Guide to Tracing your Ancestry
Genealogy, or the tracing of ones ancestry is more popular today than it has ever been. The growth of interest in this activity over the past 30 years has been truly phenomenal. More and more people are seeking to trace their forebears, whatever their social background, and many are doing it themselves.
Chapter 1 - How to
How do we account for this growth in interest? Clearly one of the major factors has been the increased accessibility of public records and their availability on the Internet. But this is not the only reason, obviously more people are conscious of the fact that their ancestors contributed to the history of this country as opposed to just the nobility and gentry and they want to know more about them.
Where would the upper classes have been without the farm labourers who tilled their fields and gathered in their crops, the stout and robust young men who filled the regiments of foot soldiers who won glory and many laurels throughout the world in this country’s armies, and the seamen who performed a similar task. Clearly more and more people are waking up to the realization that their ancestors role in our history was equally as important as that of the upper classes who governed them.
However, the ability to trace your ancestry is entirely dependent on the survival of the necessary records. With luck it is possible to trace your forebears back to the early sixteenth century and for some even further. Records pertaining to the nobility and landed gentry are generally speaking more accessible and many of their lineages have been recorded in the printed volumes of
Burkes Peerage & Baronetage, first published in 1826, and Burkes Landed
Gentry, the world’s most prestigious publications for Britain’s upper classes. These volumes together with G E Cockayne’s "Complete
Peerage" and "The Scots Peerage" should always be consulted first if you believe that you are descended from a peer of the realm or a gentleman. Unfortunately there are no such volumes for ordinary folk.
Chapter 2 - Where to begin
Chapter 3 - Parish Registers
Chapter 4 - Apprenticeship Records
Chapter 5 - Removal and Settlement Material
Chapter 6 - Service Records
Chapter 7 - Useful Websites