English Genealogy Questions Answered: Live English Genealogy Q&A – Family Roots Conference
Amber: Another free “Legacy Tree Live” broadcast. My name is Amber Brown,
I’m the marketing director for Legacy Tree Genealogists, and I’m here with the brilliant Jacqueline Tritsch and she is answering the questions that you guys submitted on our website at legacytree.com/live all about English ancestry and tracing those British ancestors.
We’re at the Family Roots expo in Saint George Utah. We had a quick change of venue so if we’re sweaty that’s why,we had to quickly change where we were broadcasting from. So I’m glad we’re starting on time.
Before we get started with the questions, real quick make sure you share this video to your timeline so that you can access it again at a later date. And also be sure to like Legacy Tree Genealogists on Facebook so you get those notifications when we go Live next time. One last thing, if you have a friend that you want to tag in these comments, do that so that they can have access to this video as well. And I think that’s about enough from me,let’s get started with the good stuff.
Amber: So Jacqueline has all the answers, so again, we always get a ton of questions for these broadcasts and it’s hard to choose which ones we’re going to feature, but we’ll try and get to as many as we can in the next half hour. And if time permits we’ll also take some live questions so feel free to drop those comments and questions in the comment section below, and we’ll go ahead and get started.
Okay so this first question came from Samantha, and it’s interesting how in each broadcast we always seem to get, one of those questions, that “I just don’t know where to start.”
Amber: So this came from Samantha, and she did say, she says, “I’m interested in researching my English ancestry, but don’t know where to start, help.”
And so just before we get jumping into the answer, I just want to say thank you for reaching out. I mean, I know this can seem really overwhelming, but everyone has to start from somewhere and this is a great place and a great resource to get those answers, so I’m sure Jacqueline has all sorts of fun advice for you to get started on that British ancestry.
Jacqueline: Okay. Well, start where you are. That’s the first place to start is where you are. It’s important to gather as much information you can. If you’re, I’m assuming that you’re from the United States. And so that when you go and look at records in England, you’ll know as much about your family as possible, so you can recognize them in the records and tell them apart from other families that are similar. And you can know when records look like they might be for someone else, and you’ll be able to see anomalies.
It’s also good to become familiar with the types of records that are available. There’s three big sets of records that for beginners, they are the census records, the parish registers and civil registration.
And civil registration, it’s a little bit different term, it simply means the government recording of births, marriages and deaths.
Amber: Okay, great.
Jacqueline: A death certificate is what we would call it here in the United States. So, that’s where she should start is in those three record collections.
Amber: Great. Okay, real quick shout out, we’ve got Jackie Hough watching from Maryland, Melanie Anderson watching from Tampa, Florida, Kelly Keiser Davenport, she says “it took me over 10 years to research my dad’s family.” Way to not give up.
Jacqueline: Good job!
Amber: Yeah, thanks for joining us, you guys. Okay, let’s get into the next question. This question comes from Mark. He says
“My great grandfather, born in 1825 was illegitimate. His christening records didn’t list a father. Are there ways to find the name of the father?”
Jacqueline: There are ways. There’s two basic ways that is the best chance of finding the father. The first way is civil marriage records, because they list the name of the father. If the father is known, it’ll be listed there. Even if the father’s deceased.
The most important way other than that, because civil registration didn’t start until 1837, is parish chest registers. And what a parish chest register is the business records of the church. When an illegitimate child was christened, the father was usually nincluded in the record. But the church was very interested in who the father of the child was. It has to do with the laws for taking care of the poor.
Jacqueline: And up until 1834, individual parishes were responsible for taking care of the poor in their parish. It was a legal requirement of the parish. So, what would happen, or after 1834, then workhouses were introduced. But what would happen is the pregnant mother would be called before the overseer of the poor and examined–just asked questions. To ask who the father was. And sometimes, they’ll also list the parents of the pregnant mother, sometimes she would say, I’m not telling, but most of the time she did because there was a lot of pressure. And because the parish didn’t want to be responsible for the care of the child, so they would want the father to provide a bastardy bond and have more information about him. So, that’s the best source – Parish records.
Amber: Parish chest records.
Jacqueline: Parish chest records. The business records of the church.
Amber: Very good, and we actually wrote a blog article on parish chest records, so I’ll be sure to drop that link in the comments below, so you guys can check that out as well for some additional information.
Okay, we’ve got Sarah Parks watching from Proctorville, Ohio and she loves doing genealogy, so do we, so, you’re in the right place.
Awesome, okay, let’s jump into a next question. Okay, this comes from Micki. She says, or he says, I’m not sure. “I am having problems tracking BMD records for my family in Devonshire, that are non-conformists. Is there some place I can mine for other denominations?”
Jacqueline: There actually is. There’s several places where you can mine. There’s a pay site. Actually, it’s called bmdregisters.co.uk, and it’s especially dedicated to non-conformist records, including records for Devonshire.
Many non-conformist records are indexed on FamilySearch and are available to search by microfilm or digital image. And they’re also available in many pay sites, such as MyHeritage, FindMyPast, and Ancestry.
It’s important when you’re working with records, to consult a gazetteer or detailed maps to find out where, physically, the closest denomination, the chapel is located. Sometimes, your chapel would be quite a distance from your home, so it might be in another parish or even in another county if you lived near the county line. So, you need to become familiar with what church was where, and at what time.
Amber: Very good. Okay, Robert submitted this next question. He said “my grandfather died in 1875 in Rushock Parish, Worcestershire. How do I check for a will?”
Jacqueline: Hmm, a will. Well, there’s a big dividing line in wills. Because in, well, let’s see. Before 1858, probate was a function of the Anglican church. After 1858, which would be when your grandfather died, those records were taken care of as a government function. If your death occurred before 1858, you’ll need to look up what the probate court was for that parish, and an easy way to do that is a website that’s actually featured by FamilySearch and its maps.familysearch.org. And it’ll help you to convert to the different jurisdictions that you’re looking for.
After 1858, which is of course when your grandfather died, you said he died in 1875, they’re held by the principal probate registry. The easiest way to find it is to go ahead and Google principal probate registry. There’s an index. In the index, you’ll list the surname you’re looking for and the year. If you don’t find the will in that year, then go ahead and look in the year or two after in case there was a late probate case. And that website also provides links to where you can find probate records for Scotland and for Northern Ireland.
Amber: Perfect. And we’ll drop that website in the comments below. Okay, this next question comes from Elaine. Elaine, if you’re watching, give us a thumbs up or let us know you’re here. It says “I found my great-grandfather’s christening record on February second, 1875 in Beckbury Parish, Shropshire, but I can’t find his birth certificate in Beckbury, can you help me?”
Jacqueline: I have an idea.
Amber: I knew you would.
Jacqueline: Okay, so when we search for records, sometimes we need to make a jurisdictional conversion. In the United States, we think of cities and towns and states. So, since he was christened in February of 1875, that is during the time that the government was also recording birth certificates. But they were not recording them at the parish level.
So, when you refer to Beckbury Parish, the certificate is not going to be there. You need to convert to the civil registration district.
There’s lots of ways to convert to the civil registration district, but an easy way, again is to go to maps.familysearch.org and what you’ll do is you’ll write Beckbury in the search field and then it’ll show a map of all the places where it found Beckbury. It’s based on, I believe,the 1851 geography for England and Wales and then you can click on the pin on the map and it’ll show you the different jurisdictions.
Amber: Very cool.
Jacqueline: I actually got a little look at this question before we started and you’ll find that it’s important to realize when you’re searching for civil registration, that civil registration is recorded by quarter and it’s recorded when the birth was registered, not when the birth happened.
So, for example, you said your grandfather was born in February. That will be recorded in the March quarter,January February, March. But say maybe he was born the last part of March, then his record might be found in April, which would be the June quarter.
Amber: Got it. So they can look in the quarter that’s subsequent whenever the birth was.
Amber: Okay, perfect.
Jacqueline: Then, once you find that information, you can go to the general register’s office website, or the GRO and you can search the index for your grandfather.
Amber: Perfect. Well, good luck with your search, Elaine. And again, I will drop the links to the resources that Jacqueline mentioned in the comments below.
Okay, this next question comes from Joe. He says, “my great-great-grandfather was James Beatty Hartley, born January fifth, 1836 from, we believe, Liverpool, Lancaster, England, and he died November 1, 1916 in Nebraska. I would like to know more about James Beatty Hartley. Example, his actual birthplace in the United Kingdom, his parents, anything, any information.”
“My great-grandfather, Edwin Beatty Hartley, was a Methodist by religion.I don’t know what religion James Beatty Hartley practiced. Supposedly, he had been in the British military, somehow. He came to the United States to participate in the abolition of slavery.”
So, that’s the family story. So, what can we do to help him?
Jacqueline: I actually took a sneak peak at this one too.
Amber: You did, all right.
Jacqueline: So, the first task is to search the records where you are in the United States, to try to find as close to a specific birthdate as you can. So that when you get to records in England or Wales, then if you find a matching birthdate,then you’ll have the ticket.
So, when I looked at your James B. Hartley, I found that for example, that he has a find a grave entry. And the find a grave entry has a transcription of his obituary. The transcriptions means that someone just looked at the original and typed it out. And it says, specifically, he was born fifth of January, 1836, just like you wrote in your question. We need to be a little careful, because the obituary was not sourced. It’s probably fine, but you’ll need to be careful to watch for errors, so you’ll want to make sure that it really was a complete transcription and it wasn’t edited in any way. Sometimes, that can happen. It was probably really good information, because he died in 1916, and that was before the internet, and before microfilm. So, the record had to have or likely would’ve come from family records and not passed around the internet like a game of telephone, so that’s really good.
It would also be important to search for names of siblings who may have also immigrated to the United States, because family units are more easily recognizable. So, in general, for this situation, one possible method for work around is that you mentioned that James was born in 1836. Well, as I said earlier, civil registrations began in 1837, so an option would be to search for him in 1841 and 1851 census as a child. And then find the names of his siblings. So, that’s especially important if you can find any siblings that immigrated with him so you can recognize the family and then to get the birth certificates of the siblings. The 1841 census, regarding your birth, it’s basically a yes or no question, were you born in that county or were you not born in that county. But it gets better by 1851, because in 1851, it actually says a place of birth and it’s usually presented in the form of your parish of birth, but there are anomalies. So, but in your particular case, the obituary said he came to the United States when he was about 14 years old, or about 1850. So, he probably missed the 1851 census in England, just–
Amber: Just by a hair.
Jacqueline: Yeah, so he just missed the registration by a hair and then he probably missed the 1851 census by a hair.
So, I did notice that perhaps Beatty is not his middle name. Because when your middle name is usually a surname, it’s usually inherited, so your grandmother’s maiden name. And I noticed that James, his wife was a Mary E. Beatty. So, perhaps the B did not stand for Beatty. Unless she was some type of relation or he just happened to find another gal that was just–
Amber: Which happens.
Jacqueline: Which happens, we don’t know for right now. But we do know that James and Mary did marry in second of February, 1864 in Tazewell County, Illinois. So, what you’ll want to do too, is go ahead and get that marriage record for him and see if perhaps their marriage record has the names of his parents. That would be a good thing to do.
But, I have a little bit of a surprise.
Amber: I love surprises.
Jacqueline: Yeah. I love happy endings. So, during the time of the 1836 birth, Liverpool was included in Lancashire. Lancashire was the county. It’s important to know the geography of the time frame of the documents that you’re looking for, because geography can change. But the baptismal or christening records there are highly indexed for Liverpool, such as for example, MyHeritage has a collection. It’s called England Births and Christenings.
So, James Hartley, not a B, just James Hartley, was listed as having been born there in a parish register on the fifth of January, 1836, which is an exact match to the date we’re looking for and what’s exciting is that he was baptized the 10th of January, 1836, so five days later, and he was baptized in Saint Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church— It’s a match. In Liverpool, it’s a match, and he had a twin.
Amber: Did you know that?
Jacqueline: His twin was named Joseph Hartley and they were both born and baptized on the same day as the other.
Amber: That is so cool. Great work, Jacqueline.
Jacqueline: Thank you.
Amber: So, I will actually email that record out to you following the broadcast, so that you will have that for your, for your family history. Awesome, that’s exciting!
Jacqueline: It was exciting.
Amber: Now, I want to know if you knew that he had a twin. Drop it in the comments, let me know if you know he had a twin. That’s a cool discovery. Okay, so this next question comes from Sharon. She says “I’m trying to identify the unknown parents of one of my ancestors. What records show parental information?”
Jacqueline: That’s a very good question, because you know records can be expensive. So, you want to be sure that the records you buy have a chance of telling you the answers you seek.
Christening records in general, they included the name of the father and the given name of the mother, not the surname, not the maiden name of the mother.
Civil marriage registrations, again, they didn’t start until 1837, they did include the name of the father,
So, the civil marriage registrations included the name of the father, even if the father was deceased. It did not include the name of the mother.
And then the church marriage records, they did not normally contain parental information at all. Burial records, burial records are a church record, and deaths are a civil record, so they’re a little bit different, but burial records sometimes will list the name of the father if it was a baby or a child. Or sometimes, it’ll list the name of the husband if the wife died first.
Amber: Sometimes. Got it, so there’s no hard set rule on that, so it just depends, okay.
Jacqueline: And then, civil death records, the government death records, they do not include parental information at all. Sometimes, if the person that went to register the deaths sometimes if they’re a relative, it’ll say registered by the wife, or registered by the son, if we’re lucky, but usually it’ll just say a name of the person who was the register. Non-conformist records can contain more sometimes.
You know, Amber, I don’t think we explained what the word non-conformist meant.
Amber: You should do that.
Jacqueline: So, non-conformist is a big catchall for meaning not the church of England. So any religion, Methodist, Catholic, Jews, Quakers, you know.
Amber: So, anything outside of that Church of England.
Jacqueline: Anything outside the Church of England was considered a non-conformist.
Amber: There you go.
Jacqueline: Because the Church of England is the established church of England, it’s, back in times when there wasn’t a real difference between church and state. So, you’re not conforming to the church, so you’re a non-conformist.
Amber: I got it. Makes sense. All right, anything else to add to that question? You good?
Jacqueline: I think I’m good.
Amber: Okay, great answer. Love it. Okay, so this next one comes from Connie. I’m gonna apologize in advance, it’s a bit of a doozy. So bear with me. There’s a lot of details here, but they’re all kind of important to the question that she asks. So, she says “I have connections to the Trecothick,” and I hope I’m saying that right, “Trecothick Family in England, but I’m having trouble connecting them all together.”
“My 4th great-grandfather is James Trecothick Ivers, who lived from 1790 to 1840,” and then she provides the FamilySearch reference number, “and he lived in Kentucky, in the United States. But I don’t know where he was born, nor do we have any clue as to how to locate his parents or siblings or anything else about him. We do know he lived in St. Louis, Missouri and also had land holdings in Illinois where he died in 1840, but we can’t find anything else about him.”
“Then there is a James Ivers who married in 1753 in Boston, Massachusetts.”
“There is also Barlow Trecothic who was the Lord Mayor of London and quite wealthy. He had no heirs so he had his nephew, James Ivers Trecothick, come back to England and be his heir and take on the name of Trecothic and bring up heirs to his name.”
“There is no one else in any of my Ivers connections with that Trecothic name. Help!”
So, there’s a lot of details there and a lot of Trecothicks, so let’s piece that together. How do we figure that out for him?
Jacqueline: Well, actually I’d like to back up just a little bit.
Amber: Yeah, let’s do.
Jacqueline: Because in her question, Connie specifically lists it was Family Search reference number.
Amber: She did.
Jacqueline: So, when I took a sneak peek at this question, I’m looking only at that specific record number. So, it looks like perhaps there’s some errors in the tree. Or perhaps, two people or more than two people have been thought to be the same person and maybe they’re not.
But sometimes when there is just too much anomaly, then the best thing to do is just start fresh yourself.
Amber: Yeah, that’s tricky.
Jacqueline: So, and let me give you some examples of why, if I looked at this family, I would probably just start fresh myself. So, and keeping in mind, I’m looking only at this one record number.
Jessica: Okay, I’m not looking at any other trees. So, the tree says that he married Margaret Walter in Kentucky in 1807, okay. And the first child, Elvira, was born 1808 in Louisville, in Kentucky. Followed by Thomas. Thomas, keep in mind, it’s just this tree. Was born two years later, in Missouri. So, we’re going from Louisville, Kentucky to Missouri in two years, okay. And then Margaret born five years later is born all the way back east in New York.
Amber: And that wasn’t super common back then to travel around that much, right?
Jacqueline: You know, they could travel, but they should be traveling West, not East. And then, two years later, okay, so it’s this one particular tree is saying Margaret was born in 1815 in New York, and then two years later from that, they’ve got a child born in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Amber: Man, they’re all over the place.
Jacqueline: So, I would think that what’s happening here with this particular PID number is that more than one person has been confused. For example, his wife, it says, the tree says she died in 19, I’m sorry, 1847, but then it also says he married another woman 17 years before his wife’s death. Of course, there could’ve been a divorce, but divorce was not likely. It did happen, but it’s not likely. And also, this tree lists two different sets of parents.
So, I would suggest some steps. Oh, and for example, that tree said he died in Jersey County, Illinois and then was buried 1,200 miles away in Boston. So, that would’ve, in October. So, what would happen is basically this is saying okay, we’re going to put him in a wagon and we’re going to travel for a full month in late fall weather, just to get to Boston, and then travel a full month back in early winter weather. It’s unlikely that, of course, anything could happen. But the timeline and the geography makes me think, “oh, let’s start afresh.”
Amber: And it kind of helps when you put it in the perspective of your ancestors and what they would actually have to do to make that happen. Sometimes, we just quickly look at dates and places and don’t really think about it. But that’s a good tip.
Jacqueline: Well, we have to compare dates and places to other dates and places for them to be relevant. So, I actually have a few tips of what I would do, if this was my ancestor.
The first thing I would do is completely ignore whatever the internet says.
Amber: You heard it here.
Jacqueline: Because you want to know exactly, perfectly, the truth and not be biased, right? And so if you’re reading what someone else says, but it’s not sourced, that’s biased.
In genealogy, we have a phrase that if a fact is not sourced, it’s called make-believe.
Amber: I like it.
Jacqueline: Yeah, so the first thing to do would be to ignore the internet completely. I don’t mean to ignore the internet, meaning that you can’t find original records on the internet, but ignore any hearsay that’s floating around the internet. Because even if it’s on the internet 1,000 times, it might be the same misdirection, just copied 1,000 times. Right?
Amber: And we’ve seen that, too, huh?
Jacqueline: We see that all the time. So, and then, so first what you would do is find the records to confirm the ancestry between you and James. Just get you to James without hearsay. With the original records. And then after you’re sure which James is yours, then what you would do is you would gather all the original records you can about his wife and his children too, because when you find a record, you want to know, okay, does that sound like my family? Or no, that’s the wrong flavor.
So, you want to know so you can recognize anomalies. You want to see the whole family as a picture. And then, arrange that information into a timeline.
Amber: Timelines are very important.
Jacqueline: I hardly ever do research without making a timeline so I can analyze, just like you said, the dates and the places, and make sure that they make sense.
Another option would be to look at DNA. And this, usually, when we’re working with DNA, we’re trying to find close matches, but James is a little bit far away and his DNA match would be washed out quite a bit. But still, it might be possible to find connections to Ivers families that are in England that did not come to the United States. Because if you can find two families in two different continents with shared DNA, then you can be pretty confident that you found the right family.
Amber: Got it. So, that’s some great advice, to maybe reevaluate, possibly look at starting over, and making sure you’re getting that accurate information.
Jacqueline: And, you know, we have a cracker jack DNA team.
Amber: Yeah, we do. So if you do need a hand, just reach out to us, let us know. You can fill out a form on legacytree.com and we’ll get in touch with you if you want a quote for that. So, great advice, Jacqueline.
Okay, so this next question comes from Jeff. He says “now that I’m retired, I’ve been dabbling in family history research online, and while I’m finding a great deal of information, I’m having a hard time narrowing down which ancestors are actually mine.” Which is kind of, we talked a little bit about that. So, what’s your advice for Jeff?
Jacqueline: Well, actually, there’s so much information on the internet, that if you just put in a general search, you’re going to get so many results. And that’s what you’re seeing is you’re just having a hard time narrowing down which ones are yours.
So, there’s a language and it’s new to the world, called Boolean, and it’s how to search on the internet. It’s the search language. And you can go ahead and Google that and learn about it, but the most important part for genealogists is the sterisk, or the wild card. Because it will allow you to search based on the variable that you want to define.
For example, if your family name is White, right? W-H-I-T-E, well you might miss records if it was, someone spelled it W-H-Y-T-E.
Jacqueline: So, what you’ll want to do is you’ll want to take out the vowels and you’ll replace those with wild cards, or the asterisk.
Another thing you can do is you know, in the old writing, lots of times, there was a little swoop, like a little pretty at the end of a name, and lots of times that’ll be transcribed as an e.
Jacqueline: But, it’s not an e, it’s just a pretty little swoop.
Amber: Oh, neat, I did not know that.
Jacqueline: So, when you’re searching, you’ll always want to put an asterisk or a wild card at the end, just in case.
Amber: Just in case.
Jacqueline: Just in case it was picked up as an e instead of a swoop.
Amber: That’s great advice, I love it. Okay, so this next question comes from Cedric. He says “Hinman Edmund Johnston was born in 1825 in Swaby, Lincolnshire, England. His father William Johnston, was born in 1796 somewhere in Europe. I would like to find out where he was born and how many Williams were before him.”
Jacqueline: Okay, this is an interesting one, because Hinman is an unusual name, it’s usually a surname. So, he probably inherited that name. So, that would be a good idea if we could see some Johnstons that were in the same basic area as the Hinman families, that would be a clue.
One idea would be to check okay, so you said he was born in 1825, so in 1841, which is the first census that lists all the household members, he would’ve been only about 16 years old, so chances are he was still at home, possibly. He could be out working. One thing that’s really important to know about this census is the philosophy is different. Because the census is based on where a person slept on a specific night, right?
Amber: Oh, wow.
Jacqueline: So, for example, if the husband was out working, or some of the children were out working, they won’t be there, because they slept somewhere else on that night, or if a wife is listed as married, but there’s no husband in the household, she probably is married and he’s probably slept somewhere else. Or maybe one of the children slept at grandma’s house. It’s where they slept on a specific night.
So, let me get back to this. So, the 1841 census, as I said earlier, would only ask did you, were you born in this parish, sorry, in this county or were you not? Well, if he was living with his parents, then his parents would’ve said yes or no. And then if you can find out his parents, then you can trace them if they survive to the 1851 census where it’ll list their place of birth. Or, if perhaps they were alive in 1841 and deceased in 1851, then you’ll know the range that you need to search.
Amber: You have a window there. All right. Okay, so this next question comes from Laurie. She says “I have several ancestors that served in World War I, and I would like to find out more about their military service. Where can I look for additional information?”
Jacqueline: Okay, well, there’s lots of places that you can learn information about the World War I soldiers. The archive that is the owner of the records is the National Archives in England, and they have microfilmed records. One thing that’s, there’s a website. It’s called Great War,just G-R-E-A-T-W-A-R, dot C-O, dot U-K. And it describes the various types of military records that are available. It’s a helpful website and it provides links to indexes and where different records are held.
Jacqueline: And copies of the different records that are held.
Amber: Perfect, well, I will drop that link in the comments below, so watch for that and check out that resource.
Okay, this next question comes from Homer. And he says “my ancestor Richard Willis arrived in Middlesex County, Virginia in 1699. He was brought over by an older Richard Willis and at that time had no children to leave his estate to. We feel the younger Richard Willis was a blood family member from England. The older Richard Willis died six months later in February 1700, leaving no will. His estate valued at 10,000 pound sterling went to his sister because the younger Richard Willis could not file for a claim on the estate because no will was found. He had to serve out his contract. We know the ship that he arrived on.”
And Homer just messaged me and he said that it was the Thoroughgood in 1699. “What I would like find out is there a way to track back to sailing records to see if there is any records in England on him and the place he lived or his family that he was part of. If he was on a contract for work, would there be a record of this in England also. There had to be papers filed before he left England, I would think.”
Jacqueline: Yes, and no.
Amber: Oh, boy.
Jacqueline: So, this was also kind of a complicated question. It’s unlikely to find the sailing record at that time. There are fragments that survived. But you’d have a hard time and the reason why you’d have a hard time is you wouldn’t know if the Richard Ellis, I’m sorry, Willis, on the record was your Richard Willis. There’s no, it’s just names. It doesn’t list places of birth. And if the whole family came over, mostly, it would just list the head of the household on the ship’s list. And they do exist, but only fragments. But there are still things you can think about doing.
Jacqueline: So. One thing to think about in this early colonial time is Virginia was not United States, right? So, Middlesex in Virginia, was actually a part of England. There was no difference. So, it can be, and I wasn’t able to actually do specific research on this question. I wish I could’ve done that. But it could be that record survived in England, that have not survived in the United States. And those records would be held at the National Archives in England, and you can search their catalog. They have an online catalog. That’s nationalarchives.gov.uk. And perhaps you could find something. For example, that estate, valued at 10,000 pounds, that’s a substantial estate.
Jacqueline: So, he may have had assets in England that needed to be probated in England. Which would talk about his heirs. Also, with a substantial estate like that, it’s likely, unlikely that Richard came to Virginia alone. You could look for other Willis families around Middlesex and see if you can find out where they came from and if they were related. It’s arduous work. It will be, but it’s possible to find more records in this situation. Usually, records regarding contracts, those are part of the Chancery Court records, and I looked a little bit for Middlesex, the loose papers, which would be the details, the papers that contain the signatures, those do not survive. But, there are the log books that survive. The bound volumes of deeds and orders and wills. So, you might be able to find something in there. And so what I wanted to tell you is that wiki on FamilySearch, that’s a good source, to just learn information about what’s available, what survived, what hasn’t survived, and where records might be found that might help you. There’s a FamilySearch wiki, titled Middlesex County, Virginia Genealogy, that’s a good one, and another one for you to look at to see what’s available is FamilySearch wiki Virginia Emigration and Immigration.
So, Emigration with an ‘e’, means you’re leaving, and immigration with an ‘i’, means you’re coming.
Amber: That is a great way to remember that. I always get them interchanged. They’re not interchangeable, but I always try and make ’em interchangeable.
Jacqueline: So, the ancestor emigrated, with an e from England, and immigrated, with an I to Virginia.
Amber: Got it. Well, Homer, there’s some advice to maybe follow to try and take that search a little bit further. I hope that that was useful for you.
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For more information on English genealogy check out our Beginner’s Guide to Tracing British Ancestry.