishop’s Transcripts.  These are the copies made by the local parish and sent to the Bishop.  Some of the registers I looked at today were the original parish registers and I did find some minor copy errors.  I also worked back into some earlier parish records, 1693-1787…not so nice and clean to read as the later ones.  This was more helpful then just looking through the database as it allowed me to recreate families based on the time.  Since all the given names repeat, I could now see which Samuel was having children through a specific time period, find his baptism, marriage (hopefully) and his burial to connect back another generation.  Since I’m now working in the 1700s and the family were laborers and pot hawkers (traveling salesman) there aren’t many other records.  

   It’s been a good two days, and now on to FGS/RootsTech.  I have a lecture each day for the next four days, so if you’re around for the conference, please catch me and introduce yourself.

   Happy Hunting!




1 Milner, Paul and Linda Jonas, A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors, Betterway Books, Cincinnati, 2000, p 13.

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017